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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Deep Thought Thursday ~ Don't Be So Pushy!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Deep Thought Thursday ~ Don't Be So Pushy!

I've always enjoyed "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey" on the sketch comedy show Saturday Night Live. One of my favorite Jack Handey thoughts was "If you ever drop your keys into a river of molten lava, let'em go, because, man, they're gone." So I've decided to title Thursdays "Deep Thought Thursdays". Today's subject can sometimes be a little touchy, or rather pushy.

"Don't push your religion on me!" Chances are you've said this phrase to someone, had it said to you, or you've heard someone say to someone else. It doesn't matter who you are, we all have our beliefs. I don't consider myself to be a religious person. I believe in God and I try to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.

I guess you could call me a Christian but I try not to use that term. Too many people who refer to themselves as such do not reflect Christ in any way. Mohandas Gandhi once said "I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Another great thinker and teacher, Rob Bell, once said "Christian is a great noun, but a horrible adjective." I find this to be so true. The word Christian is slapped on so many things like music, books, and even breath mints. I've even heard there is a Christian office supply store somewhere here in the US. It boggles the mind! I'm not trying to tell people not to call themselves Christians though, I have no problem with that.

I have two reasons why I don't call myself a Christian. One, that term is too vague. When I tell someone I'm a Christian I feel like I have to explain what kind I am. Two, I don't deserve to be called one because I am not always like Christ. I'd rather refer to myself as a follower of Christ. Like I said earlier, I "try" to follow the teachings of Jesus. I don't always suceed and I sometimes fail at trying to be Christ-like. I guess what it boils down to is that I believe God cares about what is in our hearts rather than the terminology we use to describe our worldview.

Well, this train has gone way off the tracks. But I'll get back on track now and get to the point I was originally trying to make. We were talking about people pushing their religion and beliefs on others. I totally agree that this is wrong, and what was doing just now was sharing my beliefs I was not pushing my beliefs on you just now in the last few paragraphs. There's a difference between pushing and sharing. No one is holding a gun to your head and making you read this and if there is then that's really weird and screwed up.

But why do people feel the need to be pushy and try to make other people believe the same things they do? Perhaps it's because that person has found something that works and makes them feel fulfilled and they want to share it with others so badly that they become aggressive and won't stop badgering people about it. It's almost like someone reads a newspaper article that they really enjoy and they want everyone else to enjoy it so they start shoving the newspaper into people's faces yelling "READ IT! READ IT! IT'S GREAT! YOU MUST READ IT! I WON'T STOP UNTIL YOU DO!" That's just crazy.

I'm not just talking about religious fanatics here though. I'm talking about people in general. I've seen this behavior in other areas as well. Throughout my teens, 20's, and now into my early 30's I've had various people say to me "We've got to get you drunk." Now I don't mind a drink or two now and then but I'm just not into getting drunk. I've been there before and I don't really enjoy it when the room starts to turn at a 45ยบ angle as I'm walking. But there are a few people out there, probably more than that, who make it their goal every weekend to get drunk, plastered, intoxicated, hopped-up, smashed, sloshed, (insert your own slang term here), etc. They think it's great and they want to share that with others. They've found something that they believe is fulfilling in their life. Then they push a bottle in your face yelling "DRINK THIS! DRINK THIS! IT'S GREAT! YOU MUST DRINK IT! I WON'T STOP UNTIL YOU DO!" Sounds a little like a religious fanatic doesn't it? So the next time someone says to me "We've gotta get you drunk", I'll just reply, "Don't push your religion on me".

I'm not trying to single out people who drink, I was just using that as an example. It happens with many things like food, music, movies, books, sports, etc. Well, this post has gone on long enough. Come back tomorrow when I'll reveal the fifth and final theme of the week. This is Dan, signing off.....NOW GET OFF MY PORCH!!


  1. Good post Dan. I agree with you that pushing your religion, beliefs, practices, addictions, world view etc. on anyone is not a healthy way to do life. I really like what Pete Rollins says, basically that Christianity isn't fundamentally about what you believe, but how you go about believing what you believe.

    We're all going to have our beliefs, opinions and identities, there is no doubt about that. But holding on to them too tightly and forcing people to see things your way is not life giving and actually closes doors by limiting the possibility for beautiful life giving relationships to develop.

    Contrastingly, holding your beliefs in such a way so that you allow yourself to grow, develop and be transformed by interacting and truly trying to understand others will actually open up doors and provide opportunities for wonderful life giving relationships to develop :)

  2. Dan, congrats on your new typographical endeavors…

    First of all, I completely understand your hesitation in using the term, “Christian” to define your faith. I agree that the term carries a lot of baggage with it, and has become riddled with negative stereotypes, affiliations, assumptions, etc. I know exactly where you're coming from.

    When I first came back to Christ a few years ago, many of my non-Christian friends struggled with my being a "Christian". They thought that I was going to become a gay-bashing, brainwashed, self-righteous, judgmental bastard. It hurt, but I wasn’t concerned with all that. I was only concerned that my life - my relationship with them - would prove to be a positive witness to what being a Christian is all about, therefore changing the perceptions my friends had about "Christians".

    I by no means am the perfect example of being a Christian. Yet, I believe that a genuine Christian's life will bear fruit and bear witness to all things opposite of what that term means to so many people today.

    I'm out to take back and set a new example of what "Christian" can mean. And that is why I will continue to call myself a Christian...despite what others have seen in it elsewhere. Where they have seen hate, let them now see love. Where they have seen arrogance, let them now see humility. Where they have seen empty religion, let them now see Christ.

    So, I will encourage you, Dan, to not shy away from calling yourself a Christian. Because, being a genuine Christian means allowing Christ to both be seen in and work through you. And, if others come to see Him in you, that reality can only radically re-define how others understand Christianity and what they think of when they hear the word, “Christian”.