Friday, September 22, 2006

why should i stay a christian?

i was sitting with a teen about a week ago when this question came up, he asked "why should i stay a christian?" now, for many in the church this question is impossible to answer because all they want to do is say "because your saved" as if he was running bases in a ballgame and being "safe" was the end result; or because "you will not going to hell" thinking for some reason that not being punished will be a valid answer for seeking God. but for me, this question truly spoke volumes, because i have asked myself that very question before, many times. to be honest, i would say that i ask myself that question on a regular basis. i think all people who claim to be a follower need to ask themselves that very question - why? 

the question is not a "what should i call myself" question; it is a "why should i believe" question and it holds a great deal of insight and weight that the current church must deal with, even if it does not like dealing with the issues. in my walk i have asked this question in conjunction with other elements - for example, "why should i stay a christian, when i do not feel others who claim to be christian truly love me, for me?" or "why should i stay a christian, when i am not made to feel welcomed?" or "why should i stay a christian, when everyone seems so judgmental and mean spirited about others?" or "why should i stay a christian when all "christians" do is gossip and speak ill of others and claim it is done in love?" or "why should i stay a christian, when i ask questions they are discounted as "silly" or "heretical?" now, most evangelicals i know discount these questions with what i believe to be a very cheap response, "we are all sinful humans living in a fallen world." but, i believe, like most evangelical theology the response to such a question is cheap and easy. in asking those questions i am not looking for the "corporate line" as an answer. what i am looking for is a people willing to ask themselves, "why is the question being asked?" you see, many christians will read this and see the question as a problem, but they will never wonder why such a question would even be asked. for them, the problem is with the person asking the question and not with the faith; for many the question must have an answer. but sometimes the question is simply there to cause one to think of why people do as people do.

for me, many people in churches treat people like crap because they believe that 'once saved always saved' is a building block of the faith?" [the term "eternal security" is a doctrine whose view is commonly held by many believers is generally applied to the belief that all who have ever believed will enter heaven regardless of their walk.]. think about that, if one accept jesus and walk away one is still saved, because they accepted jesus; they can not lose their salvation no matter how poorly they treat another. this, to me, seems like a very cheap form of salvation and calls no one into accountability. after all, i can accept jesus as my savior and still treat people like crap and lose nothing because "once saved, always saved." it seems to me to make salvation a cheap prize to hold; or that our faith is just not worth walking. because, if being saved means i get to spend eternity with bitter, gossiping old ladies who can speak hatred and pretend it is love, then i want nothing to do with it; to me that would not be heaven, that would be hell. in my mind, if i have to spend eternity with people who are so hurtful, so spiteful, so demanding, so judgmental, so hateful then i am not sure i want to be in that number. think of it this way, why would i want to spend eternity with people who don't want to be with me for one hour a week? if i can not see a changed heart, a heart that is very different from the world around me, from those who claim to follow christ then i am not sure i want to be in the club. because from where i sit there is very little difference between being a rotarian and being a christian; expect maybe that other rotarians demand more of you then other christians would ever dream of demanding.

why should i stay a "christian" when most people who claim to be christian do not "love" others? sure, the lip service is there and people talk a good game, but in the reality of love, many "christians" do not love. let's be honest, i could care less how much you tell me you love me if your actions are not speaking in love. when i visit some churches i am ignored, why? because i am new and people do not know me? that is a bad reason, should we just get to know the new people? could it be because i do not look the same as others in that church? could it be that i am not the same skin tone? could it be that i am not the same ethnic background as others in that church? could it be a million reasons, all of them trumping the call for us to love others. over my life i have been rejected more because of the way i look then anything else. when i was overweight i was shunned because i was fat; when i got my ears pierced i was shunned because i had earrings; when i shaved my head i was shunned because i did not "look" like a pastor; when i got my first "noticeable" tattoo i was shunned because i placed ink-art on my body. the church is very good at shunning people and very bad at loving them. let me place proof to the statement that many churches do not see love as a core doctrine of the church, look at any churches "what we believe" [or doctrine page] page on the net and you will find one fact left out - "we believe in love" is not to be found on most [99.99%] churches. they will tell you to love, but it is not in the doctrine of the church.

why should i stay a christian, if being one is no different then the world around me? if claiming christ as my savior is a "end" results game and not a lifestyle change? if being a christian means i am just like everyone else except i get to claim a prize at the end, what value is that faith in my life and in the lives of the people i connect with? think about that, why are you still a christian?


Jonathan E. Brickman said...

When my wife and myself were keeping a young adult Sunday school, we heard many questions of the kind. And the answer we gave, and the answer I will still give, is simple: "If you are truly touched by God, He has put into your soul the motivation to be truly Christian - and any other reason to "be Christian" is nothing, meaningless, pointless words of people. Since this question is in your mind, I suggest that you ask it of God, not of me; if you ask it honestly, He will give you a far better answer than I possibly can, and when He does so, believe me, you will very badly want to be Christian, but in a different sense than you have available right now."

revrin rick said...

yo punk monkey and all (my previous comment crashed so if it shows up again, that's why):
i'm not sure being a christian is any help at all. the tribe is so bloated and worldly and modern that i don't tell people i'm part of that tribe anymore. i tell them i follow jesus, and that it's way harder than being a christian ever was, because it's about love, and that's a bitch and it's beautiful.

Mark said...

For many years I felt the same way about people in the church. I despised a lot of my fellow Christians for the reasons you mentioned. They were (and still are) judgmental, hypocritical and lacking in love.

And then I realized I was doing exactly the same thing. I was judging them just as much as they were judging me. We simply had different criteria.

Now I try not to judge the hearts of others. That is not my place. I only have to look at my own black heart to know I need Jesus.

You will never find answers by looking to other Christians, only by looking to Christ.