I tried to ignore this feeling today, I really did. Sometimes I get this feeling in me that I have to blog, and today I have that feeling. I just finished my last midterm and tomorrow I’m flying to Edmonton to see my husband for the first time in almost two months. I got my first midterm back already, and I got an A+. It was a gorgeous sunny day, and I’m kicking back right now with a glass of wine and a piece of bumbleberry pie. I am happy. Blissed out, even.
I atend a Christian University, which if you know me, is weird. I am a Christian, yes. I have grown up in the Church, my family are Christians, I have attended Bible College, gone on missions trips, Been a fundraiser for a Christian non-profit organization and even had pastoral status in Canada at one point.
I’ll just come out and say it. For the most part, the Christian community embarasses me. Ever since Bible College, I have struggled with knowing that I belong to a group of people who have done and continue to hurt people in God’s name. I know that if I did not grow up in this group of people, I would probably not want anything to do with them or the God they say they represent. And I also know that I am in this group called Christians because I believe I have a responsibility to be there. I fantasize sometimes about being a free agent, but if all the sane people leave church then who would be there to give another perspective?
In art class today, the prof showed us some paintings with inverted crosses, crosses made out of money, and even a crucifix submerged in human urine. She showed us cartoons of catholic priests that looked demonic and the last supper with rats at the table. These images were supposed to make me angry at the artists, because they were blaspheming and insulting our God and our faith…but all I could think of was how badly we have screwed this up. How much we have hurt people in Christ’s name. The artists weren’t insulting God, they never met him. They were insulting the instution of Christianity they were all too familiar with. Throughout history, it has been people calling themselves Christians who’ve been at the forefront of opressing every minority group that exists. God doesn’t want women to work outside the home. God condones slavery and segregation. God hates gays. We have killed people who didn’t agree with us, and called it God’s will. We have turned our backs on the needy and built up huge churches to hide in. Seriously, we have fucked up. And I don’t blame the world for being angry, because I’m angry.
In my next class we watched a documentary on native residential schools in Canada and the abuses that went on in them. Horrible physical, emotional and sexual abuse perpetrated on little kids taken away from their families because they were born into the wrong culture and faith. The schools were run by churches.
Sometimes, God gives me a message that I have to share, and today it is this: I am sorry. I’m sorry that we as Christians should be modeling Christ for the world, and we’re not. Christ went into the world and he didn’t make people feel bad. He didn’t fight people for being different, he didn’t stay in the synagogue and hang out in care groups with people who were like him, he didn’t preach hate or ostracism or the taking away of rights for anything. He made people feel loved, and he fed them. And the churchy guys who were all holier than though to everyone? He shut them down.
So we have read about the pharisees in the Bible, but most Christians I meet are new versions of that. It’s all about following the rules as they interpret them, and not about being a representative of Christ in the community he directs you to. I’m not perfect, but my goal is not hang out with too many Christians, be friends with all different kinds of people, and be as much like Christ as I can. I get in trouble for living that way sometimes from Christians who think I should think like them to be Christian. I’m sorry, I don’t. I believe in a God who created every single one of us with love, knowing the gifts and passions inside of us. A God who supports changes in society as they come, because he made us to change and grow individually and as a whole. A God who made us for loving, intentional relationships both friendly and romantic in nature, and does not give a fig about sexual orientation. A God who knows that we will ultimately be so broken that we will go out of our way to hurt each other, tell each other we can’t do what we have a need to do, and condemn one another for no other reason than we are desperately trying to save ourselves. But this God who created you and me wants to make us whole again. He wants us to live in love and joy and wholehearted wholeness.
There will always be those who say they are with God, but he does not know them. When you meet someone who is happy and has peace, someone who tells you that who you are is exactly who you were created to be, and that God is pleased. Someone who inspires you to do good in the world, to stretch, to grow, and to live a life of truth-seeking, that will be the true Christian. Don’t be fooled! The real ones have a glow, and will never go around tearing people down. I’m sorry the other kind has been so productive.
To my Christian friends, thank you for being the kind of Christians I’m proud to know. Thank you for standing up for people who get picked on by the church and exposing yourself to rejection from the people who should love you. Thank you for modeling Christ. I am thinking of my friend Dylan Richards in particular, who inspires me daily to be a true follower of Christ. Thanks D, for reminding me through your daily life what that means ❤