Cinahilger's Blog



Why?

Tonight I am pondering why I am a Christian.

I don’t want to quit, you see, I was just thinking..if someone asked me why I chose this, what would I say?

Because, the truth is, I have a lot of anger towards Christians. I don’t even like using the term “Christian” in reference to myself.

I was exposed at an early age to the idea that just because you are the face of a religious organization does not mean you’re perfect, or even very nice. I’ve always harbored a distrust for church people on first meeting, always considering them to secretly be despicable, guilty until proven innocent.*

Several times a semester as I walk to the student union, I’m forced to walk around a giant ring of undergrad onlookers surrounding a self-righteous preacher who tells us that gay people are going to hell, that women have no place getting a degree, that science classes are corrupting our generation.

Wherever I turn, it seems the community of people who call themselves Jesus-lovers are broadcasting a message of intolerance, ignorance, and self-righteous anger. Honestly, it makes me sick. It makes me sick because I know that every time I call myself a Christian, the imagery brought to most folks’ minds is one of judgementalism and ignorance.

And honestly, sometimes I do think that it would be very easy to see that, to see what Christianity has become, and to walk away. But I’m not in it because I want to “fit in” with this group of people. I’m not in it because I love being associated with bigots like Jimmy Swaggart, Robert Tilton, abusive pastors and others whose portraits hang beneath the big pink neon sign of Christianity.

Because there’s something more. There’s this other person who sometimes I wish I could dismiss, because being associated with him is even harder. His life makes it obvious that I am, truly, just like these people I dismiss. You’ve probably heard of him, his name’s Jesus.

Jesus is starkly different from all these people listed above. He’s starkly different from me, with my own selfishness, childishness, ignorance and hypocracy. He’s beautiful. He is loving..he is Love. He is tolerant of imperfection, and intolerant of those who pretend to be perfect. He gives me hope because the only people he angrily rebukes in the Bible are those who are self-righteous, ignorant, and judgemental. He is sickened by the biblical-era Jimmy Swaggarts.

Sometimes it’s still hard, though, and applying the term “Christian” still comes hesitantly to me, because I know what people are thinking when they hear it. I have a hard time looking past the plastic, hypocritical mask we’ve tried to put on God.

But Christian is a term that means “follower of Christ”, and that is what I want to be in the true sense of the word. Follower of Christ, not of other Christians, not of Fox News, or CNN, or of this author or that one. Maybe if I can be like Jesus, and still call myself a Christian, I can change a few people’s association with that label that has such a bitter aftertaste. And I know I’m not the only one who is following Jesus like this. There are lots of us. We’re not perfect, and God help us if we ever pretend to be. Let humility be our mantra, love be our modus operandi, and Christ be our one and only guide.

And with that out of my mind and onto this page, maybe I can finally find some sleep.

(*Note: It should be mentioned that I have also met many wonderful, caring, selfless pastors who have proved me wrong handily on my suspicions. In the end, pastors are just people. To hold them up as signposts for the Christian faith is wrong, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen every day.)

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