For years I have fought the stigma that I’m not a very good Christian. I have to admit, that I may be oversensitive to criticism in general, but especially to this idea of inferior spirituality.
There are the blatant examples that come to mind, which make me chuckle. After taking my family to visit a new church (Reformed) in Marquette, Michigan, we went out to the Ponderosa Steak House afterwards. A group (woman and two male friends) whom I just briefly shook hands with at that church came in and sat next to my end of the table. We smiled at each other. I was minding my own business and eating. Then one of the men tapped me on the shoulder. He said that he had a special gift of discernment and God was telling him that I don’t “really know the Lord very well and I don’t have the spirit.”
I almost choked on a tough piece of steak. Denise and the family were oblivious to what was happening on my end of the table. I was shaken and said to them, they were wrong. Then, as I tried to eat again, the lady spoke and said, “We are going to pray for you right now because we can look at you and see that the devil is in you.” They laid hands on me and prayed loudly for God to “enter his hardened heart.”
But most of the time is is less bold. For example, a strong evangelical family (well-known among Christians in our town) made the comment that they heard that I wasn’t even “in church” any more. This was after I had very, very good reasons for leaving a dysfunctional church and started to attend, almost every Sunday, another church. I am an elder now and have heard comments now and then that I’m not a very good one.
But I want to come out of the closet and confess, I am not a good Christian. I don’t fit within the Christian society very well. I think on my death bed I will have many regrets of all the time I have wasted inside the walls of a church.
So here are some of the reasons that I should not be considered a very good Christian:
- I really don’t like attending church. I feel it is superficial. Christians trying to impress one another. Even with great preachers, and I think we have one where I attend now, once you have heard 10,000 sermons, it is hard to listen to more. Just like I would be bored to be listening to my 10,000th lecture on grasshoppers.
- I love truth. I am not a big fan of social mores, for the sake of social mores. I don’t believe things just because I supposed to.
- I love to be around lesbians. I have several friends who are. The reason is, I love the nature of women in general and being around lesbians gives me great freedom to be their friend without being misunderstood. I find them (I now that I can’t stereotype them) to be very funny.
- I adore Muslims. I love their culture and their people. I have no temptation to be a Muslim. It is not a theological love but a cultural love.
- I don’t like guns.
- I think all war is pretty stupid.
- I don’t like social lying. Lying is very important to being a good Christian, it is part of the game to make yourself to look far better than you really are.
- I don’t like Christian music, none of it. Maybe if you consider some of the old classical music (think Bach), I do love that.
- I love thinking. I love reading things that oppose what I believe. From example, on the political front, I can’t stand Donald Trump . . . to the point, I am tempted to hate him. However, I am drawn to Fox News and other pro-Trump places like bugs to a porch light. I think the reason is, a insatiable curiosity as to how can people think those things. I want them to persuade me that there are good reasons for liking the man. So far it hasn’t worked.
- I don’t read the Bible much anymore. Even though I haven’t read it much in the past ten years, I can still guarantee that I have studied it more in my life than about anyone I know. I mean for decades I studying for hours every day. I attempted the memorize the New Testament in college and memory work is very hard for me. I’m not against studying the Bible, but I’m in a season of my life when I have so many other things to read . . . plus, the Bible is always playing in the background of my mind from all those years of constant study.
- I don’t find science scary, but beautiful. When I read stories about Hubble’s findings in deep space, I feel humbled in God’s presence, not tempted to be an atheist. I had been taught for years as a young man that if you go around science too much the boogeyman will get you.
I could go on and on and I may come back and add more but I need to go to work.