Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Problems with Christians

I began to have real problems with Christians. "Christians", the people who go to church and tell you they believe in God but just dont make you feel it, just didn't sit well with me. I found some such people who were eager to tell me that they were Christians. They loved to tell me about how great Christianity was. This, of course, is good. What isn't good is loving CHRISTIANITY. Christianity is a religion, not anything more or less than that. Devotion to a religion rather than God breeds elitism, judement, and fanaticism. This sounds extreme and perhaps it is. My experience with "Christians" was usually taited with judgement of worldly things. People were quick to tell me that my music was unholy, that my beliefs were not in line with God or that x, y or z in the world was soooo wrong. What made this so unsettling for me was the attitude that they were somehow so much rightious than others. Their faith was a source of pride. They could boast about how strong their faith was. Surely they are rightious because they don't smoke or listen to Korn. They're not like those other people who have abortions or do "unchristian" things. I found that they more that these people felt the need to tell me how "Christian" they are, the less Christian they seemed.
I found that the people who truly seemed to express they love of God in this world were the people who didn't advertise it with shirts and bumper stickers. They lived a life of loving other people. They didn't have to tell you how Christian they were because if you were one, you knew. If you weren't, you asked. Christians who know the Lord live a changed life. We are truly changed people. People who love the church may change skins, but their hearts remain untouched.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Leaving the church to find Jesus

I was raised Christian. I was taken to church on a somewhat regular basis. I was involved in youth groups. Much of this was very much against my will. I found very little of God in any church I attended. I was lost in a crowd at Grace church and God felt vague and distant. I felt that God loved me as a christian and a person, but not as ME. At Catholic mass, faith felt mechanical. Being a Christian felt like a job, doing as you're told to somehow earn salvation. At Living Faith Church, I finally saw people who seemed to embody this supposed love of God, but the church itself was a business and God was a marketing tool. I did some denomination hopping and found some fatal flaw every time. Some churches were interested in attendance, others in tithes, others only spouted basic truths of the salvation of Jesus but failed to encourage us to grow beyond that first step. Furthermore, I watched Christians publicly preaching hate for doctors who perform abortions, homosexuals and other "unchristian" people. I couldn't see God in Christianity. Discouraged, I left Christianity behind.
It would be more accurate to say I left the Christian church behind. In my heart, I felt that God couldn't possibly desire this of his people. Longing to find what I was missing, I did what any sensible Christian would do. I opened my Bible. Naturally, I had no idea where to begin. I simply began turning pages. I stumbled upon Micha. In this book, a prophet tells God's people what God wills of his people in no uncertian terms. Micha 6:8 says "He has told you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God." In one verse, I found God. I moved hastily into the teachings of Jesus and found a message I had not had the luxury of hearing before. The life of a Christian, a person who lives with a great love of the lord, is a life of love overflowing. We do not sit in judgement. We do not condemn the sinful. These things are for God alone. We also must not isolate ourselves from the world. Jesus did not preach from high upon a stage or behind the safety of a fence. He walked among the crowd. He embraced the sinful. He befriended the wicked. In this way he changed the world.
I did not see these people in the church. The people I saw were quick to judgement and quicker still to anger. They only kept "good Christian" company and boasted of their faith and good works. I found God in a church parking lot. Outside of the constructed religions of men, but not far from His sight.