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the Christian God

January 15, 2008

i am immediately turned off when the “Christians” thump their bibles in judgment.* 

i received an email today, second hand, that probably was not meant for my eyes.  but nonetheless, i got it and i have strong opinions about it.   the email was a self proclaimed “Christian” mother’s plea for prayers for her son who is having some personal struggles determining the direction of his life.**  the email began with the question “what’s wrong?”  below it, she judgmentally lists the intimate details of her son’s life.*** she says he has rejected her version of the “Christian God.”  she says he “thinks he’s gay.”**** ouch, mom.

there are so many things about this email that get my blood boiling but what offends me personally is that it’s done in the name of the “Christian God.”  judgment in the name of the “Christian God,” sigh…  where do people get off?!?  i used to have a friend who often times did this.  funny thing was that she never attended church, and when she considered attending, it was only motivated by the chance that she’d meet a man.

this “Christian” email implies that without her son’s acceptance of her definition of God, he has nothing.  wow.  really?  isn’t the spiritual journey personal to each individual?  shouldn’t it be?  the emails explains that her son has felt that her “Christian” church was prejudiced against gays.  all the while she is sticking by her guns that he “thinks” he’s gay.  i’m not hearing acceptance there either… hmm. 

what gets my girdle is that the email also criticizes the fact that that her son has studied eastern religions and found meaning there.   i may be completely out there but i would argue that if her son cannot identify with her judging “Christian God,” acceptance of some other religion should be comforting – as it indicates he is in fact a spiritual person.  let this man be free to experience God as it works for him. 

i was raised in the United Methodist Church.  what i remember and like about my my experience there was that i was taught about love, compassion, Jesus Christ, God, morality, and fellowship, but i wasn’t required to believe  any of it.  this is actually the same church where i met the above family.  i always felt allowed to take away from it whatever i chose and i felt welcomed back any time for whatever reason brought me there.  there was no damning to hell the minute i raised a question.  there were no stones thrown the minute i had an original thought.  i was simply presented with one perspective of the “Christian God” and asked to consider it.  this was a good message for a free thinker like myself.  it’s likely the reason i still attend a United Methodist Church, albeit “the most liberal UMC in town” (as criticized by another UMC member here in town).

in my early twenties i went on a religious crusade of sorts.  i wasn’t in touch with my spiritual side.  i hadn’t regularly attended church in quite a while.  i wasn’t comfortable attending a church where i felt i was a hypocrite – i.e. i didn’t believe like the general congregation of the church, i didn’t practice my faith like the general congregation, i didn’t agree with the message of the general congregation.  most importantly, i couldn’t in good conscience belong to a church that practiced intolerance, of ANY viewpoint.  i needed a church where i could question, have an individual perspective, not be affiliated with hate or judgment, be tolerant, be open to other opinions, etc.  i went looking.  not surprisingly, i didn’t find my spiritual fit in the conservative town where i lived at the time.

i personally do not believe in the “judging Christian God in the sky” concept.  i don’t believe in a literal interpretation of the bible.  i don’t believe other religions are wrong, and my Christian faith is right.  i identify with many eastern religious writings.  i cherish my own experience of God, which is derived from an abundance of places.  i feel blessed to have found identity with my spiritual being, and a church that accepts all persons from all walks of life with varying viewpoints and religious expressions.  i do not believe there is one answer, nor do i support the notion that there should be.  

i still struggle with calling myself a Christian because of all the manipulations of that word.  i believe there’s a Christian culture, the culture in which i was raised.  i also believe there’s a Christian faith.  i believe it’s the Christian faith part that gets confusing.   the faith i believe in is kind, loving, generous, accepting, open, tolerant, inviting, and comforting.  i cannot speak of anyone else’s faith.  i would never try to.  in similar fashion, i would never accept someone else’s expectation that my version of faith should be theirs.  that’s just not ok in my world. 

i have said a prayer for this family.  i don’t think i followed the email’s directions.  i wasn’t sure if i was supposed to pray that her son stops thinking he’s gay, suddenly accepts her “Christian God,” or for ease of his personal struggles.  the prayer i said was for love and acceptance.  i do pray that this man finds peace in his struggles.  i pray that his mother finds peace with who her son actually is, rather than who she thinks he should be or what he should believe.  i said these prayers to my God, the magnificent God, who i have found personal identity in.  i don’t know if she’d like my God. 

___________________________________________________________

* if mother fucking evangelical “Christian” Huckabee becomes our next president, you can start the countdown on my days left as an american.  i will immigrate from this country.  i heard an interview on npr this morning of his condescending almighty ass that has me hyping mad.  if you haven’t seen it, rent the documentary Jesus Camp.  it’s damn scary what is going on in our country. 

** this man is 2 years younger than me.  i have no other generational experience from which to draw upon, but to me it seems that a post-college mid-twenties existential crisis is pretty common amongst my generation.  i don’t necessarily think this is a bad thing.  ya know, we were told as children that we graduate h.s. and then go to college.  we did.  once we graduate college, however, it’s all very confusing as to where we go next.  my college experience did not get me ready for this decision.  in fact, i had my own crisis 1/2 way through law school.  i was a top student and realized i wanted nothing to do with becoming a lawyer, fell into a depression and was pretty damn confused for a while.  i shocked the hell out of my parents while i contemplated dropping out of law school.  fortunately, i was able to overcome my obstacles and find a path that worked for me.  i consider myself fortunate.  i am grateful my parents didn’t send out a “Christian” prayer email with the intimate details of my struggle while i was in the depths of it.  thanks mom and dad.  

*** i would argue that what’s wrong probably begins with her judgment. 

**** i don’t think there’s any question as to whether her son is in fact gay.  this man has been in a committed relationship for 5+ years and he’s been out for quite some time.  my family has known this man since childhood and it was no surprise to learn he had come out.  this man is smart, kind, and has faced a lot of judgment in his process.  my heart goes out to this man.  i love him like my own brother.  i also love his mother, but sometimes i want to shake her HARD.  today, i definitely want to shake her. 

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