For Tuesdays during Lent, I’m going to talk about my faith and spiritual practice (or lack thereof). So this is the time to look away if you’re not interested in this topic. No worries, there will be an allotment post tomorrow and I’ll see you then!
This week, I want to talk about other Christians. Sometimes the biggest problem I have with faith are other Christians, because they often do a really poor job of being Christ like. (I’m aware that sometimes I don’t do the best job either!). I have no problem with atheists, if they are right and there is no God, I’m still a better human being for my belief in God and it’s not because I’m afraid of Hell (because I don’t believe in Hell), it’s because faith calls me to live up to the best things in me. As I keep saying, I fall down all the time, but faith gives me the courage to get up again and do better.
Human beings have a tendency to try and bring God down to our level, which means that sometime we act in ways that are not very Christian. We have a tendency to use God to re-inforce our sense of safety, if people don’t think and act like us, then they’re wrong and that makes us feel safer. It’s very human and it doesn’t just apply to Christians, it applies to people of all faiths and none.
I’m a liberal Christian, I don’t have a problem with gay marriage, abortion or sex before marriage. My suggestion for Christians that do is that they should avoid doing those things. I believe that God is Love and Jesus is really quite clear about this, he has a lot to say about hypocrisy or judging others and he left two commandments, to love God and each other.
The things I think are wrong and against God are cruelty and poverty. Overall, I think God is more worried about what I do with my money and my vote and less about who I sleep with. (All that to say He does want all of us to treat our bodies and each other with love and respect but I think all of that is a personal decision we make for ourselves)
So I try to remember to leave judgement to God. That doesn’t mean I won’t call out things that are wrong, Jesus is also pretty clear about this and about forgiveness but it does mean that I will try and think about how I call it out.
The example I always give here is abortion. I’m pro-choice, I think that being forced to carry and give birth to a child you don’t want is cruel to both the mother and the child. Jesus came to give us life in all its fullness, I believe that abortion should be legal but I try to understand for people who believe that life begins at conception abortion is murder.
However, I don’t see anyone protesting outside IVF clinics (if you believe life begins at conception then IVF is also murder but no one really raises that). So I will point out to those people standing outside Marie Stopes the absolute hypocrisy of standing outside the abortion clinic shaming women while supporting the death penalty. Shouting at women for ‘killing’ unborn but not protesting about the children in care or living in poverty. I will talk to them (on the days I can control my rage) and I will pray for them.
I also know that when I fail as a Christian and a human being it’s generally because I’m afraid of something. Of being unloved, or alone or wrong. It’s like Yoda says, fear leads to hate, hate to anger, anger to the dark side. So I try to remember that and act accordingly.