1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or His teachings: "a Christian faith."
4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ; Christlike: "She displayed true Christian charity."
I claim to be a Christian.
I believe Jesus was who He said He was, that He was neither liar nor lunatic, but Lord.
That being said, I'm honest enough to admit I fall short of that ideal virtually daily, sometimes spectacularly...but I try.
What it means to be one has been a topic of debate for centuries, ranging from cool and civil up to hot, violent, and murderously bloody.
Those of us that are on the inside of the Christian paradigm with other believers are often the most vociferous about what it means to be a Christian; sadly, and I'm guilty of this in the past myself, we often will "confront our misguided brethren" in a "spirit of love" to "guide them" into more correct and Biblical thinking and living.
In short, we tell them how much they're wrong and how much our view is right, often with Scripture to prove it...which, ironically, they also have and use. Even shorter, we beat them over the head with a Bible.
I try not to get into that activity...any more; it's non-productive, almost everyone has different views on what many key Scriptures mean, and living a fully Christ-like life is virtually impossible, except for some folks like Billy Graham, and even he has his share of controversy and unpopular views dating back to the Nixon administration, and I'm sure even he would admit to struggling with living a Christ-like life.
But people persist. Entire forests have been cut down to produce the paper needed for the various arguments, discussions, debates, reports, research, narratives, opinions, and doctrinal theses, all written to prove a point about some aspect of Scripture and living a Christian life.
We have differences, even between Christians. I already pointed out in a previous blog post that even the earliest Church fathers realized this and addressed that what's acceptable for one or some would be a hindrance to others in some cases.
I acknowledge the verses that admonish us to live moral, upright lives free of lust, immorality, and impurity; they're right, good, and goals to aspire to.
WE. ALL. FALL. SHORT.
All of us. Every person. Even the most upright and moral persons. Some pastors take extremes to even avoid the APPEARANCE of being improper. There's a rumor, which I can't find substantiation of, that the Rev. Billy Graham has an aide go through his rooms while travelling in order to prove that there is no one in his rooms, to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, and avoid someone being able to make him look bad publicly. As extreme as that sounds, the Bible does advise ministers to avoid even the appearance of impropriety wherever possible so as to be "above reproach". I'm sure someone would LOVE to break a story about Billy Graham being caught with someone in his rooms, true or not...bad news sells better than good news.
Anyway, back to the point(s).
- Fact 1: Nobody's perfect.
- Fact 2: See Fact 1.
Ohhhh, hey, good question...probably so in the South, especially in private...but what if the general public found out that a ministry group, a bunch of Christians, were laughing at and making racially inspired jokes?
They'd be crucified....so they keep it just between people they trust to "relax" around and "be themselves".
And yet these are the same folks that cut me off for posting a link to a video for the Vegan Black Metal Chef for my friends that are not only vegan, but listen to black metal. Or posting something "about a demon"...yeah, that's as specific as they got, so it was either Cthulhu/Dagon 2012, Something Positive, Cthulhu at Sea, or the Weeping Angel from Dr. Who.
And, of course, the fact I believe that gay marriage is a civil rights issue and we have no business legislating it. The Bible indicates "don't do it" to Christians; it doesn't say "control how others live their lives" or "Jesus voted anti-gay" or "Republicans will go to Hell if they don't vote against gay marriage". *SIDE NOTE: Some may find it interesting reading to see what some parties get from Scripture regarding gays and the Bible.
Anyway, the point is, someone (me) has been cut off from a ministry position (my former band) because of unpopular or even non-Christian public views...by people who harbor equally unpopular and non-Christian views in private.
Then they say, "We can still be friends and hang out."
Ok, you've just exhibited world-class hypocrisy and changed my life, and you still want to "hang out"?
I don't think so.
Hell, even the two that just burned me are sincere and genuine and mean well! I know they did, and they sincerely have mine (and their's and God's) best interests in mind...I get that, and I even agree with their reasoning from a Biblical standpoint.
But based on their own criteria of "above reproach" and Biblical morality and ethics, they're equally wrong...they're just hiding it in private, whereas I take the "here I am, I have nothing to hide" approach.
This is the fourth time I've been hurt specifically by what amounts to hypocrisy from morally upright and well-meaning "followers of Jesus Christ". My problem isn't with Jesus. Far from it.
My problem is with those calling themselves His servants.
I don't know if I'll stay in church. If I do, I couldn't pick a better one than my current church. The pastor is the most sincere, good, down-to-earth type person. When he does chide or discipline, it's always and only from what the Bible says, not his opinion of what's "appropriate". I just don't know if that's enough, though. I'm tired of being burned. I'm tired of being "corrected" by people who are JUST. AS. FLAWED. as me....and I'm not sure I want to be part of a congregation where I now have deep, serious, and personal issues with members of the body.
Oh, I'm going to work on it, get it resolved, and make sure that I remain as much in the right as possible regarding my own feelings and thinking and actions. Forgive...sure; it's what Jesus wants us to do. But it's going to be a cold day in hell before I TRUST them again.
So, who IS Christ-like? Who IS a Christian? Well, Jesus was; from my position, including myself, no one else is even close...so watch out for the glass walls when you start throwing stones.