I’m Not With These Christians

My parents always said to be careful who you associate yourself with because you are known by the company you keep—that the people around you reflect on you and manufacture other’s perception of you from a distance. Sometimes that mistaken association will be so detrimental and embarrassing, that you will need to speak out and severe the connection.

I’m a Christian, and I realize that word may come with a great deal of baggage for you. You might have an idea about the kind of person you believe that makes me, simply because of the professed Christians you see out there in the world or the ones you may know. You may believe you know what I think or how I feel or how I vote because of the way someone else thinks or feels or votes.

Since I’m aware of this potential association and since I too see what you see every day—I need you to know where I stand:

I’m not with the Christians who shill for this President, who sold their souls and leveraged their pulpits for political capital, who continue to defend his every vile deed, every reckless Tweet, every gross abuse of power—despite him not bearing the slightest discernible resemblance to Jesus. 

I believe this President and his Administration are fully devoid of Christlikeness.

I’m not with the Christians who believe healthcare is a luxury saved only for the rich and the well; those who claim to be followers of Jesus, the healer—while throwing the poor and elderly and ill, to the wolves of circumstance or sickness.

I believe all people who are physically, emotionally, and mentally ill, deserve every chance to get well—and by more than just thoughts and prayers.

I’m not with the Christians who police the bodies and bathrooms and bedrooms of strangers, who distort the Bible in order to justify their fear of people for who and how they love; the ones who’ve turned gender identity and sexual orientation into a weapon of damnation—who would tell adults who they can fall in love with and marry and raise children with.

I believe LGBTQ people are made fully in the image of God and deserve every happiness and right this world has to give them.

I’m not with the Christians who savagely beat their breasts about their shrinking religious freedoms, while regularly manufacturing monsters out of Muslim men and women seeking to live out their chosen faith tradition here in peace, without silencing,harassment, or discrimination—those Christians who do not admit or call out the prevalent and deadly extremism in our faith tradition.

I believe those practicing Islam should be as free and unfettered in this country as those who claim Christianity.

I’m not with the Christians who believe a woman’s body is anyone else’s jurisdiction but her own, those who believe they can legislate their morality upon another human being or take a woman’s personal autonomy from her for any reason.

I believe that women get the only say in what happens to and within their bodies.

I’m not with the Christians who refuse to acknowledge their privilege.
I’m not with the Christians who believe everyone should be able to get a gun, but not every one should be able to get prenatal care.
I’m not with Christians who believe God is responsible for Donald Trump’s Presidency.
I’m not with Christians who say they’re Pro-Life, but for the Death Penalty and against birth control.
I’m not with Christians who attempt to blame victims of sexual assault for their trauma.

I’m not with Christians who believe they have the Bible figured out enough to condemn anyone else.
I’m not with the Christians who believe they get to tell strangers they’re going to hell.

Yes, I’m a Christian, but I don’t want you to mistake me for those who may claim to speak for me or represent me by default—those you may have sitting across from you at dinner or worshiping next to you at church or preaching on TV or Tweeting diatribes. 

I hope that the fruit of my personal faith is apparent.
I hope that it yields compassion for the hurting, protection for the vulnerable, eyes for the forgotten.
I hope it champions equality for all people, truly diverse community, and a love that transcends difference.
I hope these things are obvious and that they set me apart from those Christians who may speak a different message with their lives—and quite loudly at that.

I also want you to know that there are many of us out here; people with a real, prayerful, fervent desire to follow Jesus, who feel like we’ve had our identities stolen by the pulpit bullies, fear mongers, and Bible bigots who make the headlines and steal the bandwidth and monopolize the conversation.

We want you to know that they do not speak for us. We don’t believe they speak for Jesus.

I guess what I’m saying, is that I hope you won’t too hastily judge all of us based on those who share the name of our faith tradition and little else. We are as distressed as you with what we see them doing in the name of Jesus these days.

We’re exhausted by their hatred, fed up with their intolerance, disgusted by their violence—and no, we’re not with them.

 

 

 

201 thoughts on “I’m Not With These Christians

  1. John P, perhaps it is the moderation, but I am just now seeing that this is no more a conversation than going down the street yelling at people is a conversation.

    Some apparently either wish they had a blog so they fill yours with their thoughts or they demand that you hear their POV as if you forced them to hear yours. I do not understand the mentality some have or the mentality some bring here.

    I appreciate what you offer. I think many of our faith need to be pushed into action and soft words letting us off the hook are not going to do that. The way I see it, if you are comfortable in your faith commission, you might not be doing it right. But arguing with those who are seems pointless. I pray God gives you the strength for the mission you are on.

  2. Stop this health care repeal – for Christ’s sake
    our goal: 10,000 signatures

    Posted: July 14, 2017

    Literally every single Republican senators claims to be a Christian, but their health care plan couldn’t be less Christlike.

    Despite repeated warnings that their plan will take away coverage from tens of millions of people, Republican leaders announced yesterday that they’re moving ahead with a bill that includes the exact same vicious cuts to Medicaid – cruelly endangering the lives of children, seniors, and people with disabilities.

    With a vote coming sometime next week, Christians across the country must now send a clear and unambiguous message: You cannot claim to follow Jesus and then openly flout his commandment to care for the sick and vulnerable.

    Can you add your name, so we can organize clergy and religious leaders to deliver our petition to Republican senate offices across the country?

    Sign the petition:

    The Better Care Reconciliation Act — and especially its cruel cuts to Medicaid — is fundamentally incompatible with the Christian faith which every Republican member of the Senate claims to follow. Please search your conscience and find the moral courage to stop this deeply unjust legislation.

    Please sign here: http://act.faithfulamerica.org/sign/senate_repeal/?rd=1&t=1&referring_akid=1015.181209.cUFs6X

  3. Pingback: Stuff That Needs to be Said | Mark S. Haynes

  4. This has been among the most depressing threads I have read here. If your Great Commission is to convert atheists like me, well played. Well played.

  5. Heck y’all. I am still trying to figure out why Jesus does not want poor people to have good quality healthcare, and die without it, and I am also waiting for one of the fundies here (like Pastor Gabe out in Kansas) to show us the verses in the Bible where God/Jesus/Holy Spirit says He hates poor people and it is thus wrong for a government to provide them the healthcare they need but cannot afford.

    We are all waiting.

  6. While we are at it, I will give you another one. One of our cars was getting old a few years back, but still ran pretty well. We have nieces and nephews. One of our nieces comes from a family that has poorer parents than the other nieces and nephews. The poorer niece needed a reliable car to commute to college and her part-time job—but could not afford to buy one herself. Therefore, we decided to give (as in free of charge) our old car to our niece with need so she would have a ride. She was so happy and delighted to get the car!!!

    Not too long afterwards, we found out that the mother of two of the nephews was upset that we had given the car to the niece in need. Money quote: “If you were going to give a car to her, you should have given cars to all of the nieces and nephews!!!” Well excuse us!!! That was the only spare car we had—and our niece was in need—and the other nieces and nephews were not in need.

    Even stranger, the complaining mother is the daughter of a millionaire—and she is very well off because millionaire dad and mom give her money in addition to what she and her husband earn at their jobs. They are all devout Southern Baptists to boot—as is our niece in need and her parents and the other nieces and nephews.

    My question is this: “Why Ms. Southern Baptist Moneybags would you so resent your niece in need getting a car that she needed?” Have you not read that Bible you take to church every Sunday morning?” Furthermore, Ms. Southern Baptist Moneybags, why were you not providing a car to your needy niece? You have actual and potential access to more money than anyone else in the family. Why are you not buying these extra cars you think the other nieces and nephews (two your own children) should have? Never mind that all the other nieces and nephews with driver’s licenses already have cars of their own that run just fine—and they do not even need cars!!!

    This is what I do not understand—and it goes back to the poor people and healthcare thing. Why do church people (well-off fundie church people) think like Ms. Southern Baptist Moneybags? How do you go to Sunday school and church every Sunday morning, every Wednesday evening, and every Sunday night for 40 years—and still think like that? And no—she gets along fine with the niece in need—all hugs and kisses and true love. How does she read her Bible every day for 40 years, and the contents of it never really sinks into her head and gets into her life enough to care for her niece’s need for a car? What in the Hades are they doing in these Southern Baptist churches and other fundie churches today that a person could be so callous and resentful of a simple gift to a child in need—one in her own family?

    Can anyone explain this to me? Maybe some of you callous fundies who would gladly let a poor, sick child die in the street for lack of healthcare insurance can explain this type of Christian behavior to me. All of you appear to be well schooled in it. Let’s see your explanation—and support it with scripture.

    • Thank you, Charles, I appreciate it this deeply when you say “Can anyone explain this to me? Maybe some of you callous fundies who would gladly let a poor, sick child die in the street for lack of healthcare insurance can explain this type of Christian behavior to me. All of you appear to be well schooled in it. Let’s see your explanation—and support it with scripture.”

      I would add, let us also have orthodox teaching on the subject and spare us the heretical prosperity gospel crap. Because I think the witness of church history supports social justice.

  7. 100% simplistic Straw Man arguments. Set up a straw man, knock it down. Set up another one, knock it down. Rinse and repeat until you’ve got it out of your system.

    A LOT of Christians ended up voting for Trump because the alternative was simply unacceptable…..not because they were “shills” for him, but because they weighed the options, and a Hillary Clinton presidency was simply not acceptable to them. But you say they “sold their souls”. Hyperbole much?

    A LOT of Christians LOST their healthcare because of the ACA (my wife and me among them), and we now have to pay the fine. The GOV’T kicked us off the subsidy because our taxable income was too low, but we are neither poor nor rich. It’s just the way we earn our livings. But we can’t have Obamacare compliant insurance. We can’t afford non-compliant insurance. And we still have to pay the fine. We WERE insured until the gov’t took it away…….and we are not alone in this. For every person who has insurance today because of the ACA, there is at least one who no longer has insurance because of the ACA – and NOT because they don’t want it, but because the ACA booted them out of the market. These are facts that are inconvenient to your narrative, and then to pile injustice upon injury, we have to pay a fine too? The ACA is a BAD LAW, and democrats have resisted all efforts to improve it. But in your article, you characterize someone like me as believing that “healthcare is a luxury saved only for the rich and the well……….while throwing the poor and elderly and ill, to the wolves of circumstance or sickness.” HOW DARE YOU!!!!!! WE have been thrown to the wolves by bad law. So, when republicans get elected to Congress with a mandate to FIX/REPLACE the law, millions of people LIKE ME hold forth some hope that their own gov’t will take the shiv out of their backs and try to get it right this time. That is NOT abandoning people to their circumstances; it is a desire to see a bad law fixed so that it ACTUALLY IS more equitable. It’s called “adulting”. You should try it sometime, instead of dragging us through the mud because of your own lack of foresight or compassion.

    Regarding LGBTQ issues….. We have a Constitution, therefore, they have rights under it, just as I do. But as a Bible-believing Christian, that does not mean that I don’t filter my opinions about whether or not a thing is spiritually healthy through the words of Scripture; and Scripture is not very permissive in this area. That does not mean that I think the state should prevent people of same gender from getting married, or from enjoying the same protections UNDER THE LAW that I enjoy…..such as the tax advantages of marriage. But Scripture seems to indicate that God will not bless such a union. Now, I didn’t write the Scriptures. I just read them, and I believe them to be true. I believe them to be true because if they are wrong these matters, then it cannot be trusted in OTHER matters, such as the divinity of Jesus Christ. I don’t wish LGBTQ people any ill will at all, and not to flog a dead horse, but I personally count several LGBTQ people among my friends. That still doesn’t mean that I think their choices are healthy choices…….but just as importantly, their choices are none of my business unless they want to drag me into it. I’ve reconciled these things the best I can, but to you, I “distort the Bible in order to justify their fear of people for who and how they love; the ones who’ve turned gender identity and sexual orientation into a weapon of damnation—who would tell adults who they can fall in love with and marry and raise children with.”

    I could go on. Each one of your straw men is very easily disposed of, but I see no profit in the effort. You have a very two dimensional mind. I either agree 100% with you, or I am a heartless devil. I can’t have any kind of conversation with someone like that.

    • What specific kind of health insurance did you have that the ACA took away and what was the amount of your monthly premiums before the ACA took it away?

    • “Each one of your straw men is very easily disposed of.”

      Telling someone that their perspective is completely irrelevant by claiming that nothing they’ve observed is valid—doesn’t make it sound like “conversation” is really all that important to you. Pity.

    • Funny the things you “filter [your] opinions” through the Bible over and the ones you do not.

      Please do show us even one effort the Republicans made during the entire Obama administration to improve the ACA? Please?

      If indeed you “are neither poor nor rich” then the truth of the matter is that you CHOSE to do without insurance rather than pay for it. You blame your choice on the ACA and the ACA alone but your choice was still your choice. Instead of apply the money of the increased fine to the cost of coverage, you CHOSE to waste it. Stop playing the victim. No one has perfect insurance and we did not before the ACA either. Many plans looked like good coverage until disaster happened for many, many folks. The ACA did cause many to pay more for insurance but it also offered insurance for millions who never could have had it any other way. It did not harm more people than it helped. “Through the first three quarters of 2015, the uninsured rate was 9.1 percent, meaning that 28.8 million Americans lacked health coverage. That compares to 14.4 percent, or 44.8 million people, in 2013 and to 11.5 percent, or 36 million people, in 2014.”
      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/obamacare-uninsured-rates_us_56b90b93e4b08069c7a872dd

      You believe all the lies against Obama, against the ACA, against Clinton but deny the proven truth of Trump and think we should ignore it. Nope!

      All I can say, is good luck with your choices. You are not going to get any happier.

  8. We will all be judged before God for our words and actions. It is only then that we will truly know exactly what he meant when he sent the commandment, “Thou shall not kill”. For now, which side you take is a personal opinion about a law created by men. Our opinions come from our experiences. You can argue all you want. You can judge all you want. You can aspire to be the only righteous voice in the room. God gave us all free will. Pray that you have chosen correctly.

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