I’m tired of being a Christian

Today was my day to eat supper with Jeremy Holtrop. I don’t think I’ve said much about him on the site so far, but he is an incredible guy, and I feel so blessed to call him my friend, and have a chance to eat with him once a week just to share our feelings. Sometimes we just get together and laugh, and sometimes we have very deep conversation. Today we had one of our best conversations, just about being Christians and what it means.

Our conversation eventually focused around what it really means to be a Christian, and how we feel like it’s not at all what most people live it or believe it to be. We both talked about how much we hate the fake, shallow lives that Christians lead. To most people, it’s not about what we actually feel or think, it’s about saying the right things, doing the good things, and never saying or doing the bad things. That’s crap.
I believe absolutely in very few things. I believe that God is the one true sovereign God. I believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, lived, died on a cross, was dead and buried, and then rose on the third day. I believe that now the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf, and is our direct connection to God, made possible by the blood of Christ. Other than that, you can pretty much disprove anything else I believe, and it may make me feel like an idiot, but it won’t change the fact I believe in God.
Go to Dr. Drury’s website, and read his article, and especially Dr. Schenck’s article (which is linked right below Drury’s) to see who started me thinking these things.

To fuel the fire, earlier today in Church Music class we had a discussion on whether or not to use non-Christian musicians in a worship team. I think everyone pretty much agreed that a non-Christian could never be a worship leader, but there was a rift between the class on whether or not to use non-Christians. I understand the argument against it, I do. But I just have a real problem with the way we run our churches today.
Nothing about Jesus was acceptable to the church. He didn’t hang out with all the religious leaders talking theology and worship, he hung out with the sinners, making them feel like they were loved and accepted, regardless of the condition of their lives. In Luke 19 Jesus meets up with Zaccheus, and ends up going to his house for dinner. The verse that gets me is verse seven. It says that people grumbled because Jesus was going to be a guest in the house of a sinner. WHAT IS THE CHURCH FOR??? Why are we bickering over whether or not to let a musician play guitar in our band? The fact that there is an opportunity is one more chance to witness to one more person. There are countless stories of worship team members coming to Christ through being involved in a church!
One argument people use is the one that everyone on the worship team–regardles of their role–is a leader. Well, unless they left it out, none of the gospel writers ever mentioned Jesus asking if the boy was a Christian before taking his small lunch and feeding thousands with it. Maybe you don’t think so, but I’m pretty sure all the other little boys looked up to that kid after that. Jesus didn’t ask if he was a Christian, he simply used the opportunity to change that boy’s life forever. It wasn’t normal! It wasn’t “right”! Jesus didn’t do things that made religious leaders happy. He did things that changed the world.
In Mark 9, the disciples stopped a man who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, but wasn’t traveling with Jesus. But Jesus told them not to stop him, and said these words about it: “Do not hinder him, for there is no one who will perform a miracle in My name, and be able soon afterward to speak evil of Me. For he who is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because of your name as followers of Christ, truly I say to you, he will not lose his reward.” (Mark 9:39b-41, NASB) Now, without doing an in-depth study, I will say that the context was a bit different then than it is now, but I believe that this verse is not taken out of context when applied now.

In a world that’s full of pharisees, I just don’t feel like being equated with “Christians” anymore. I don’t want to be stuck in the IWU bubble my whole life. I want my life to resemble Christ’s, and Christ’s life was anything but religious by the standards of his day. Don’t romanticize Jesus’ life and ministry. ‘Religious’ people hated him. He wasn’t preaching in front of huge congregations and broadcast to 176 countries around the world. He didn’t say the things that made him accepted by the church, or made him look good. He said the things that were true.
I read an article somewhere on the web (I forget where, and I’m too tired to look it up in my web history) where someone was saying he had a surefire way to bring in 9 out of 10 families who visited their Sunday School into their church. You know what it was? They had them over on Friday to play cards.
They would invite visiting couples over on Fridays to play cards with some of their other friends from church. The night involves playing cards, eating dessert, laughing, and just having a good time. What it doesn’t involve was ever saying anything about Jesus to them. They just befriended those church visitors, made them feel welcome, and got to know them for who they are. You know what? At the end of a year, of the ten couples this particular family had over, nine of them joined the church. Without ever preaching a word, or saying a word, they witnessed to those people by having a genuine, Christ-driven(love!) relationship with them. On the other side, of the other 50 families that visited that church, only 3 of them ended up becoming regular attenders. One of my all-time favorite quotes is by St. Francis. It simply says, “Preach the gospel. If necessary, use words.”

I’m tired of being associated with “Christians” who are voting on whether or not to have gay pastors. I’m tired of being associated with Christians who insist on shoving Jesus down everyone’s throat instead of building relationships, the effective way of reaching out. I’m tired of being associated with “Christians” who go to church on Sunday, and then live like the rest of the world the rest of the time.

I’m tired of being associated with Christians who don’t think we should ever have non-Christians in our worship teams, even if that is the only way that person will ever get into a church.

I quit being a Christian. I’ll never quit following Christ, and living a life that he has called me to. But I quit being a Christian. I want to be able to proclaim to people when I’m having a hard time. I want to be honsest with people and let them know it’s been a month since I’ve done my devotions. That ‘s what real Christianity is. It’s not the peaches and cream we ascribe it to be. It’s not about being perfect. It’s about doing the best we can, despite our imperfections. Sometimes I don’t feel like being a Christian anymore. It doesn’t mean I’m not, just beacuse I have that feeling. Sometimes I have to question my entire belief system, including the existence of God himself. That doesn’t mean I’m not a Christian. I have doubts. I have questions. Sometimes I just don’t feel like doing it. That doesn’t make me any less of a Christian. No, the fact that I am open and honest about those things to me means that if anything, my relationship with God is just that much truer. No human relationship that’s worth anything is all about being perfect. My friends and I share all our emotions–the times when we feel great, and the times when we feel crappy. Telling God I’m doubting something about my faith doesn’t mean he doesn’t love me anymore, praise Him!

So be honest. Be open about your struggles. If not with others, at least with God. He already knows you feel that way, anyways!

So, it is with virulent disdain I say goodbye to Christianity. I’m not about pretending anymore. Out with Christianity. In with a true, honest, relationship with Jesus Christ–and the people he loved so much, he died for them.