December 11, 2018
Like many others in the Bible Belt, I’ve been attacked, bullied, and generally had my feelings hurt for not being a Christian.
I’ve had “Christians” demand aggressively that I listen to their testimony.
I’ve had “Christians” tell me that I’m going to hell.
I’ve had “Christians” tell me that my church is a cult.
I’ve had a “Christian” tell me “I’ll pray for you for being a cunt.”
All these experiences and more have left a bitter taste in my mouth about Christianity. However, now that I’m a little bit older, not much wiser, and much more secure in my identity as a non-Christian, I’ve started to think about the people I know who really embody Christ-like actions and love.
My Christian friend who held me accountable for poor decisions and forgave me is a true Christian.
My Christian friend who will drop anything to help me with Henry and wave off my words of gratitude with “it takes a village” is a true Christian.
My Christian friend who offered me a much-needed pep talk during a terrible day of work, assuring me of my own ability, competence, and worth, is a true Christian.
The Christian preschool teachers who told me they will love and nurture my son no matter where we hang out on Sunday morning are true Christians.
My Christian friend who reached out to me during Me Too to offer comfort and a listening ear is a true Christian.
This is not an exhaustive list of amazing people that I know who happen to identify as Christian – these are just the examples that are jumping out at me right now. The thing that these people have in common is that they do not go around shouting about their relationship with Christ. They do not advertise what good Christians they are in so many words. They do not condemn or judge others. They just go about their lives living their truths, which happen to include trying to live like Jesus did.
Gandhi said: “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ” and I think that’s where I am. I’m down with Jesus. He was a pretty cool dude and I’m pretty sure he’d go to the Women’s March with me wearing a pink hat and a Dirty Hippie sweatshirt if he was around today. I’m down with his followers who really strive to be like him, because his message was Love and that’s my message too.
I can’t personally get behind the theology of it all, so while Jesus and I will forever be homies, I’m not trying to call him my Savior. I personally do not believed that I, or anyone, needs to be saved. I believe we have the ability and Divine right to save ourselves.
That said, I owe an apology to some people.
I’m sorry to those I have judged because of the actions of a few.
I’m sorry for when I have been irreverent when I should have tried to be more understanding.
I’m sorry for talking so much about practicing compassion and falling short in practicing it with you.
As we move forward together, my goal is to show you the same grace you have shown me and to do what I can to protect you and your values from those who attempt to manipulate the word of your God to push an agenda.
There’s a reason for stereotypes such as The Judgmental Christian and The Antagonistic Atheist – people do exist in both of those realities. However, I’ve found that the majority of people just want to do right by themselves and others – no matter where they hang out on Sunday morning.
“We need not think alike to love alike.”
(I don’t even know who said this anymore, but it’s a good quote nonetheless.)
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