Some Christians really embarrass me.
I mean, really embarrass me.
They call Hollywood “HELL-ywood” and refuse to believe there’s anything redemptive about art that doesn’t somehow include an altar call. They insist that voting any way other than far-right Republican is as good as renouncing the Holy Spirit. They practically compete with each other to see who can be the most over-spiritual about the most mundane things, and then they scold anyone who doesn’t over-spiritualize the same things they do.
Sometimes the embarrassment I feel boils over to frustration. In these moments, I hate that I have to share the name “Christian” with folks like this. All I want to do is disown them and point people to what “true believers” are really like, but just when that frustration is about to reach its peak, a simple question settles me back down:
What if these guys are as embarrassed by me as I am by them?
I mean, I do have a big, gaudy tattoo. I worship Jesus best to guitar solos and noisy drums, and I don’t think the entire Christian faith would come crashing down if someone could definitively prove that people evolved from apes.
What if, while I see some Christians as old-fashioned and narrow-minded, those same Christians look at me as weak-willed and too eager to incorporate elements of worldly culture into my faith?
I have no doubt that some Christians see me that way – or that they would if they got to know me – but the thing about Christianity is that neither one of us gets to disown the other. As much as I want to say, “That’s not what real Christians are like!” – and as much as other Christians may want to say that about me – neither of us gets to say it.
Because real Christians aren’t defined by their blind spots. Real Christians aren’t defined by the sections of Scripture they overemphasize.
Real Christians are defined by the perfect sacrifice of Jesus.
I don’t care if you think it’s wrong for women to wear pants or if you picket funerals because you think that’ll shock people into believing the way you do. If you’re putting all your money on the risen Christ to set you right with God, you’re my brother.
Yes, truth and sin still matter. Yes, we need to hold each other accountable. But I don’t get to disown you for experiencing this faith differently than I do. I’m stuck with you.
It sucks, but it’s also kind of beautiful.
Because it means you’re stuck with me, too.