I fear this post will offend or upset some people, but I must give voice to what is weighing so heavily on my heart. I’m sad and I’m filled with rage. I feel lost, like everything I counted as sure has dissolved beneath my feet and I’m lost at sea.
A wide, deep, lonely sea.
I was raised in a Christian home. Went to a Christian school from grade 1 to 12. Went to a Christian university. Work at a Christian organization. I am thoroughly, undeniably drenched in the Christian faith.
At times I have felt outside of it, like I wasn’t accepted. It didn’t seem like there was room for all my pain in Christianity. Through all my doubting of the Christian tradition, what never waivered was my faith in God’s existence. He had always been there, some nebulous concept. I pictured him like a grouchy father figure, wagging his finger and counting all my wrongs and cooking up ways to punish me for them.
When I was in university, that’s when something new clicked. I started to understand that this grouchy father figure was actually a real, personal God who cared about me. ME. My soul was in pieces, my heart in shatters, and he scooped me up off the dusty ground and he set me on my feet.
He breathed words of life into my heart and set a fire there for justice. For helping. For speaking up even when people would prefer that I didn’t.
I could pray for hours. I could write pages and pages of inner thoughts to God, my Father. My Father. I felt his love as surely as I felt the heat from the sun. I heard his voice, not in an audible sense, but in the stirrings of my soul. In a life where I’d often felt “other,” out of place, I was finally home. Home in God’s love. Home with my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I have always felt that discernment is a strength of mine: I have a deep sense of just and unjust. Right, wrong. Hurtful, healing.
It doesn’t mean I always do the right thing – far, far from it. But in the midst of the wrong thing, I know it is wrong. That’s the price of humanity, right?
Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.amos 5: 23-24 (ESV)
Somewhere along the way, I lost some of that. I lost the sense of God’s closeness. I lost the sense of the battle. I lost the fire, passion, and the shiver up my spine when I know I’m on the right track.
Now… Now I am about as far from “Christian” as I’ve ever been. And I’m grieving. I’m grieving the sense of home that I’ve lost. I’m not sure I’ll ever get it back. That deep sense of discernment, of right and wrong, is pointed toward that which I once called home.
I fear that Christianity now is a far cry from what it should be. It is not something I can align with. It is not something that I can defend. I see it divide, judge, shame, ridicule, and ostracize.
If you read the Bible, it talks about caring for the poor, the weak, the hungry. In my mind, Christians should be the first in line, offering up whatever they have in order to help another. Is this not how Jesus would have acted?
Would he have defended policies to keep those who want a new life out of a country of freedoms?
Would he have defended those who define us vs. them, with the “them” being those with a different skin colour? Would he refer to those who came to a new country, and who are made in God’s image, as “you people”?
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people’s bones and all uncleanness.matthew 23:27 (esv)
Who did Jesus hang out with? Did he hang out with the religious leaders of the time? The ones who knew all the theology and the verses? He did not. He hung out with the tax collectors, the adulterers, the not so “holy.” Did he stand in front of crowds and shout about the sinners? Did he ever practice hating the sin but loving the sinner? No: he just loved them.
He didn’t demand perfection or even repentance to treat the people he met with love and dignity.
I can’t help but think his heart is breaking: “Why haven’t they figured it out yet?” We spent 40 years wandering in the desert and still. don’t. get. it.
I had a professor once who told me that Christians are making more of a name of themselves about what they’re against instead of being strong voices about what they are for. It’s like they’ve taken the grouchy father figure I used to have in my head and made it part of their daily practice.
What would Jesus do in a society like ours?
He would love those that society hates. He would wash the feet of others. He would give all that he had to help someone else.
I guess now only time will tell if Christians will do the same.
Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’ Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’Matthew 25: 40-45 (ESV)