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In his book The Christ of the Indian Road, author E. Stanley Jones quotes a conversation between friend Mahatma Gandhi and himself.
When Jones asks Gandhi for suggestions in naturalizing Christianity in India, Gandhi gives a powerful and convicting response.
“I would suggest first of all that all of you Christians, missionaries and all, begin to live more like Jesus Christ…If you will come to us in the spirit of your master we will not be able to resist you…I would suggest that you must put your emphasis upon love, for love is the center and soul of Christianity.”
Almost 100 years ago, Gandhi pointed out a problem Christians still face today.We call ourselves Christians, but do not bear the image of Christ.
And the rest of the world recognizes the hypocrisy.
Statistics from the book unChristian: What a New Generation Really Thinks About Christianity …And Why It Matters have been passed around recent months. In their book, Kinnaman and Lyons spent three years polling Americans who do not attend church in order to find out what non Christians really believe about Christians.
The top responses they received were judgmental, hypocritical, anti-homosexual, too political and insensitive.
If Christians truly believe Christ was the epitome of love and grace, we are falling far short of the mark.
Instead of listening to these concerns and modifying our behavior accordingly, it seems Christians have wandered farther from the mark.
We see a prevalence of sexual addiction in church and respond with stricter rules about modest dress and “appropriate” male-female relationships.
We see college kids choose Twitter and Instagram over The Bible and respond with “hipper” worship music and an online offering option.
And leaders are still mystified when millennials leave the Church in droves.
I’ve heard the trend attributed to our generation’s selfishness, rebellion and sense of entitlement. I’ve heard solutions ranging from newer music to brighter colors to shorter sermons.
But let’s be honest for a minute: we know the reason has nothing to do with the music. It’s not our own entitlement pushing us away from the Church.
Our generation is the first in a long time to call out the Church for a lack of authenticity and a lack of love.
Gone are the days when kids follow a rule simply because “that’s what the bible says”.
Our generation is the first to have an entirety of information on any subject readily available at the click of a “search” icon.
We’ve finally opened our eyes to the fact that we’re being told to follow a list of “rules” never actually written in the bible.
To the fact that most verses are taken completely out of context.
To the fact that Christians are being told who to hate more often than who to love.
And we’re sick of it.
My personal history with the church is complicated, to say the least.
I avoided church (and Christians) for a number of years for two main reasons.
1. I felt I would never be able to live up to the “perfect Christian” image that had been pushed since childhood.
2. I could see a clear disconnect between the teaching of Christ and the behavior of Christians.
I couldn’t stand the pressure. I couldn’t stand the hypocrisy. I couldn’t stand the feeling that I was the only person in the world questioning these “fundamentals”.
So I left.
Then, when I was brought back to church, it was with a very critical eye.
After so many years of being told to shut up and do as I’m told, I’ve started to question.
To find the connection between what the bible actually says and how I should be living my life.
To find the reason for the disconnect between what I was being told and what I knew to be true of Christ.
So that’s what this blog is about.
To find a way back to love: the center and soul of Christianity.
Here’s what I know:
I value love, honesty and integrity. I want these values to be the basis of everything I write and every action I take.
I believe Jesus is the Son of God.
I believe I was sent into this world to bring others to Him.
I believe the single most important thing anyone can do in life is love those around them.
My purpose in writing this blog is to help three very distinct groups of people.
1. The “good” Christians who feel something is missing, but don’t know what. Who follow all the rules taught at church, but still haven’t found the peace promised.
2. The “bad” Christians. Those who want to serve the Lord, but have been so burned by the Church they don’t see a way to find Him through the crap of false fundamentals.
3. The “non” Christians. Those who are interested in knowing more about God, but want nothing to do with religion because of all it has come to represent.
Three very distinct groups have one very important thing in common: They see the gap between what Christianity should be and what it is.
So that’s my goal with this blog: to navigate the gap.
I’m sure I’ll make mistakes, and I hope my readers are gracious enough to call me out on them. But I know I’m not the only person looking for the love of Christ in the mess of Christianity.
Because I believe that is the key to surviving the real world.
If you have questions or concerns about what it means to be a Christian in today’s world, please share.
If you’ve gained knowledge through research or experience, please share.
If you just believe I’m full of shit and want to make sure I know it, please share.
This is a place free of condemnation, free of ridicule, free of shame.
This is a home for those seeking community and answers from the One who taught us to ask the hard questions.
Join me in my journey, learning how to live with Christ while Surviving The Real World.
My fellow Real-Human-In-Training, I welcome you!
Photo Credit: Jerry Ferguson
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