The other night I confessed to God something that He already knew – that “I am tired of being a Christian.”
(Thank you Justin Wise and Mandy Steward for your writings that have inspired me beyond my wildest hope)
To be very clear, I am not tired of loving, honoring and worshiping Jesus Christ as my Lord (and I was sure to tell Him that!!!). But I am tired of living in this subculture we’ve made, perpetuated, and called Christianity. I sensed Him soothing my discontented spirit by saying “It’s just a name. It’s just a label. And I will give you new name.” (More on this later).
(Insert a long overdue EXHALE…..)
In her blog Mandy wrote “The Christian title is one worn with great pride and at great cost. It is protected by many. It is even, especially where I live, culturally relevant, accepted, assumed. When the masses are carrying the current a certain direction it’s pretty hard to feel like the right thing for you to do is to swim against the flow of status quo. I am, oddly enough, not tired of Christ. I am in awe of the story of a rebel with a cause. A great cause. A cause that refused to be muddled up by the preconceptions of what it “should” be. And I am in great conversation with a God who seems to know my name and my heart far greater than I have ever given Him credit for. I am in shock that my religion has kept me so far from Him. And even more in shock that I was absolutely sure for years that I knew Him because I knew the rules of my religion.”
Things will get messy when we begin an authentic pursuit of God and the God given desires of your heart.
God has created you and me uniquely. Buried deep with this matchless creation is our God given purpose. But our Christian subculture often runs counter to this truth. Mandy inspired me to begin to consider that these desires planted in my heart can take precedence over guilt-driven actions of serving at a soup kitchen, going to church, being a part of a small group, or reading my Bible. The years of ignoring those desires actually drove me further away from God and into a life of empty service.
EMPTY. DRY. LIFELESS. Anyone else?
Mandy wrote “I started believing I was really hearing from God and that He was telling me something different and unique. I started to get confused with what to do with the preaching at church. I started to feel guilty that I would rather be hearing from God on my own than hearing from Him through the words of a sermon series at church. I started looking around at the people filling the church building and wondering if they were feeling as empty as me. If they were sitting there because they were lumped in under the title of Christian and that meant their butt had to be in a seat. I started feeling like God was calling me to Himself instead of calling me to protect and reverence a label, and it felt naughty and scandalous and oh so relieving.”
For me, this is HUGE! And here are my discontentions too:
- I’m tired of being a Christian if being a Christian means I have to be issued my marching orders from others who do not know me or know my heart.
- I’m tired of being a Christian if being a Christian means I have to preface any and all of my actions with an explanation. I drink, but I don’t get drunk. I am writing in the mornings, but it doesn’t mean I’m not getting my prayer time and Bible time in with God at some other point in my day. I’m so tired of explanations, many of which I don’t even believe in.
- I’m tired of being a Christian if being a Christian means I have to apologize for being me.
- I’m tired of being a Christian if being a Christian means I have to tie everything up in a nice neat little bow.
- I’m tired of being a Christian if that means you can’t cuss in a blog post or Facebook status without getting persecuted. Sometimes things are cuss-worthy. It’s that simple. I know some people who have a clean mouth but a dead and blackened heart inside. Likewise, some of the most foul-mouthed people in my life have a deep and abiding love for Christ. (And yes, I realize Jesus said “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” I get it.)
- I’m tired of being a Christian if that means I have to be obsessed with a person’s sexuality. Give it a rest already. We know the verses. They’ve quoted them at length. We get it. If it’s one thing that following Jesus has taught me, it’s that pet issues change when you have a face to put on it.
- “Most importantly, I’m tired of God’s goodness being co-opted by people who know nothing of it. God is good. So good. The God that some claim as Lord and Savior … I hardly recognize him. I don’t know how we can both claim to follow Jesus of Nazareth. This is a God who loved sinners; washed feet; ate with whores and prostitutes; befriended cheats; forgave his murderers. This is something mysterious and great and horrible. This is paradox, not certainty. I’m tired of being a Christian if that means I have to “get it”.
Justin wrote: “Do yourself a favor, if you are a Christian, stop being “one” because someone told you had to be and start having a conversation with God to find out who He says you really are. How are you defining that word Christian and are you okay with being that definition? If yes, great, but if there is even the smallest inkling in you that you aren’t, stop posing. There are far more exciting conversations and lifestyles on this faith walk to be had on the beaches of God’s grace and truth and love.”
Tomorrow – so, now what?….