For forty nine years, if someone had asked me what religion I professed, I would simply say Christian. After all, I believe in Jesus teachings, I try to live my live my life according to the Bible, I pray to both God and Jesus. Jesus is an integral part of my life and I am very proud to follow in his footsteps as a disciple. Given this, why am I feeling saddened and disconnected with the Christian culture?
I am really struggling to find the Jesus that cared about the people who all others had given up on. I want to find the Jesus that hung out with tax collectors, publicly acknowledged women and children and treated the homeless, sick and elderly with respect. I want to find the Jesus who surrounded himself with people who had been hurt by the pompous religious elite, the Pharisees.
I, myself, find it hard to do all these things and certainly don’t always make the grade. But what I am seeing in our Christian culture, and I am down in the South, has gotten pretty ugly. It has become more of a political party or brand than a religion. Let me give a few examples:
I am going to the beach tomorrow and staying on a Beach Front Property that advertises itself as a “Christian Property”. Really? What exactly does that mean? If your not a Christian don’t come? Is Christianity a club? Does it require dues and a secret handshake? This to me is a marketing technique called branding and Christianity is not a brand. This really makes me angry as I think this is a ploy to get more business.
I am a Democrat, and have different views than my more politically conservative friends. I had lunch with one of these friends and when she found out I was a Democrat she told me that I couldn’t be taking the Bible as it was intended. I kept asking her to change the topic because we just simple were not going to agree but she would not let up. She chastised me for my choice in candidate and was very disrespectful about my beliefs. This woman was a close friend, I was in her wedding. Luckily, after a cooling down period of about six months, we were both able to try again. My point is that Christianity is not a political party. It is bigger than that.
and finally, my gay friends. We are really struggling down here in Atlanta right now. Chick Fil A is a restaurant that is known for its very politically conservative values. I totally get that. But when Chick Fil A made a statement about their views on homosexuality and how it is wrong (really don’t know what that has to do with Chicken but OK) the statement in the paper was that their take on Gay Rights is a Christian viewpoint. That is where I draw the line. Sure, I respect their rights to their opinion but not all Christians feel this way. I don’t feel this way.
Since I feel that the wonderful things about Jesus’ teachings are that they are dynamic, inclusive and stand the test of time, I am denouncing Christianity and becoming an ardent Jesus Follower.