May 9, 2006 § Leave a comment
K so I admit it… I am a total Myspace spy. I spy on my friends and my not so friends, my old acquaintences, and if I’m bored enough, their old acquaintences. Now that there’s a virtual epidemic of Myspace activity trackers and other buzzkilling spyware, I have probably been on many of your “profile viewer” lists. Yes. I confess. I spy on you, too.
It was on a particularly uneventful spy on friends of friends of friends kind of day that I came across the following profile headline: “Don’t judge Christianity by the lives of Christians.” Huh. Don’t judge Christianity by the lives of Christians. Try as I may, I cannot get that phrase to stop bouncing around in the bottom of my brain… don’t judge Christianity by the lives of Christians…
Seriously? I mean, really? Is it only me that has a hard time with this sentiment? I could understand “Don’t judge God” or “Don’t judge all Christianity by the lives of some Christians”, but “Don’t judge Christianity by the lives of Christians” sounds to me like a big, fat, nasty, cop out.
My buddy Webster is going to help me out here:
Christianity: 1. the Christian religion 2. Christian beliefs or practices; Christian quality or character 3. the state of being a Christian
Huh. So Christianity, in summary, is the religion AND practices of those who define themselves as Christians. Seems to me if you can’t judge Christianity by the lives of Christians, you can’t judge it at all. Because without being exemplified, practiced, followed, or lived out by Christians, Christianity isn’t. It becomes extinct. It ceases to exist. It’s a lot of good ideas in a book. Can you define a religion without the practices of the religious to base your definition on? And if the definition of Christianity exists only on paper and as an ideal, what value does it have? What’s the point?
God is not religion. Religion is of man and by man, and flawed and fearful and all of the imperfect things that we are as a result. But we have to own it. How the world judges Christianity is absolutely our responsibility, because the lives of Christians, the unit of us, the whole, ARE the working, visable definition of Christianity. God is, but He isn’t a religion. Christ is, but He isn’t a religion either. The religion of Chrisitanity isn’t only what Jesus intended it to be, it’s also what we act it out to be. If the majority of us who call ourselves Christians are close minded, judgemental, hypocritical, and all the other things we often are, then Christianity, as it can be identified and defined in this world, becomes so as well. Is this the way it should be? No. Should we call it Christianity. No! Is it what Christ intended… I don’t think so.
The face of God is perfect and whole despite any of our failures or shortcomings. But we are the faces of religion, and if we can’t live it, then our religion isn’t what we claim it to be, and the world SHOULD judge us, and harshly, for that. How many times in my life have I used “Don’t judge Christianity by the lives of Christians… by the life of me” as an excuse to be less than I should be? How many more times will I fall into the same trap? Religion will never be perfect just as we will never be perfect, but it should be humble and it should be honest and it should be accountable. And if the world’s judgement of Christianity is not what we want it to be, we should change it. We should change us.
Christian: 1. of, pertaining to, or derived from Jesus Christ or his teachings 2. of, pertaining to, or adhereing to the religion based on the teachings of Jesus Christ. 4. exhibiting a spirit proper to a follower of Jesus Christ, as in having a loving regard for other persons. 5. a person who believes in Jesus Christ; an adherant of Christianity 6. a person who exemplifies in his life the teachings of Christ
( I apologize to the ” Don’t Judge Christianity…” profile guy. I totally get your intention, pal. Sorry for the rant… I’m annoying.)
I admit there are a bunch of theological holes you could punch in my argument. Bring it. But, my underlying point and the heart of my post is as follows: no more whiney, put upon, irresponsible, “why doesn’t the world get it and love us” Christianity. Let’s be the change, people. Let’s prove’em wrong.