Sunday, September 9, 2012

Is There a New Word for Christian?

Do you ever wish we had a new word for "Christian?" 
 I bet there are a lot of people out there who would be Christians 
if they didn’t have to become a "Christian" to be one. 
-- John Fischer

To me, John Fischer is a guy who "gets it." A man of faith whose faith deals with the real stuff of life, not the stuff of political activists or irrelevant evangelists or poor communicators with big plans and no skills at getting them across. He's a guy who is able to say the important things about why people dislike so much people who believe what I believe. 

And he's right most every time, I've come to believe.

People don't like us because by and large...

We're fake.
We're hypocritical.
We're judgmental.
We're known more by what we stand against than what we stand for.
We're loud and opinionated.
We dress funny. (Well, at least on those horrible TV networks.)
We fit in the real world like a black and white TV with rabbit ears fits with a new BluRay player.
We throw around language that doesn't mean anything to people.
We think we're better than others.
We think we're right. All the time.
We're unfriendly.
We're a clique.
We play at being pious.
We don't feel comfortable associating with non-religous people.
We ask people to change who they are before we'll accept them.
We want converts, not friends.
We are terribly condescending.
We like ideals better than people.
We focus on rules more than living.
We can't even get along among ourselves.
And most of the time we end up disproving what we say we believe more than proving it.

It's a painful list to make. And I could go on.

But like John says in his article, I've seen the soft underbelly of my faith that doesn't get shown on the news. I've seen the man with AIDS who shook my hand and hugged me and said thank you. And I asked him, "For what?" because it didn't seem right for a man to have to thank me for being human to him. I've seen more "Mother Teresa's" at work in storefront centers, helping kids graduate high school and helping people learn job skills to get a better job than fast food. I've seen people I know give their last few dollars of their monthly budget just because someone had a need.

A Christian I know once asked me if I blog so I can "share my faith" with people. That's a tough question to answer for me.

First, because I can't get away from "sharing my faith" with anyone I know. My faith is part of what makes me, well, me. It comes with the package, so to speak, and I'm not going to apologize for it being there. So, I guess, simply by the nature of "being" I'm "sharing my faith" -- at least in one sense.

Second, it really gets down to what people mean when they say, "sharing my faith." If by it they mean, did I join to make a bunch of converts to my way of thinking, then the answer is no. Plain and simple.

I started blogging because I like getting to know people. All people. Particularly people who don't believe the same as me. My life would be really boring with just me-clones around. And to be honest, I don't like most Christians I know either. For all the same reasons many other people don't.

Would I like for my friends to believe what I do? Sure. I'd be lying if I said I wouldn't. Is any friendship contingent on it? Of course not. Never will be. I consider it an honor that many of the people I've met continue to give me the time of day once they learn that I'm "one of those religious types." I'm fortunate to be given the opportunity to be a friend in spite of the baggage my worldview brings with it.

In fact, I received today what I consider one of the highest compliments I've ever received, bar none. An friend said I was the "nicest Christian I know." (Okay, she added some other stuff about my fascination with fishnets, but that's for the another essay.)

And the worst part... I start to get pretty proud of myself when I mention things like that.

Which just goes to show how much I still don't get it myself, after all. 


To read more of John's work, visit The Catch.

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