Saturday, November 10, 2012

10 Things You May Not Know About Your 'Christian' Neighbor

Stereotyping groups is always crappy, and you especially feel it when you are one of the group being stereotyped. I grew up being stereotyped as a hub-cap stealing, ganja smoking, ignorant, illegal immigrant because of my Hispanic ethnicity, and that was only a little bit painful. As a 'Christian' I have now experienced a few more stereotypes that actually hurt even worse and I'd love to address them briefly by stating a few truths about myself and at least a few others who are brave enough to call themselves 'Christ followers' in a world that despises such people:

1. We don't all judge you. Some of us are a lot more concerned about all the crap that we don't have figured out yet and are quite preoccupied with taking care of that.

2. We don't all think that homosexuals are going to hell. While some of us still believe that same-sex behavior is not pleasing to God based on the Scriptures that define our morality, we also realize that a LOT of what we do is not pleasing to God (adultery, premarital sex, drunkenness, gossiping, etc) and we actually don't think we are any better or more deserving of heaven than anybody else. We recognize that we will all struggle with sin continually and that all of us needs forgiveness and grace. 

3.We are not all Republicans. Some of us care a lot about environmental, educational and social issues and are often torn between the two parties or even, gasp (!) vote Democratic. Some of us have even dared face the fact that Jesus wasn't a Republican or Democrat, too.

4. Most of us realize that the church is a mess. Of course it is! It's made up of flawed people from a hundred different backgrounds and perspectives and they are all trying to somehow help other people. We know that church leaders and members mess up all the time and the only thing we claim as perfect is God Himself.

5. We are not all ignorant. There are actually some really great minds in the church. I look at people like Isaac Newton, Galileo, and Copernicus who had an appreciation for the Divine. Piper, Strobel, Lennox and Ravi Zacharias are a few modern day scholars on that level who, although incredibly intelligent, still believe in God. So it is actually possible that some of us have used our brains to think things through and have still arrived at our unpopular conclusions about Christ.

6. We were not all raised in "Christian" families. Many of us come from backgrounds of drug addiction, sexual immorality, abuse, or atheism. Some of us have questioned and rejected the same philosophies as non-Christians and still come out on the believing end.

7. Not everyone who calls themselves "Christian" actually knows much about the bible or is even trying to follow Christ. Some people call themselves "Christian" because their parents are "Christian" or it makes them feel like a good person, and those people really aren't sure what they believe. So when they say or do something that offends you...don't assume that all "Christians" believe or feel the way that they do.

8. Some of us actually wish you would be friends with us because we like playing the same board game or listening to the same music. We aren't always trying to 'evangelize' rather than appreciate you but we sure love talking about what matters to us when we get the chance...probably just like you do.

9. Some of us feel equally horrified by the atrocities of the church over the centuries, from the holy wars and Andrea Yates, to the very existence of the Westboro Baptist Hate Group, etc. We have incredible faith that whatever 'god' these people are supposedly following is definitely not Jesus.

10. Not all of us listen to Christian radio and walk around saying "God bless you" and "hallelujah". Just sayin...

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