Dear fellow Christian brothers and sisters,
I didn’t want to open this Pandora’s box because I know how sensitive Christians can get. But it’s time.
I know because I am used to be one of those “sensitive Christians.” So before you get all huffy and puffy, hear me out. YOU are the reason I do not attend church anymore, choose to have mostly “nonbelieving” friends and will probably not step foot in a church regularly ever again.
(A little disclaimer: This is not toward ALL Christians. I don’t make broad generalizations like that because it’s untrue and is not beneficial. There are probably less than ten people in this world that I know and call themselves Christ followers that the following rant doesn’t apply to. The rest of you, this rant is for you).
A Little Background
I grew up in a home where my parents respected what I chose to believe in. My Dad is a Buddhist, and my mom dabbles in the stuff you’d deem, “New Age.” Buddhists support all religions that make people a better person, so when a pastor of a Southern Baptist church and his wife invited me to go to church, my parents allowed it. I became a Christian at eight years old, scared into it by the pictures of burning fire and threats of eternal torment in the depths of hell. And became increasingly involved in church for the next twenty years. I was involved in youth groups – both as an attendee and a leader. I sang in choirs, on the worship team, I majored in religious studies and I went to, led and started Bible studies.
In all that time, I was preached at to love people around us, yet I watched and lived the examples of judgment Monday through Saturday. I had a Christian friend that told me that he didn’t have Christian friends because, with non-Christian friends, you expect the knife in the back. At the time, I pitied him for having such a jaded view, and it saddened me. After years of pulling knives out of my back by so called “Christian” friends, I have the same belief and thus, few of my close friends are Christians these days.
Betrayed By Christians
I know it’s not fair to say the whole bunch is rotten for one bad apple, but what happens when it’s a few good apples in a barrel of rotten ones? Over and over and over again, I’ve been brutally betrayed by people I trusted, those closest to me. I’ve been judged mercilessly by those that were supposed to be my support, those that I shared my deepest fears and hurt with. Instead of love, I saw judgment. Instead of peace, I get gossip and back biting.
Three other people had their hand in breaking up my marriage – not including my ex and myself. All of us church-going Christians – involved in Bible study, shared meals over and sat next to at church on Sunday. These people still go to church. I want no part in that or of them. And no, I don’t need to hear Bible verses on forgiveness – I know them all by heart.
Just the other evening, I chatted with a former Christian, who said she was basically ostracized by her family because she started questioning the beliefs she was raised upon. They think she’s “crazy” and won’t talk to her. But hey, they pray for her. And that’s just sad.
Countless times, and I was first in the guilty line, stood with my fingers pointing, whispering behind my hands about someone because of this or that. I judged them by the way they raised their children, by the things they did, by the fact that they drank wine, or things they said, or any other thing that I may not have agreed with. I was a b*tch, simply because I thought I was better than them. In reality, I was just a narrow-minded person, spreading hate, not the love that is supposed to be the cornerstone of my faith.
I’ve laughingly been “chastised in love” when basically what was happening was someone judged me for something I did and veiled it under the umbrella of “I really care about you, so I wanted you to know what you’re doing…” This person spoke to me maybe twice a year. Lots of care going on there.
“I’m So Offended”
If you know me at all, you’ll know that I am not easily offended. Question my integrity or disparage my family, and my feathers will get ruffled, but mock my faith, not really. You see, I am not shaken in my faith. I know what I believe. I know why I believe it, and if you don’t believe the same thing I do, I’m not going to argue you to my side. I respect your beliefs, I will never tell you that you are wrong. Yet, why do many feel like they need to argue someone into heaven?
The whole recent Creation/Evolution debate – the Bill Nye one. Yeah, I didn’t watch it. I didn’t care. And I still don’t. It turns out like they all do, much mocking and “bad” publicity toward Christians. We’ve become the LAUGHINGSTOCK of religion for our sensitivity and judgment. Wake up already!
You don’t think it’s offensive to everyone else when we tell everyone that they are wrong and stupid because their beliefs don’t match ours? You don’t think it’s offensive for us to say that people who love each other are sinful and should be shunned because they are the same sex. Regardless of what you believe about what people should and shouldn’t be doing, you telling them they are wrong does nothing but breed hostility and hatred. Not even close to the love we are to be showing EVERYONE.
I once edited an article that didn’t mock Christianity outright, but it was clear that the author wasn’t a believer. And the comments from “Christians” that followed, did nothing but solidify his already low view of Christians.
Many atheists are surprised when I tell them I am a Christian. They tell me that I am not like “any other Christian they’ve met.” I take that as a huge compliment because they basically are telling me that I am more open-minded and loving than other believers they’ve come in contact with…and you know what, somehow, they trust and respect me enough to start asking questions about God.
I Know What You’re Thinking
“Poor Hanssie. She’s backslidden, and we’d better pray for her.” I know exactly what you’re thinking. And if that’s the case, please save your prayers. I still believe. I even have a tattoo with that statement. Your prayers aren’t going to get me to go back to willingly surround myself with people that preach love to my face and judge me behind my back. Sorry, I’m not interested.
At 29 years old, my world was turned upside down, every belief I had been taught since I was 8 years old tested to the core. I got a loud and painful wake-up call and a good hard look at the hypocrisy that was my life and that I had surrounded myself with. Then again a few years later.
For those of you who are freaking out at me…I believe in the Bible and its teachings. I believe in God. I believe in total depravity, limited atonement, irresistible grace and the like…I don’t believe in the organization of the church, at least, not the way that it is today.
Bottom line is that God is way bigger than the box we’re trying to put him in. He calls us to love Him and love others. Stop wasting your time in judgment, stop wasting your time preaching how wrong I am or how sinful I am being, stop whispering behind your hands about who’s doing what and for crying out loud, stop getting offended if someone breathes wrong (or rather differently than you).
The Christians of the world that are making an impact are the ones that are doing. And in doing, they are loving on people. It’s simple, love God, love others. And get over yourself.
Still a Christian
P.S. Feel free to leave your comments. But anyone looking to start a religious debate, I’m not interested.