Can I still call myself a christian if I am Pro-Choice? How about if I believe that you should not be denied the right to adopt based on your sexual affiliation? Okay, what if I believe in the death penalty and fewer rights for prisoners? If I read and enjoy Dan Brown’s novels, does that make me less of a christian or subversive? And what if I occasionally watch shows like Family Guy, South Park or Physic detectives or let a few explatives escape every now and then, does that mean that I am not really saved? What if I say things like, The Catholic Church is scarier to me than the mafia, or churches today do not have saving souls on their agenda, it’s what’s happening with tithes and offerings that tops the list, and too many churches today do not teach about salvation, how to pray or live according to God’s word, rather they focus on the need for people to tithe and volunteer in the church and to get other people to come out because either membership is low or the money coming in does not meet the budget.
I ask because as far as I know, I am a christian. I know I sound bitter or angry, but really I’m not. At least not anymore. I used to live in condemnation because I could not spout scripture and then I stopped going to “church” which led to more guilt on my part. Friends I hadn’t seen in a while would get the formalities out of the way such as, “how have you been, how are the kids, are you still living in …, do you still work at …” and then they hit you with, I haven’t seen you in church for some time, are you okay? (meaning, have you backslidden) And of course my personal favorite, “so where are you churching right now?” UGH… What the heck does that mean anyway?
I don’t believe you have to leave your home to be in church. The Internet has helped those of us who struggle to find where we “fit in”, as well as those who are housebound. Direct TV has more than enough channels for you to find someone preaching and teaching at almost every hour of the day and XM Satellite Radio has Gospel, Christian Rock and Contemporary to help you get your praise on. Now with that said, being in church with fellow believers learning and praising and worshipping God can be a powerful and wonderful experience and I am not against it at all. The main obstacle is the church itself because many of them are no longer condusive to the edification and education of it’s flock. Can you say, “cha-ching” $$$. Now there are some churches who by all appearances seem to have their eyes on the target and provide services to their members such as bible studies, outreaches, food kitchens, legal advocates, prayer vigils, seminars on everything from single parenting to starting a business. Then when you get a closer look you see that very few of the membership ever get the true benefit of these programs and of course they come at a price – you have to open up your wallet to participate in some of their services as well as give additional offerings to help them “offset costs”
Wow, I guess I am angry and bitter. OUCH again… I don’t really mean to be angry or bitter. I am sad however that I am still searching for a church where I can be fed (that’s taught in christianese) and rely on the support of fellow believers, not to mention have awesome praise and worship services. If you have never experienced being in the presence of the Lord among a sanctuary full of believers praying and worshipping, you don’t know what your are missing. It is truly an experience you want to have over and over again. It’s hard to explain, and while this reference may seem trite and vulgar it’s the only way I can describe it – when I am in the presence of the Lord, I want it again and again much like someone addicted to meth – you want it, you need it and when you can’t have it, it hurts. For me, it hurts physically, spiritually and emotionally which is why I get to a place where I ask if I can call myself a christian.
Is it possible that if I experienced the presence of the Lord more often I would not have to pose the questions I have listed in my first paragraph? Would I not want to watch Family Guy, or would I be more receptive to criminals and their rights? Would I burn my Dan Brown novels along with any other type of media like it?
Hmmm…. Nah, I doubt it. I think I am a fairly intelligent and reasonable person and while I should not curse or watch things on TV that poke fun at religion and just about everything you can think of, it doesn’t mean that I don’t know or love God. It doesn’t mean that He is not the center of my beliefs and nor does it mean that He does not forgive me and my shortcomings. He knows every hair on my head, the good the bad and the ugly about me and guess what, He loves me just the same. I’ll probably have some explaining to do the day I meet Him face to face, but while I’m still here I am going to continue being the person I am and continue to get to know who He is. His word says, Jeremiah 29:11 (Whole Chapter)
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. I love this scripture as well, 2 Samuel 23:5 (Whole Chapter)
“Is not my house right with God? Has he not made with me an everlasting covenant, arranged and secured in every part? Will he not bring to fruition my salvation and grant me my every desire?
Well, if you stayed with me during my late night rant, thank you. I apologize for going on a tangent and if at times I seemed to ramble or fragment, forgive me. I’ve been up for a very long time because my sleep pattern was knocked out of whack during my recent surgery and I am still trying to get back on track.
Take care, God bless and may the peace that only He can give be yours today and always.