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Blogity-blah-blah-blog: Deep Thought Thursday ~ Popping the Bubble

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Deep Thought Thursday ~ Popping the Bubble

I think I'm going to pick up where I left off with last week's Deep Thought Thursday. Not the part about being pushy, but about the part where I talk about not calling myself a Christian. Click here if you haven't read it already. I appreciate the comments from Jesse and Matthew on last week's post. It's always good to hear some constructive criticism rather than deconstructive criticism. I just want everyone to know that I am not against Christians or the church. I am involved in the church as well as other groups that help the community and others in need. I know the difference between serving God and spending time with God. Most importantly I believe Jesus Christ came to earth to show us a better way to live and he died for all of our sins and that we can be forgiven. I believe in all these things but I don't call myself a Christian. Why? I guess I have to go back a few years.

When I was 27 I had a girlfriend. She was a good girl, but it bothered me that she didn't want to go to my church and that she didn't believe exactly the same things I believed. One night she wanted to go to a party where there was going to be a lot of drinking. She wasn't even going there to drink, she just wanted to be with her friends. She invited me to go but I told her I didn't want to. I didn't just stop there though. I tried to convince her not to go. I can't remember everything I said to her but I know I became something I had never intended to become. I had become a self-righteous judgmental hypocrite.

Needless to say, that relationship was pretty much over after that. She dumped me a few weeks later. She told me that I was no better than her. She was absolutely right, I needed to hear that. On a side note, we are still friends. We're not close friends but we still check up on each other now and then to see how things are going.

After we broke up I started to think about my life, about the things I believed, and the way I lived my life. I had been all talk, but there was no walk. Sure, I didn't really do anything bad, but I didn't do anything good either. I was lukewarm. I spent over a year questioning who I was and what I was doing wrong because what I thought I knew was right didn't seem to be working out.

I started to ask questions. My church, which is called Lifetree, really helped as well as a group called
Valley Mosaic that I started attending. I'll talk more about those in the future, or you can click on the links to check them out now. The Valley Mosaic site is still being worked on.

Then I discovered podcasts and blogs. It was like finding gold! I listened to all kinds of pastors, teachers, and speakers. People like Rob Bell, Erwin McManus, Rick McKinley, Donald Miller, Mark Batterson, Nicky Gumbel, Craig Groeschell, Craig Gross, Mike Foster
, Matthew Paul Turner, Jon Acuff, Brian McLauren, Dr. Peter Rollins, and the list goes on and on. Listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and asking God questions have helped to shape who I am now and what I am becoming.

I've gone from someone who didn't question, thinking what I believed was the only and right way to believe, and avoiding non-believers to someone who now asks God questions, being open to what others believe, and accepting others as they are. So that's how my life has changed over the last few years. I feel like I've gone off topic again, so back to my point.

In last Thursday's post I said that God cares more about what is in our heart than he does about the terminology we use to describe our worldview. But I guess that doesn't really explain why I choose not to call myself a Christian. Over the past few years I've heard statistics and sayings that have encouraged me to drop that title. I could be lame and say stuff like I'm trying to be like Jesus and Jesus wasn't a Christian, or the word Christian only appears a few times in the Bible (depending on what translation you have). But I'm not going to do that.

I was listening to the xxxchurch podcast and they talked about a poll which stated that when people were asked what they thought about Christians the top two answers were that Christians were too political and anti-homosexual. I have no interest in politics. When I got to that intersection I looked to the right and saw the conservatives, then I looked to the left and saw the liberals, and I kept on going straight. It's not that I'm sitting on the fence, it's that I'm conservative with some things and liberal with other things. I cannot claim to be completely conservative or liberal. And even though I don't agree with homosexuality, I don't hate anyone who is. I have friends who are gay and they are more Christ-like in their actions and attitude than many others who call themselves Christians. Why is it that we focus so much on protesting homosexual sin, but turn a blind eye to heterosexual sin. What's the difference? Not one sin is greater than another.

Nicky Gumbel, a pastor in London and is known for starting the Alpha course, once said, "When I hear people say 'Christians are such hypocrites.' I say 'duh!'". I love that quote, it's so true. But who isn't a hypocrite at one time or another. I definitely was when I was talking about being judgmental earlier in my story.

I could go on and on with statistics and quotes, but I don't want to sound like a Christian-basher. I don't want to bash anybody. God has called me to love others, he has called us all to love unconditionally.

I could start calling Thursday's post "Popping the Sterile Christian Bubble" but I won't. The fact is Christians need to stop hiding their dirt, I need to stop hiding my dirt. We can't pretend that we're perfect because the fact is we are all so far from perfect. We can't advertise that once we give our lives over to God that everything is going to be easy. Jesus may have said that his yoke is easy and his burden is light, but he also said that we may face many hardships when we choose to follow him.

There is so much more I could say but I'll finish with this: Does God favor a person who believes Jesus is Lord and does his best to follow in his footsteps regardless of what he calls himself, or a person who calls himself a Christian and does nothing, or does things for his own personal gain?


  1. I like what you said about about protesting homosexual sin, but turning a blind eye to heterosexual sin... That's the point I was trying to get across when we talked homosexuality before.

    And I'm really glad that you are not a "self-righteous judgmental hypocrite" as you put it, because I think mushroom cup would have been the end of our relationship, and I would be quite sad.

  2. Let’s be perfectly honest, we are fooling ourselves if we think words do not change in meaning over time, e.g. the word “Gay.” I do not call myself a Christian either, but for different reasons.

    Probably the main reason I do not call myself a Christian is because the title not only implies all the things you mention above, i.e. judgemental attitudes, conservative political affiliations etc, but because it also implies a type of defined, finite reality. This title, to me, implies a resolute confidence in all matters concerning ontological truth claims and existential reality. To say that “you are” something, what you are really saying is that “you know” you are this thing. But really who knows these things? Who can affirm and confirm this claim? This is precisely why when asked about why he refers to himself as “rightly passing for an atheist,” philosopher Jacques Derrida said it was because he did not know if he were, that there are many voices within him that give one another no rest, and that he lacks the absolute authority of an authorial “I” to still this inner conflict.

    This is also why I choose to say, along with Kierkegaard, that on my best days I’m trying to become a Christian. For the complete truth of the matter is this, as Peter Rollins do beautifully puts it:

    “I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.

    However there are moments when I affirm that resurrection, few and far between as they are. I affirm it when I stand up for those who are forced to live on their knees, when I speak for those who have had their tongues torn out, when I cry for those who have no more tears left to shed.”