Friday, March 28, 2014

Saying good-bye to a Christian culture

Gay marriage and charity.

Divorce and the church.

Tragedy and easy answers.

These things specifically have been on my brain the last few days quite a bit.

What is it that ties these seemingly unrelated things together? Is it God? The Bible?

Or is it something much less definitive, much more septic?

Could it be Christian culture?

I suppose it's unavoidable, really. You put a whole bunch of people together, and you'll get culture.

At times, we Christians really get it right. (At least, right according to the Bible.) We become the hands and feet of Jesus, ministering, caring, loving, blessing and, at times, challenging. We spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

But then there are times when the culture we attribute ourselves to gets it horribly, horribly wrong.

Women who should be embraced and protected by the church are instead forced to wear a Scarlett D, have members of the clergy completely in their business, and are scorned for leaving an abusive and soul-sucking marriage.

Kids who need sponsors to feed them get completely gyped because this culture decided that homosexuality is THE sin of the day (more so than any other), and they are more concerned about being politically correct in the Christian sense -- then in continuing to feed needy children.

Families who are desperate for love, a meal brought over, a friend to cry with are hung out to dry when tragedy strikes. Instead of a casserole, they receive plattitudes and easy answers. Not always, but enough. Too much.

Which spurs the question in me . . . is anything really supposed to be Christian?

Sure, people are. If Christian means "little Christ" . . . if Christian means having a personal, soul-saving relationship with Jesus . . . then by all means, let's all be Christians.

But things -- objects -- devoid of souls? Should those be called Christian?

Can a charity comprised of thousands of people really claim to be Christian? Can they ensure (or should they ensure) that each and every member of their organization not only has a relationship with Christ, but follows every single law in the Bible?

I used to work for a "Christian" company. I use that term loosely.

While I met some amazing Christian friends there, I also met some not-so-Christian ones. And then I met Christians who acted like they weren't Christians. There were divorces, affairs, greed, anger, cussing. There was also corporate prayer, causes that were meant to spread the word of Christ, and some pretty amazing fellowship. (Not too mention a lot of unhealthy food -- and that, my friends, is fuel for another post.)

On days like this, I just want to love Jesus, love people (all people by the way -- even the gay ones), and trash the culture.

Don't get me wrong. I know we are called a Body of Christ. I know we are to stick together. I know the church is God's bride.

Since I'm so open about loss, depression, grief and just generally some hard things -- I've had many people open up to me about going through difficulty in the church. And over, and over, and over again, I hear it. (I've even lived it.)

The church is one of the hardest places to be when life gets hard.

So maybe could we all just hang our judgmental hats up for a while? Could we look around with eyes open, and meet the needs of those around us? Can we stop pretending that just because we have the Bible we know all the answers? Can we stop putting specific sins as pedestals in God's eyes? Can we worry less about politics, organizations, and church budgets and just worry more about making sure the world knows the Christ came to love them and offer them a life-long, eternity-long relationship with Him?

I expect to get some flak for this. And maybe rightly so.

But for today, I'm calling the Christians out. I'm calling me out.

I'm saying no the Christian culture.

And an absolute, resounding YES to my God and Savior, Jesus Christ.


  1. I was just having a conversation with someone very close to me yesterday that was referring to the Queen of England as Queen Queer based off an article that was recently published saying she was in favor of gay marriage. The person that made this statement is a strong Christian and was repeating something that a minister she follows had said. It struck me as harsh, critical, judgmental and wrong. So many times I find "good" Christians being this way and it makes me sad. It's not our job to judge. We can disagree with behaviors without judging the person, lifestyle, etc.

  2. No flak from here, Rachel. I used to drive around with a fish on my car, speaking fluent Christianese, and uneasily feeling like I had to shun certain "types" of people. I've gotten over it. I would rather call myself a Christ-follower than a Christian, because Christians have gotten such a bad name -- sometimes unfairly, but too often, well deserved. I am not ashamed of Christ or of the Gospel, but I sometimes feel ashamed to acknowledge that I'm a Christian. The culture you speak of has become very distasteful to me, and I don't always like being associated with it. I inwardly cringe when I hear the "lingo" from fellow Christians, and I consciously avoid speaking it. Like you, I've had both wonderful and ugly experiences in the church. I've had to really evaluate what it is that I want to stand for. My conclusion is that I want to stand for love, and NOT judgment. Judgment is simply not my job. Prioritizing sin is not my job. Love -- that's my job. In whatever circumstances I find myself, with whichever people land in my life. Period.

    Thanks for sharing your perspective, Rachel. I'm with you in saying NO to the Christian culture in its current form. It's pretty screwed up.

  3. I was really proud of World Vision, then incredibly disappointed in them and in the evangelical culture I feel I am a part of. Today, I'm wondering where I fit.