In reading Kiersten White’s post yesterday about her faith, I felt so much gratitude toward her. She has such an elegant way of saying so many things I have trouble communicating.
But now that she’s opened the floodgates, as it were, I’ve decided to put myself out there as well. I hope you’ll enjoy learning more about me and my belief system, no matter where you stand on religion and faith.
Of course, you may not enjoy it at all. Because my faith is an offensive one.
Allow me to explain.
You see, I’m a Christian. A follower of Christ. A “believer,” if you will (not to be confused with “belieber,” which is OH so different). But I rarely mention this aspect of my life online.
Because the public perception of Christians tends to be that we are judgmental toward everyone who does not believe what we believe.
That we (especially in the South) spend all of our energy condemning alcohol and dancing, a la the movie Footloose starring a young Kevin Bacon.
And, most recently, that we make wild predictions about the end of the world just to make a buck and gain a following. (I’m looking at you, Harold Camping.)
Misunderstood because of a few extremists? Yes, I believe that would describe Christianity perfectly.
But I think the main point here is this: I’m not comfortable talking about my faith online because I assume I’ll be ridiculed for it. While it hasn’t happened in a blunt way, it’s happened passive-aggressively. People make snarky comments about Christians on Facebook or Twitter. People refer to us as “those idiots.” (Yes, it really happened. On Twitter, natch.)
Yet, as Kiersten pointed out on her blog, other faiths seem to be respected, even revered. Sure, Islam takes a hit because of their own extremists, but I still feel that the media drags their feet indefinitely when it comes to defending Christianity.
When my husband and I were in college, he worked at the Student Center. The Christmas holidays rolled around, and he was put in charge of decorating the lobby. Signs for Happy Hanukkah and Happy Kwanzaa went up, but there was no “Merry Christmas” sign. When my husband asked about it, he was told they were not allowed to say Merry Christmas because it was “offensive.”
I guess what I’m trying to say here, in an oh-so-clumsy way, is that it makes me sad. Please understand that I know none of you would ever do this kind of thing; but sometimes, I feel abused because of what I believe.
It’s not okay to belittle anyone, but belittling a Christian seems tolerated – even, at times, encouraged. Why? We’re people, just like everybody else. We try to live according to a certain moral compass, not because it gets us into Heaven, but because the love of Christ compels us to do so.
Do we fail? Do we make mistakes? Absolutely. But we (and I’m talking about true Christians here, not those who masquerade as Christians) also do our best to help others in need. We plead for justice. We offer a refuge for those who are displaced. We believe in something greater than ourselves. We look at the planet, the people around us, the human brain, the unborn baby, and we say, “Surely this could not have happened by accident.” We fight for the sacred life of that unborn baby. We feed the hungry. We hurt when others hurt. We rejoice when others rejoice.
A true Christian is *not* an idiot.
I know what I believe, and I know why I believe it. This is not something I follow blindly. I’ve got my reasons for believing the way I do. And I know why I don’t believe in other faiths, although I respect all people, regardless of their worldview.
I have never talked down to someone else because of their belief system or lack thereof. And, just like Kiersten said, I’d be so happy if everyone would do the same for me.
If you have a question for me regarding this post, I’d love for you to email me via the contact page. I won’t preach to you. I won’t push anything on you. I love to be challenged, so ask away – but please do it privately.
If there’s some disclaimer here that I forgot to make, please don’t assume I meant to offend anyone. I didn’t. I merely meant to point out one of many double standards I see in the world. And if you’ve hated everything about this post, well, don’t worry – I’ll be back to my old shenanigans tomorrow.