09 October 2008

Renouncing the Gray

Well it's that time of year again. For some reason, when the leaves start falling and the temperature drops, I get creative and I start to think about things. Lately I've been downright philosophical. I've been thinking a lot about Christianity and what it is about being a Christian that I despise. See, a lot of times, I am ashamed to call myself a Christian. I've been feeling very guilty about this lately, but I think I've figured out where it's coming from, and it came as a bit of a shock to me.

I am not ashamed of Christ. While I may have doubts and questions about how or why, my belief in who is firm. It's the example set by people that call themselves Christians today that gives me this feeling of repulsion. To figure out why this was making me feel this way, I had to think awhile, and this is what I came up with.

I have been to many churches in Lincoln, and never have I felt welcomed by any of the regulars. No one has ever come up to me and shaken my hand or even offered me a smile. Inside the church there is this bubble and anyone new is a threat to disturb the fragile edges that define the boundaries. Anything new or any change is scary, and people don't like to deal with fear.

Maybe this fear of things changing is where judgment comes in. I want to love others. Matthew 22:37-39 (NIV) says .."Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself." People definitely love themselves. I am not exempt by far, but this is something that I've noticed. We are supposed to deny our selves in our service of God so that He can do impossible and amazing things through us. But instead, we crave security and pleasure. We want what we want, and if we want God in this way, then we are trying to make Him work for us.

If we made love the cornerstone of Christianity, then acceptance would be mandatory. I'm not saying that we should say "anything goes" and that sin doesn't matter. It does, but I think that by living our lives boldly in the example of Christ is how we show others what is right or wrong. If we show people the love of Christ...that is what will draw them in. Having strong stigmas and telling someone outright that their lifestyle is wrong will only push them away. But in doing this, we are reinforcing the edges of the bubble, making it stronger. Making it safer inside and more comfortable, and making it impossible for those who are searching to get in.

I am ashamed to be called a Christian, and I've heard that some are calling themselves Christ followers now. I am sick of titles. I love Christ, and I am searching for him. I make mistakes and there is a lot I don't know, but I am honest in my attempt. And I can't deny that God is active in my life. But as far as being a Christian, count me out.