Let's be honest - Christians are a bit weird. I've grown up in church, been to Christian schools, worked in different ministries and have had an extreme over-exposure to the Christian lifestyle in general. I'm actually kind of over it. Not over Jesus - He is a totally rocking guy who had some amazing ideas and messages to share with the world. What I am over is Christianese, over people making the gospel and its message into something all about them, their needs, thoughts, etc etc. So I thought, tonight being Christmas, I'd share some of the stuff I find... well... a little bit weird.
can't we just call it friendship? Sure, there is a spiritual side to
the friendship we have with one another, but then if that's how we view
it, we can turn something like a friendship into something which allows
others to speak into our spiritual lives, and quite frankly, this isn't
always the best idea. It can be hard to draw the line from what is
Biblical and what is just your personal opinion. It also becomes
difficult when people wish (or attempt) to mentor you when this was
never God's intention. I've seen people leave the church over this - it
is pretty serious. I think we need to be more definite in what people's
place is in our spiritual lives.
always feel weird being a single Christian girl, and sometimes being a
taken Christian girl is even weirder. if you're not taken, people assume
it's because you've taken some great call to be single (not likely
kids), and if you are then the questions are: when will you get
engaged/married/pregnant? It would be terrible to do such a thing in the
wrong order! As someone who grew up in the Joshua Harris generation
(aka: blinded to reality) - I am yet to blink when someone announces
their engagement after 4 months of "courting" but part of me thinks I
should be concerned... yet I'm not, despite my own experience in this
area. Of course we are not to judge (after all, this is why I'm writing
the top ten list), but why is this so accepted?!
problem with lots of literature out there is that sex is built up to be
some great pinnacle of a relationship. Yes, it is a sacred act, there
is no denying that. On the other hand, making rules, boundaries and
promises can often lead to heartache, discouragement and disappointment.
These things are important in all relationships, including sexual ones.
However, people don't suddenly become sexual creatures when they get
married. I don't want to get blurry on this one - make your own choices,
and don't follow what some book says. Study the scriptures for
yourself. Song of Solomon does make for juicy reading after all.
4. church stuff
only really just started to like church again in the last month or so -
it has taken me a really long time to soften my heart towards church
life in general.)ANYWAY. Church is good.Christian friendships are good.
Being told you need to commit to 20 gazillion church things is not. If I
had it my way I'd be at church more that what I currently can be. The
problem is that often we are committing to and pouring into church stuff
that is really just 'stuff' with a God-label on it. Many of things I
like to do (like Bible Studies and youth groups and church council
meetings) are useful and good for building others up. On the other hand,
going to every service, attending a number of homegroups, mid-week
meetings at Maccas about a ministry group, helping with post-church
coffee and being part of some bogus committee all in the same week is
going to lead to burn out. That's dangerous for your health and your
5. worship events
the world that we are different from them. Then we give musos flashy
lights, pretty clothes and create a mosh pit. Then we tell youth that
they should be doing this for God's glory, not just dancing for the sake
of it. HELLO! This is only thing kids know. They often don't define it
as worship - it is music. Worship comes from the heart and to do it we
must have some kind of understanding behind it. A good Christian song is
still a song until we apply some of our faith and knowledge to it.
not dissing my musically talented friends - many of them have the right
heart attitude about this stuff. We need to look at how worship is
being presented and then do something about it to help kids learn, grow
and understand it.
6. repeating stuff the preacher dude (or dudette) tells us to
cannot stand this crap! honestly! does it make you remember stuff?
Maybe. It does make the preacher sound more like a motivational speaker
or rock star than they would care to be. I know this is some kind of
style people are used to. I've heard it done authentically. But i've
mostly heard it done in some lame ways. "I can't hear you.." Oh, come
on. People will take out of a sermon what they want to and what they're
7. corny youth group games
year I have played a lot of corny youth group games. I've been part of
many bad ones. I've ran many bad ones. some good ones too. if you grew
up in a youth group you'll know exactly what I'm on about. Now,
personally I hate to be humilated and looked at. I don't really like
touching people either. I don't do competition nicely. People like me
hate corny youth group games. Let's abolish them, or at least, start
looking at why we do these things.
8. a shared meal
meals scare the living daylights out of me. There's always a surprise
(usually tuna), there's bad cooking (think Mrs Cropley) and there's
always the Tim Tam packet that runs out. However, shared meals are
accepted. I've been to shared meal post-services, pre-services,
weddings, funerals and youth group events. I always leave not really
knowing what I have eaten. This was especially bad at a Bible-times
based progressive dinner after which I was hideously sick all the next
day, and felt so poorly I left the house for a night at Simon's in a
Winnie-the-Pooh jumper. This is why I don't like shared meals.
9. the handshake bit.
used to love doing the handshake bit at the Bapos here in MG. I knew
and loved so many people I never got time to give them all cuddles.
However, since then I have grown to hate this part of the service. The
Passing of the Peace - much nicer and less hugs. The greeting of others
with a holy kiss - blurgh. I have been exposed to that rubbish many
times. I really really hate that.
10. the Christian bubble
is where I leave you tonight my friends - the final thought of the
Christian bubble. I have lived in this Bubble for short lived periods of
my life. It is a terrible place to be, and here's why - because you so
rarely get the opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ with
others, and if the opportunity arises, too often we see the flaws (or
sins) in a person's life (gay people. single mums. new christians.
people who use drugs and alcohol. other religions. single dads. people
who can't come to church. people who are scared of church. people who
are severly hurt by the church). We see these flaws and address them
first (law) before introducing them to a gospel message (grace). Now,
despite what some preachers may believe (shall we say, a little group in
Rundle Mall), the grace of God, brought proudly to us by Jesus Christ
is the message we need to deliever first. It is all very well to say
"look, here are your issues you need to get right before you meet
Jesus," but that is a LIE. People know that deep down they are unhappy
with aspects of their lives. They are looking for something more. Let's
not condemn them before they even meet Jesus.
honest. If you have an issue in your life that is there before you
become a Christian, it will often be there afterwards. Circumstances can
change dramatically with God, and I have seen and heard amazing things
God has done in people's lives - literally right away. However, if
you're gay, or if you're living with your partner, or if you are
addicted to a substance, those things are going to take time to work
through. Let's get honest with ourselves and God. We can be like them,
but not like them. Maybe instead of having all these nice Christian
"things to do", we create at atmosphere for everyone most of the time -
believers and non-believers alike. Am I being idealistic? Perhaps. I
mean after suffering through the biggest Christian bubble ever, I can
see how hard it is for outsiders to be included in anything, let alone
everything. But it sure is possible. We're not an exclusive club. Jesus
made sure of that.
My message is clear - the Christian
life is whacky. What I find weird you probably won't. Maybe I've
offended or upset people. Maybe you disagree with me. Maybe you don't. I
just wanted to put it out there for those who have found it all a bit
tough and don't know what to make of this crazy Christian lifestyle. I
still don't and I've been in it hardcore for ten years. I've been more
hurt by Christian people than the world. That's not right, but it isn't
an excuse to give up on someone I wholy believe in.