I’m glad this was the year that I got back into blogging. It has allowed me to look back on they year and borrow my perspective from that point and time and add the perspective of hindsight to it. This last year was marked by a major spiritual conflict that involved the loss of one church and the search for another, it affected the tone and subject of most of my posts, including this one. It helped me to realize that I have a major problem with church – the church, all churches, and most likely church in general. The church is supposed to be holy and sacred and wonderful and I’m expected to pretend that I believe that it is all that and more, but I’m not supposed to pay any attention to the droves of wounded people fleeing the church. I’m supposed to somehow discredit the ones with stories worse than my own. To me, it feels like Christianity is out of alignment with the ideals it was founded upon and so am I.
Which Christianity is the problem? The traditionally conservative we’re not nearly strict enough sect? The progressively liberal we’re not nearly free enough sect? The ones that convey with utter vitriol their disdain for any viewpoint that is not a carbon copy of their own? The ones that are literal? the ones that are figurative? The movements each with their own pet verse that must be their central teaching? Perhaps the problem is in the interpretation? It’s application? The interpreters? Christianity – you’re letting me down by making yourself about anything and everything that isn’t Jesus. Christianity, you’re letting others down by putting a giant block in their path and telling them that unless they change, God won’t accept them. Christianity, you’re letting yourself down when you continue to perpetuate a system that harms believers instead of helps them.
Jesus was constantly called out for hanging out with tax collectors and prostitutes. In his society, these two were so low, they didn’t even rate the bottom rung of the ladder. He would also heal lepers, but I’m not sure if they were held in higher esteem or were on the same level, but post-healing they would likely be considered to be better than tax collectors and prostitutes. Today, you don’t really see Christians doing a very good job ministering to the people in society that don’t rate the bottom rung of the ladder. Some do – they are their allies that make me proud to still be a Christian somehow. But the others, the ones that oppress and hate in Jesus’ name, they are the ones that make me want to walk away – I don’t even want to be associated with that sort of thing! Jesus never stopped calling himself a Jew no matter how terribly judgmental the Pharisees became.
But how do you inspire change when you know that your voice just isn’t heard? How does change happen if you have no power to get it going? It feels like I’m yelling at the whirlwind to stop, but it’s own noise drowns me out. There are dozens of famous Christian thinkers who all year have done nothing but maintain the status quo – they have the power, the pull, the following, the wealth, and the will to see to it that nothing changes. But that means that people still get hurt by the church every day, right? What’s Christian about that?
What a way to end a year – let’s hope that something good happens to church, at church, with church, and in church in the next three hundred and sixty-five days. Let’s do something better than hope, church, you don’t have to hit rock bottom. There’s only one way to go and that’s up. I challenge you to be better. I challenge you to be like Jesus.