I know I said I would post more on the relationship thing when I got my thoughts together, but unfortunately that hasn't happened quite as of yet, however, I did come across some comments on a video I posted to facebook recently. The video is irrelevant to this topic, however, because it isn't just this video that has procured the type of response that was presented in the comments. No it was how the "Christians" were presenting themselves that makes me want to say sometimes, "I hate being a Christian." And right now, I just need to rant a little.
Why is it, that the people who follow a God who wants to bring people to himself, feel the need to bash people with our truths and actually turn people away? It boggles my mind how unloving we can be toward others. No wonder everyone hates us!
The issue being discussed in the comments was gay marriage. To be honest, I'm not 100% sure where I stand with it, but I am looking through it and working out that part of my faith; both sides of the argument feel a little weak and blanketed in Scripture (yes, both have Scriptures to support their view). Regardless, I don't think it is right to just start spouting Bible verses at people and expect them to accept it with grace, much less to change their ways. When has that ever worked?
In a society who puts so much emphasis on intellectual and critical thinking, the Christian institution is years behind. Our churches keep trying to bring about this emotional response, but emotions are fleeting and I, for one, don't put much stock in decisions I make when I'm emotional. I try to think about the decision after I have calmed down enough to think clearly.
Still, I see a lot of people get incredibly aggressive when trying to "defend the faith". I've seen people get into screaming matches over predestination and free will. In the end, does it really matter?
In the narrative of Jesus' life we find that the religious leaders of the time went to Christ with a lot of controversial issues trying to trip him up. More times than not he would end up turning the discussion a completely different direction. I think he did that, because he knew that there was something more important and deeper to consider with each issue than just the topic on hand. I wonder if he sometimes sighs in exasperation at our simple thinking.
"I gave you critical thinking! Why are you oversimplifying this again?"
I don't think he's necessarily frustrated with us, but I think he wants to knock some sense into us sometimes.
An additional thought: I spent a lot of time at a "Christian School" and "Bible College" and let me just say that know-it-all Christians tend to cause more harm than good. I can list at least five examples where an individual did something that led to a lot of harm, and all in the name of "God". To fellow believers! While unacceptable, one might understand why there might be a schism between Christians and non-Christians. But when there is a schism between the people within the organization, trouble ensue.
I don't think we are supposed to all agree on everything. Fact is, we're probably all wrong about something in one way or another. This is why I try to stay open to how others "interpret Scripture" and why I try to truly -listen- when people are sharing how they feel about anything. I want to know and then work through it myself and decide whether or not I feel like it lines up with the God I know in such a limited way.
We need to wake up to what we are doing; people have been telling us for years. We need to get our heads out of the sand, and leave our little Christian bubble and observe, and listen, and discuss, and love.
People didn't listen to Jesus because he was some phenomenal speaker, or because he had great wisdom. No, I think people listened to Jesus initially because he showed them how much he -cared- for them. Ultimately, they benefited from his wisdom, and they were able to learn a great deal about God through him.
But, as cliche as it is, it rings true:
"People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care."
No one cares what you believe, until they see that you care about them as an individual.
And, I am probably oversimplifying things again, I do that often. So, if you have any questions, as usual, you can always post them in the comments or talk with me directly. I'd be more than happy to flesh these thoughts out with you.