Thursday, November 10, 2005

M@ might be a christian, what do you think?

Sorry for the black out, school has been absorbing a lot of my brain the last few days.

I ask because I want to know what someone else thinks something is if I am going to label myself with that label. I do not like Christian, I don’t like a lot of stuff that goes along with “Christian”, the funny thing is that if you ask two different people what a Christian is, you are going to get two different answers (case in point, look at the last post). If you look just at the dictionary definition, you can believe that Jesus is the Christ, OR, you can follow the religion. I would rather that people know me, know who I am, what I think, and how I live my life, than decide what I am. I do not fit any easy boxes, and really I don’t like it when people try and label me as something so broad (liberal, conservative, republican, Christian, catholic, protestant, whatever). I am sure that there are people who would say that I am not a Christian, and I am sure that there are some who would say that I am, its up to you to decide what you think, I know what I am. Some of my friends have told me that its all the same, that its just a matter of names. So, I don’t like the question. Am I a Christian, even if I don’t follow some of the things that the religion does? Perhaps a better question would be, “What is your relationship with God?” Here is how I would answer that question: I believe that god is real, that he(or she, or it) is active and alive in my life, that they are passionately interested in my life and what happens to me. I believe that Jesus was a man ( a homosapian, a carbon based life form with endosymbiotic bacteria) who walked on earth, ate food, hung out with his “boys”. I believe that he was also god, that when he died, that he was resurrected, and is now somewhere else part of the “they” that are actively involved in my daily life. So, in your book does that make me a “Christian”?

I think that there is also a bigger issue here, so I will share a little story from my life. Once upon a time, I made the choice of looking at someone and deciding that they were not a “Christian”, so there salvation was obviously in question. I made that choice, I judged them. The problem is this, I am not god, I don’t know what other people think, do, feel, I can be a friend, I can even get to “know” them, as much as is possible in the context of who and where we are right now. Still, I will not know how or why or what god is doing in there life. My choice cost me, it cost me that friend, and it is a loss that I still mourn. Sadly, its not just my loss, I hurt them, in that instance, I did a lot of damage, directly in the place of my friends wounds. I reinforced every misconception that they had about religious people, that we are closed minded, bigoted, hypocritical, and judgmental. Years latter, I can look at how this friend was more connected with god than I was. It was one of the most painful experiences of my life, but also one of the best because I chose to learn from it, it was a real turning point in my life. I made a discision that I needed to love people, regardless, I made it my goal to love people the same, I want to be “Christ-like” in that I want to love the child rapist as much as I love the pastor guy walking down the street. It’s the reason that I chose to beleave that Jesus was more than a man, he loved, he loved like no man has the right to, and I think that it’s a major failing of Christians today that we don’t love like that, that we say we love people, but we would love them more if they were not gay, or such a bad sinner, or if they follow a four step process. That is not love, its conditional bribery, and it is not very Christ like. All people everywhere crave this thing love, its what we were made for, to love and to be loved. To not give it fully because they don’t agree with you, or smell like you, or say the same things you do is mean, hateful, and evil. So, I encourage you all to look at the way that you live, and ask who and why you love.

"For his anger lasts only a brief moment, and his good favor restores one's life. One may experience sorrow during the night, but joy arrives in the morning." Psalms 30:5

PS if your board, read this, it might explain why I dont just say "ya, I am a christian"


Patty said...

Do NOT misunderstand me. I did not ask you if you were a Christian so that I could judge you based on your response. I only asked because your site was the first that I saw that mentioned God or Jesus, and I was simply curious & interested. I fully understand that you want to be seen as who you are & not just labeled something & to be judged by that label. That was not my intent. I am truly sorry for the loss of that friend.

I do NOT hate homosexuals(the actual people/person). (I do NOT LOVE the ACT of homosexuality). Homosexuality is a sin and I in no way agree with it or support it. You are right, homosexuality is(at least in the eye's of God and should be to us) equally as wrong as telling a small lie. I struggle with seeing every sin as the same.

Went back and read that old post. To condone homosexuality(which is a continual sin, a lifestyle) is wrong and yes, to say it it okay to live like that, is wrong. I will never support a Congressman who is known to be a homosexual, but that does NOT mean that I hate him/her. Those two things are seperate. You should seperate your love for someone with how you feel about the actual sins that they do/are doing.

I can love someone, for example, my young sister, and still not like the sins she committs. When she lies to me, it hurts, yes, but I never stop loving her, but I do not love the LIE that she has told. I do not encourage her to lie, support or agree with the ACT of LYING. I still love my sister and want her not to lie again. I DO forgive her and try to forget. But I do NOT just overlook(condone) that she has lied to me. I acknowledge that she has sinned(done wrong) and try to tell her not to lie again, that lying is wrong.

Do you see my point? I try to love everyone no matter what their sins are, but I do not support their sins. But that doesn't mean that I stop loving them.

Furthermore, I do not see much difference in mine and Anna's def. of Christianity. I think they are the same, only worded differently. At least, that is what I see, I may be wrong. You might see two different definitions, but if you ask two people for the definition of something it will most likely never be the exact same wording. Also, that short dictionary def. is not the full meaning of Christianity and I do not believe it is completely accurate. I already wrote about what I believe being a Christian means in my last post.

Anna said...

I forgot to thank you for answering the question in your next post, so thanks!
Labels are a very divisive thing, and I strongly dislike them as well - and it's not because I want to be PC or because I don't believe differences are important. Like you, when I find myself using them on other people, whether they are accurate or not (nearly always they're not) I feel just terrible. It's because people are never just what we want them to be, and they are never as simple as we expect. I often see labels being used as a way of indirectly discarding a persons's views or degrading him, by simply bashing on the label that applies to him. That way they can claim tolerance, that it's not 'personal,' but we all know what's implied. And I think it's a cowardly, unintellectual way of doing business (incidentally, that is politics in a a nutshell hehe). Harsh words, but I'm guilty, too.

As for the many and sundry definitions of a Christian, I don't necessarily view that as a bad thing. True, it can mean that there are those out there that are merely 'cultural' Christians or plain hypocrites, but I think it can also point to the complex thing that is the Christian life. If 'Christian' could be reduced to an all-inclusive definition, I don't think it would accurately reflect what believers have been called to.
I, too, fear being labeled as a Christian, for all the bitter hurt I find in people directed towards Christianity, which is profoundly saddening. And I don't think my belief is a religion so much as a faith, a way, a relationship. On the other hand, I don't want to buy into the modern deconstructionist notion of denying all affiliation with religious institution, because I am not inventing my own beliefs, I am following in others' footsteps and I belong to a larger community. And of course the idealist in me wants to prove to those that have been burned that I am a Christian, I have a face and feelings and doubts and failures, actually care about them personally, and I will try my very best to never let them down or hurt them.

How do you find yourself being labeled? How are the classes coming?

Emergingjourney said...

Would you support a congressman that is a liar? A person who cheated on their spouse? I guess more than anything I have not gotten to the point of loving people, at least not in that Christ like way, I want to, humm, it reminds me of a part of a poem “I want to be like david, a man after gods heart, I am not there yet, but I am past the start”. Sometimes people can hide behind hating the “sin” when the person is really what is making them uncomfortable. Do I like the sin, no, but I think that I should be a friend, and still love the person, not condemning them, that is gods job, and he is probably working it. This is walking a fine line between watching out for the brother, and giving unwanted advice, but I feel that we should be watching out for our “brothers” as in the people that we are in close personal fellowship with. If I had that kind of relationship with someone, than I could broach the subject, but to start out with saying, well, I hate this part of you, you will never become a friend or a brother to that person, you will just become someone who hates part of them, than why should they listen to anything you have to say? Just thought. Patty, I am glad that you have read some of this stuff, and thank you for your questions and comments, they are really great.


Patty said...

Wow. I don't think I've ever thought about things so hard or written such long answers before. My beliefs are firmly set, but that doesn't mean that I can't think about everything you write about. I have to laugh everytime I read what you've written, because I know I'm going to have to really think about how to respond. You make one think really deeply about their own lives, I really love that you question and challenge someone like this.

If I knew that a congressman had a habit of lying or had cheated on their spouse, no, I would not support them(knowingly).

I have many sins and I do not like those sins, so, by my own previous comment, I would have to apply that to my own sins, wouldn't I? I would have to say that I hate those sins in my life. Saying that doesn't make me feel very good(the hate part). I don't actually ever tell my sister that I hate her sin. I say things like, "Why did you lie to me?" and "You're going to try not to lie anymore, aren't you?"

If I had a homosexual friend, I would never say to them that I hate how they are living, I would say(after I'd known them for a while) that I don't agree with that, and yes, I might lose them as a friend, but, I am not just about to sit around getting comfortable with their sins. Then they may think that I am okay with their sinning, which, I would not be. No Christian should get to a point where they are not affected by sin. I could do my best to be a friend, love them, but I know my goal would be to get them to see that what they are doing is wrong and for them to change. But on the otherhand, they may never change and then what am I suppose to do, I don't know. I guess continue to love them and try my best to be a friend. This is a very hard subject. What would Jesus do? Wouldn't He try to get them to see that what they are doing is a sin? But still love them.

Okay, I just talked to my mom about all this. She gave a very good example. She knows a Muslim lady where she works at the hospital. She's known her for a long time. Recently she gave this lady a tract. As she gave it to the lady my mom said, "This tells you how much God loves you." And later my mom saw her reading it.

I was talking to my dad the other day about some of the previous posts and why homosexuality is considered as a bigger sin than lying when every sin is the same in God's eyes. Even I wasn't sure. I know both are sins, but why do I consider one worse than the other? My only answer for now is that to be a homosexual, you are sinning every day, thinking these wrong thoughts every day, it consumes that person, they are doing it continually on purpose. Lying might be every day and if someone lied as much as thought homosexual thoughts, then I believe the two sins can be considered equal. But, I, myself do not lie very often, I cannot remember the last time I did. Yes, of course, I've lied, I just haven't in a long time. If the only sin I ever committed was lying a few times in my life and you compared me the same to a constant homosexual, I would be offended. Everyone is a sinner and the same in that respect.

I asked my dad, "Why can an alcoholic be a Christian and not a homosexual?" That was a comment that I read on a post you made a while back and it confused even me. A normal person who becomes a Christian and then falls into the sin that is homosexuality, yes, they are a Christian and a homosexual. Every Christian can fall into sin. But, if a person who is already a homosexual becomes a Christian and still lives the lifestyle of a homosexual and wants to live that way, you would have to really consider whether they were a true Christian. I don't know an exact answer to this.

Sorry for all this writing. Mabey one day you could ask a simple question like, "How cold is it in Texas?" Then I would only have to write one or two sentences. :) But then, I don't think we would have gotten to know each other's thoughts this well, would we?