UPDATE: This post has gotten a lot of attention lately, primarily by people who want to say that I’m “bashing” the word “Christian”. Before you read it, please understand that I was not trying to bash anyone, or the beliefs they hold dear. I don’t want to spoil the plot, but I will say that my point in this post was to open our eyes to the way we Christians are seen by the world, and to prayerfully consider if these things are a result of actual righteousness and Christlikeness, or if they are simply cultural. If it is the former, then we should continue to stand with Christ, and not be surprised when the world hates us, because it hated him first. But if it is the latter, I truly believe we should reconsider the ways our sub-culture has driven some from the church, instead of drawing them in. Secondly, I want to point out that I do not claim to know whether Jesus would go to a frat party or a gay bookstore, or whether he would drink a beer. I simply state that “I would not be surprised,” because, from what I know of Jesus, he made a sincere effort to socialize and associate with “sinners”. Also, there is at least a decent chance (and nothing in scripture to refute) that he, being a first century Jew, drank fermented wine, however sparingly. Finally, I must say that I do regret having offended some people with my harsh language. Since the time this was written I have attempted to speak and write much more clearly and graciously. Please consider all these things as you read the following post.
I’m through being a Christian.
Christian: (n) An adherent to the western religious paradigm known as Christianity, identified by numerous cultural indicators, including: mandatory attendance at weekly religious performances, neat and tidy appearance, chipper attitude, straight-ticket Republican loyalty, big house less than 25 years old in an excellent school district, well-dressed and well-behaved children, homogenous circle of friends, SUV or minivan ownership, abstention from alcohol, tobacco and crude speech, upwardly mobile, and others of the like. Common usage: “I can’t let my family find out that my boyfriend got me pregnant; they’re Christians.” “I don’t want to work Sundays anymore; Christians are the worst tippers.” “Christians think that they can start a war, and God is always on their side.” (Source: The Non-Christian Worldview Dictionary.)
Sunday after Sunday we ask ourselves the same questions: “Why aren’t more non-Christians coming to church?” and “Why aren’t more people getting saved?”
Because we’ve asked them to become Christians, and they have no desire to be brainwashed into fitting the above profile. This is Christianity to them: a cultural force, a system of religious trappings, a shame state. Have we given them reason to believe otherwise?
I was a Christian once, but now I’m done. Although I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with being neat and tidy, owning a new home, voting Republican, or anything else on that list (a couple of them describe me pretty well,) I have decided that I have no more interest in pleasing those who expect all these things of me. And I have even less interest in becoming known as a bad tipper, judgmental jerk, or nationalist warmonger.
By that token, I believe Jesus would be a terrible Christian. I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if he chose never to show up in church on Sunday, or had a beer at a frat party, or frequented a gay bookstore. And you know what the Christians would say? “This man doesn’t honor the Sabbath” or “This man hangs out with sinners.” Reminds me of something…
We have demanded that Jesus follow our cultural designs, while he is urging us to follow Him. He IS the counter-culture that simultaneously trumps the world, and causes us to be scorned by it. He and his true followers are rebels in every generation—they never fit in, they never settle down. They are always losing their lives to gain them, and coming in last to be first. They are CEOs sorting mail and Lieutenants on latrine duty. They are not worried about what they drive, how they look, or who they’re seen with. They do not congregate to exercise power in numbers, but to be known by their love for one another.
They are Christ-followers, and I want to be one of them.