Not so perfect, not so young

Friday, April 21, 2006

Where my ideas come from

I don't come up with much to say that I haven't heard or read elsewhere. One of the books I've read lately gave me lots of food for thought, and I enjoyed it so much that I want to share a bit of it here.

Of my few faithful readers, I know that there are some who have had the influence of Christianity in their lives in the past in some way or other. If you are thinking, "She's talking about me," you're probably right, because it's true of most of my dear friends, whether or not they call themselves 'christian' now, and I'm thinking of you all.

Digression: Since I've been working on my research project, I usually type 'deaf' instead of 'dear'. Every time. Read on, my deaf friends.

The thing is, there's a LOT about capital-C "Christianity" in general and about Christians in particular that bothers a lot of people. Or makes them furious.

Unfortunately, many of us who come out on the other side of the trials of adolescent/university life and still embrace our faith feel like we have to pretend that we aren't bothered by anything about Christianity. Or worse still, we may even imagine that we have to support conservative politicians and their various agendas. So I liked it when I read this:

. . . Christianity was always right; we were always looking down on everybody else. And I hated this. I hated it with a passion. . . . I wanted to love everybody. I wanted everything to be cool. I realize this sounds like tolerance, and to many in the church the word 'tolerance' is profanity, but that is precisely what I wanted. I wanted tolerance. I wanted everybody to leave everybody else alone, regardless of their religious beliefs, regardless of their political affiliation. I wanted people to like each other. Hatred seemed, to me, a product of ignorance. I was tired of biblical ethic being used as a tool with which to judge people rather than heal them. I was tired of Christian leaders using biblical principles to protect their power, to draw a line in the sand separating the good army from the bad one.

That's from "Blue Like Jazz" by Don Miller. Whether you identify yourself with Christian spirituality or not, it's a great read. The author's dissatisfaction was very satisfying to read about. I liked it a lot. There are so many other good passages, that I would be here typing for hours if I included them all.

Okay, just one more, from the chapter called Church: How I go without getting angry:

One more thing that bugged me, then I will shut up about it. War metaphor. The churches I attended would embrace war metaphor. They would talk about how we are in a battle, and I agreed with them, only they wouldn't clarify that we were battling poverty and hate and injustice and pride and the powers of darkness. They left us thinking that our war was against liberals and homosexuals. Their teaching would have me believe I was the good person in the world and the liberals were the bad people in the world. Jesus taught that we are all bad and He is good, and He wants to rescue us because there is a war going on and we are hostages in that war. The truth is that we are supposed to love the hippies, the liberals, and even the Democrats, and that God wants us to think of them as more important than ourselves. Anything short of this is not true to the teachings of Jesus.

Are you still here? Sorry I've gone on and on and on. I just really liked this book, and I'm not so good at boiling it down into a few points. Despite the content of the excerpts here, it's not all about dissatisfaction - it points to solutions as well, and focuses a lot on loving people, in real ways, in everyday life, no matter what differences you may have.

Reading something like this makes me want to change. It makes me want to truly love others. Basically, it shows me that being annoyed or confused about certain aspects of my faith isn't an excuse not to keep trying to live out the parts that I'm certain of, like Jesus' love for people.

Thanks for reading.


  • At 7:59 PM, Blogger palinode said…

    I think it's ludicrous that Christians are asked to equate Jesus' love with the notion of being in a 'battle' against gay people, or people who favour state-funded daycare, or whatnot. It feels like a hijacking of faith.

  • At 11:15 AM, Blogger Jaimie said…

    Amen to that. Some things about Jesus are confusing, but his love for the people that society and 'religion' rejected is exceedingly clear.


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