That Kind Of Christian

Note: This post is controversial, but please just take it as a message about preserving the love of Christ and not the spitefullness of the devil. We all have our different views on this subject and my object is not to ignite debates or send people away from my blog. Rather, I want to spread awareness about the view that many non-Christians sometimes have on us as Christians.

We were sitting under the shade of a big, lumbering tree in the park one day before our acting class. She and I were as different as different could be. I was three years older, shorter, and enjoyed memorization while she disliked it. Most of all I was a Christian. I was religious. And she was not religious at all, in her words. But somehow, that didn’t matter — we always had a conversation and it was almost always sprinkled by spirituality.

One day, she hesitated before finishing her sentence. “Wait, are you that kind of Christian?”  

“What do you mean?” I asked, in order to avoid what I knew was coming. She’d been talking about her mom’s lesbian friend. It was doubtless why she would ask this kind of question before proceeding onto such dangerous grounds. Yet I hesitated, too. I didn’t know how to answer just then.

“Like, are you Anti-Gay?”

I looked at her for a moment. What should I say? How could I explain myself? If I said one wrong thing, I could give her an even worse impression of Christianity than she already had. One slip of the tongue, one even slightly judgemental sentence could turn me into that kind of Christian and her from all hope of a loving God.

“Well, I–um, we had a discussion about this in Bible study once,” I stammered. “I have my Bible here, actually. Let’s look at that and see what the Bible says.”

“Okay.”

We searched and we found. It was still hard to explain. Even so, I tried.

“Deep down, Christianity is about love,” I said. “We are called to live a certain way but our highest calling is to be like Christ–to love as He loves. So I hope I’m not that kind of Christian, but a Christian who loves.”

She understood or so it seemed. We were friends for the rest of the class and continued with our conversations. I prayed for her and tried to be the kind of Christian she needed, the kind that we all need, the kind that loves.

Sometimes, I think of her again and wonder…am I ever that kind of Christian?

A popular speaker I’ve heard says that the main assumptions about Christians are that they are judgmental and anti-gay. He was right in my friend’s case. In fact, she had been so turned off by the judgement, that she barely wanted anything to do with Christianity.

Oh, how I do not want to be that kind of Christian. But I know I am at times and have been in the past.

Lord, make more like you. Make me a true ‘Little Christ.’

Note: This is NOT a post about Gay rights or the Christian response. It is simply an observation of the way that Christians often come across to non-Christians. Please refrain from statements on Gay rights and anything disrespectful about either side. If I see any comment like that, I will not publish it. Thank you.

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Forrest Of Lies

Sometimes I walk with a head that hangs in shame through a forrest of people who hate me. It’s a difficult road, full of thorns and twigs. And it’s dark in the forrest — so dark that I can’t find my way out. The forrest of lies consumes me until I want to cry.

In the forrest, I’m never good enough. I’m ugly, stupid, and not likable. No one wants to be my friend in the forrest of lies. Because who would want to stand next to a failure like me?

I’m bad and wrong in the forrest. I’m too ambitious for a female. In the forrest, they denounce what I want to do with my life and who I would like to be. I’m utterly wrong in the forrest. I can’t be successful there. My dreams of university and a career are scoffed at. I’m told that I need a man to do anything worth with my life. A man and a lot of kids. I am worth nothing in the forrest of lies.

I am sinful beyond compare there. My clothes are immodest even though I try so hard. Certain things I do and ways I act are just plain terrible. My actions in the past are unforgivable. I’m not good enough for grace in the forrest even though grace was made just for me. I’m never pure in the forrest of lies.

The forrest is demeaning, rude, and shallow. I do not like to live there and I will not let myself stay there any longer. It’s full of ridiculous expectations that I could never meet. Perfectionists without an ounce of grace pound my heart to pieces. And that is why I call it the forrest of lies.

But at the end of the forrest, there is a garden. It’s a perfect, beautiful place. I go there to be uplifted and refreshed. And in the garden, there is a gardener who calls me by name. Although He is perfect, the gardener doesn’t mind that I am not. For He has enough grace to share the beauty of his flowers with me. So I’ll leave this forrest of lies behind and go to the garden. Are you coming with me?

The Good Christian Girl

She goes to church every Sunday, dress on, and bible in hand. Her lips know the words to the songs. She takes notes and listens to the pastor, unless she follows the children down the hall and teaches the sunday school lesson. Throughout the week, she can be seen setting an example at youth group, babysitting at the mom’s bible study, and teaching the group for younger girls. She is the good Christian girl.

Her appearance is always appropriate and never lacking. She wears shirts to her collar-bone and skirts to her knee and a one piece bathing suit to the beach. Her make-up is kept at a minimum because true beauty is found within. She is the good Christian girl.

The girl does well in school and has plans for university. But of course, she is also learning how to keep a good house–she can cook, bake, and clean. One day, they all say, she’ll have a good career and make an even better wife. After all, she is the good Christian girl.

She has never had a boyfriend because she’s waiting for “the one.” She doesn’t flirt or chase after boys or talk about crushes. The boys just pass her by — they open doors sometimes and say hello but never give her much attention. And she is content with that because she is the good Christian girl.

She walks with a smile and says hello and makes small talk. She knows names of the young and the old. The younger girls look up to her, the seniors smile down, and the boys just move on to the next girl. She never talks too much or too loudly; in fact, she rarely talks at all. Her knees are bound together and her hands clasped in one, sitting like a lady. Wherever she goes, she is liked and likes back. She is the good Christian girl.

But no one sees her tears in the morning or the way she collapses into bed after a long day. They don’t know the hurt behind that smiling face. But even though she goes to church like a perfect model, she doesn’t always listen. Although her clothes are modest, she sometimes aches to wear that dress just an inch higher. Her make-up may be at a minimum but that doesn’t mean she likes how she looks. She makes good grades and bakes sweet cakes but not without effort. Her heart has never been broken by a boy, but the longings in her mind are just as keen. Her smile is often a cover for tears but she is the good Christian girl.

But one day, that girl just breaks. Snaps like a twig blowing in the wind.

She misses church not once but twice. She can’t take care of everybody’s child and bake cookies and teach girls’ club. She wears a shirt that dips down low, and shorts that are a bit short. Her homework lags and she fails a test, dinner isn’t made and her room is a mess. She flirts with that boy who flirts with her and tells him how she feels when he asks. She forgets their names and frowns at the world. They said she was the good Christian girl…

That’s because that good Christian girl is a myth. Sure, you can be like her and do all the things that she does but not without hurting. You see, I’ve been there and I know what it’s like — constant perfectionism, worry, and hurt. Because the good in your name is an antonym for bad.

So if you’ve been that girl, it’s time to stop! God doesn’t ask you to never fail–He only requests that you put your trust in Him who never fails and He will set you free.

Not In The Club

Sometimes, life has too many rules.

You can’t wear that…

You can’t do that…

You can’t say that…

You can’t be that…

To be a real Christian.

It seems like we have to follow a code to be ‘in the club.’

To be accepted, respected, and loved.

But is that really what being a Christian is about? Is that acceptance, respect, or love?

I’m all for following God with all of your heart. I believe in the Ten Commandments and I try to fulfill His desires. I know that there is right and wrong. I know that actions speak louder than words. I understand that we must live by example. I realize that following God is more than just talk….

But I still don’t get the rules. The ones that exclude, shun, and disgrace us. The ones that try to kill our faith, and mock our efforts. The ones that bring us away from God, and refuse to love. Are those what God really had in mind? Somehow, I don’t think so.

No, God didn’t want judgement, hurt, or lies. He doesn’t want people to be shunned, or taken down. He wants us to become nearer, not farther from him. He didn’t make the Christian life a club with a strict code. He wants love, not hate.

So forget the club and it’s code, and ditch the rules. God created us for something greater!