I fell upon a christian radio station today.
I’ll usually stay away from these shows altogether. If I want to hear talk, I’ll go AM; FM is for music. Leave me alone.
Feeling a bit curious, I let the station keep. What’s a Monday without a little risk? Historically, I’m the type to keep to myself; whatever meat mainstream christians collectively chew and spit at, I try to leave alone and let them be.
Today though, I thought I’d feel the pulse for a bit.
Gay marriage. Of course. As if it’s the only thing to talk about. As if we don’t believe in anything else. As if Christians couldn’t differ on the issue. As if. (I’m doing my best Alicia Silverstone here).
Are we wrong, are they right? I’m not sure. All I know is that this stupid fight we’ve picked is getting the best of us.
Instead of serving the world, we’re trying to rule it. We’ve become obsessed with winning arguments and asserting political agendas; personally, I’m convinced the Kingdom of God is more than just a lobbying group in Washington. It has to be.
It has to be in the streets. It has to be in our homes. It has to be living and breathing love.
Otherwise, I can live without it.
5 Reasons to Stay A Christian
(For frustrated Christians like me)
1. Jesus, Moses, God, Paul, all instruct us to love our neighbors. No agenda. Staying in community keeps us focused on this goal.
2. There are worthy causes to fight for. How do we know which is which? In peaceful protest, Jesus died for his cause. If it’s not worth your life, is it worth fighting for? Will it save another’s if you do?
3. Agreement isn’t the point; what we need is your voice. Mainstream radio, TV, and mega-churches expect us to vote, argue and tolerate what and how they do. The Family is beautiful in it’s diversity, not sameness.
4. Leaving doesn’t make the statement you think it does. Weakness is not meekness. Doors will shut, ears will close, communication will halt. Change takes time; speak as one who loves and listens.
5. Your tithe can change the world. I used to think tithing was a cop out, but money is a faithful way to serve when you can’t otherwise. These people could use your money (and time and energy as well): Potter’s House, Restore International, World Vision, The Mentoring Project, just to name a few.
I’d love to hear some feedback on this. Can arguments (like gay marriage) distract the purpose and hinder our reach? Or are they worth fighting for?
Kevin, this is a new method for me of keeping in touch with people I like. And I’ll preface this by saying I’m not a Christian (which you already knew). However, on the gay marriage thing and my personal experience with Christians, whom I have liked as human beings and some of whom I am very grateful to for their generosity; the one thing I abhorred was many of them trying to convert me to their way of thinking, i.e. their religion and Christian beliefs. I have had them dig through my experiences and psyche looking for the one event that turned me from becoming one of them. My answer to these folks was and still is “One size does not fit all!” If your beliefs work for you, help you in navigating the world, in being the best version of yourself, generous, loving, kind, and creating peace in whatever way you are able – then I rejoice for you. Just don’t expect that what works for you will work for everyone. I found teachings from another source to be more helpful to me…why can’t that be enough? I have known about gay couples since I was a small child; they lived 3 houses down from mine and later when I was a teenager next door to me. I found these wonderful people to be good neighbors, conscientious citizens and decent human beings. I support their efforts to be happy in the “institution of marriage” if that is what they want. And I support their right to have the legal rights of a “couple” if that is also what they want. Marriage never really appealed to me, but that is another story. The Jesus I was taught about when growing up Roman Catholic and the one I prayed to, was not the rigid and judgmental Jesus I hear so many Christians say they are speaking in the name of. If the Christians who object to gay unions can’t get along with others and accept or at least tolerate differences, then perhaps it is time to get back in touch with the Jesus who loved and supported so many “fallen” human beings during his time here on the planet. Gays have been part of humanity since the beginning of time, and they aren’t going to disappear simply because some people are uncomfortable with their sexual preference. It is time to practice love and understanding and become the best version of a loving human being we can (me included).
P.S.: Hi to you and your lovely wife.
Mary! I can’t thank you enough for the comment; it’s great to keep in touch.
In defense of Christians everywhere, I’m pretty sure none of us really know the damage we’re causing. Most Christians are trying to “save people,” which in theory, sounds like a nice thing to do.
But over and over again we’ve crossed and disrespected lines. It’s a bummer because we’re not all like that.
As far as gay people go, I’ve known a few in my time on earth and they are just as good of people as I am (probably better). Ultimately, this is a political decision and should be left for the courts to decide—not the churches.
Mary, I’m so glad you reached out. I found your blog too. Let’s keep in touch!
I’m still not exactly sure what I think about gay marriage when it comes to things like sin, morality, etc. Some of the nicest guys I knew in high school were gay and one of them was a very faithful believer. I think sometimes it’s best to just be satisfied with not knowing. All I know is that God creates and loves everyone and I also agree that most of the argument is more of a political issue and that the church should just leave it alone.
It is true that some vocal evangelical Christians have chosen “gay marriage” as a defining issue for our times and speak out against it in tones that are less than constructive. There are others – I think of Timothy Keller at Redeemer Presbyterian in New York City – who can effectively engage in cultural dialogue on this (and many other perhaps more pressing issues) in ways that build bridges instead of walls. I encourage you and your readers to check out Keller’s videos on “Youtube” and give a well-reasoned Biblical perspective a fair listen.
Tony, I’ve heard many good things about Timothy Keller. I’ve been meaning to check him out. This is the push I needed. Thanks again.
I’m liking this, because that’s a good question. And, because you put links to charities.
Yes, the gay marriage thing is a huge and ridiculous distraction. Only slightly less ridiculous is the abortion issue. I say ridiculous, because a “pro-life” person should not let their passion about human embryos distract them from fully-developed, starving human beings- for one.
Abortion also seems to be (and I may be generalizing just a tad) the primary passion of Christians who are obsessed with status and material things. If there is any truth to that then it shouldn’t be surprising that they need a distraction that is essentially invisible to them– steering them clear of children in poverty who make them feel guilty.
So true, you have a lot of great insight. And thanks for the kind words.
I think abortion and gay marriage are the two most popular topics among mainstream Christians. I’m not sure how it got that way but it did.
Hopefully, christians and non-christians alike can agree on the great needs of the world.
There are some great Christian writers you might want to look into: Rob Bell and Brian McClaren are the two I think of. Their main message is that Heaven and Hell are on earth now. That as a result of our actions, what we do every day can change the fate of the world.
Well, I’m glad that Christians in the 19th century fought slavery with the love of Christ and condemned it clearly. Bad enough there were too many who “left it to the politicians”. St. Patrick won Ireland to the Lord and banished Druidism and human sacrifice by winning them to the Lord, but he also shamed the Irish and the English to give up slavery!
It’s good that some disciples of the first century did not let admonitions of staying out of politics have any effect; they stopped the gladiator bouts, they had their own pro-life movement begging mothers to stop abandoning their “unwanted” babies on hillsides, so mothers began leaving them on their doorsteps.
Thank God WIlliam WIlberforce cajoled and shamed the Brits into giving up slavery, and thank God his mentor John Newton encouraged him in this then “controversial” and unpopular calling, sent him into abolishing slavery as a ministry to Parliament.
The prophets were ALWAYS a thorn in the side of all the kings of their days. I’m not talking about self-righteous preaching. I’m talking about boldness with the truth. But FIRST make sure your truth is delivered in love.
The state has no business deciding anything about marriage. A “license” to marry is a default bow to government control over raising a family! Caesar has NO claim to us! We can see from this issue that the powers that be do not care what Americans think, they just push the subject from the shadows until everybody folds.
A baby is a human life, and if we *know* we will give account for our deeds and even every idle word to the most loving person in the universe, then we will not be able to hide our eyes from the fact that inside an expectant mother is a real live baby. Calling it a non-person, like the Supreme Court did in the Dred Scott case and in Roe v Wade both, does not make it so.
Psalm 139:16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
This is the verse I always try to share when I say something on abortion.
Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.
I don’t want to lay a “guilt trip” on anyone, like we in the 1960s generation used to say. I want to lay a “guilt-FREE” trip on everyone. Jesus Christ is the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Wow! I learned quite a bit from your comment here. You views on marriage and states rights and interesting. Also, I’m always up for hearing about St. Patrick. I think a “Guilt-Free” revolution from the church would be the difference maker. Imagine all we could accomplish. Thanks for contributing to the conversation!
Thank you for this article I needed it. I think these battles are personal, I don’t engage in them and I’m not sure i ever will because I’m really busy trying to fix myself all the time because my mess is a full time job in itself. If I’m a work in progress then how can I judge? It just seems you never change anyone’s mind by arguing one on one, I’ve never seen that happen at least. On the other hand on a large scale It seems important to fight for Christian values and biblical beliefs. What a tough question.
Thanks for writing. Also, I can totally relate. When we focus on the big picture issues, we tend to loose focus on our own. What a great reminder. I think I like to pretend I’m working through my own issues when I tackle big ones like this. Who knows? Either way, thanks for contributing to this conversation!
I’m one of those christians that fights against abortion and gay marriage. In these comments, and from what I can tell about you, Kevin, you think that’s an un-christian thing to do; that we should just live and let live.
Big surprise, but I disagree. I refuse to sit by and let bad situations get worse, or let evil take hold. Abortion, I feel, IS evil, unless medically necessary to save the mother’s life, or to divert great harm. I can’t just sit around and not say anything when a person willing goes in and dismembers an unborn child in the post two month portion of the term. If you wanted to do it as soon as you found out you were pregnant, in the first month or six weeks, well, I can leave that to you, but some evil people have no problem allowing infanticide just before or after birth. I can’t just sit there and shut up while this occurs just so others will think I’m nice little
Christian. It’s morally wrong and un-christlike to not stop evil.
Gay marriage. I can’t support it, but that doesn’t mean I think gays are evil either. But for the liberal, I MUST hate them, because I don’t support it. Um, no, Homey don’t play that. There is no good reason to change the cornerstone of society for a phenomenon (gay marriage) that’s only been on the national radar for 10 years. It’s not about marriage anyway; it’s about forcing society to accept a homosexual couple. I don’t care if you love a man or a woman; if that makes you happy, that’s between you and God; what I do care about is you trying to change a societal cornerstone – marriage and the traditional family – so you can feel good about a behavior – a changeable, malleable trait, not a hard wired trait like race or gender.
If some of you want to sit on the sidelines and let society just digress into a moral morass so that you can look good, I guess you can. But it’s not what I think I should be doing as someone that wants to fight evil.
Thank you so much for contributing to the conversation! One of my biggest fears, in writings like these, is to hear from only one side of the argument. Please know your thoughts are always welcome here. I will try to respond to your comments the best I can (in the time I have).
Your first statement concerning gay-marriage and abortion: “Kevin, you think that’s an un-christian thing to do.” That was not my point, and if it came across that way I apologize. My point was that the FIGHT has taken over the cause. It has captivated all our attention and painted our faith in only one light. My argument was not against these causes, but against mainstream Christian media claiming this to be our only cause worth fighting for.
I believe abortion is wrong as well. I’m not educated in the matter of abortions, or have any personal experience with which I could add to that conversation. All causes “against evil” as you say, are worth our fight. Again, I’m not saying it’s not worth our time, but let’s not forget the women, children (and men), already born today, who are suffering and dying around the world. These voices deserve as big of a podium as gay-marriage or abortion has.
I noticed that, surrounding your statement of gay-marriage, that you used the word “liberal” to paint your argument. From this I can only assume that you are viewing this argument through an American Conservative perspective. As Christians, I think we are called to a higher perspective. (Don’t assume, I think I have the right one, I’m just trying to get there.) We are called to look beyond the political parties, the name-callings, the geographical borders, and the traditions of this world.
Finally, you claim gay-marriage will give way to a “society [that will] digress in to a moral morass.” I’m pretty sure we’re already there. If gay-marriage is only a phenomenon, then we are the ones allowing it to linger. Let them marry, take their fight away, and it shall fade like every other “phenomenon” does.
At least that’s how I feel. I hope you find these words in love and respect. Thanks for the comment, and please, write again if you feel so inclined!
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You’re welcome; for Joppa Road…
A lot of interesting comments, but it seems Christian men and women with a divorce rate higher than non-Christians, infidelity and addiction to pornography are doing more damage to the cornerstone of society than gay people. It does seem like we are missing the point.
Okay, I know that your “5 Reasons to Stay a Christian” were for when you are frustrated with other Christians. But I feel like your five reasons make were not focused on the main reason for being a Christian: redemption, Christ’s death on the cross, being reconciled to God himself. All those things are rationalizations that have failed me in the past. I really enjoyed your post, but I think that our commitment and love for Jesus, not other people should come first.
Afiniki, you make a great point! A “commitment and love for Jesus” should be enough, as you said. I feel that our faith takes on different faces at different times.
I know it’s not clearly stated, but the post is more-so written for those who still believe and follow Jesus, but may be thinking about giving up the “Christian label.” Thanks for the input!
I think you are a really on point. The church has gotten away from serving and pleasing God to trying to rule and control the world.
If we believe the word of God, what will be, will be. There is no changing what is to come. But we can, in love, show people the love of Christ that can build a bridge to a relationship with their creator and enhance the quality of life. Which is the saddest thing to me. Because I do love God and I think many love God but that love is not what is at the forefront.
I am running on a few…well several years of burn out from several years of ministry and service. I am a bit edgy, maybe too edgy, at this stage of life, but, I still hold true to my relationship with God. I cant imagine a life without Him. I wish that all could know Him. A relationship with Christ is the most beautiful thing one can ever experience.
We don’t show that beauty anymore. Instead, Christians lately show anger, hate, resentment. Not love. We condemn souls to hell even before God has any say lol! I don’t understand it. There are several sexual activities and other offencse that are sins in the bible. Incest, adultery, and fornication, murder, theft, backstabbing, for instance. We can forgive and tolerate those. Why does sexual sin especially homosexual sin have to be anymore offensive than the other sins and so much so that they deserve to be focused on with such hate?
I cant cast a stone at anyone. I am not at war with homosexuality. That’s ludicrous. I choose to abstain from sin period as much as I can. And I have done my dirty and I still need some work! My dirt is no more filthy than anyone else’s. We can all be redeemed but change is a daily choice. Who can see Christ through all of that anger and hate?
I cant hate people because they don’t embrace Christ and Christian values on sex, life whatever. I am not judging my brothers and sister that do either. I know they think they are doing what’s right. But its not right. Hate is never right. We were commanded to love one another.
At time in my life, I didn’t obey all of the rules either! I In my search for love, I stepped outside of God’s plan. I had a child and I got judged and dumped by saints. Okay then. For me, I chose to embrace the doctrine and changed, Some do not. That is okay. We may not agree on some things, but people are still people. I will hug, love, feed clothe, house, talk to, eat with and be kind to anyone God affords my heart to do so.
Great blogs! Thanks for sharing your gift!
Kevin – great blog!
I think you are not frustrated with Christianity as such, but what people made out of it. I feel very much the same way. Even as an evangelical Christian (I suppose you are one as well), one can get entangled in an empty religion, and this empty religion. Even evangelicals can worship religion, their own made out of too many meetings and activities, their too pushy approach to the world, etcetera. Having the “right” teaching (and I do believe that we do), does not mean we are all pure quality of Christians. So, even in these circles you will find people which will try to manipulate, which will not accept any other opinion (often on things that dont matter eternally anyway) and which will make you feel bad for not being their clone. I left the church which I attended couple of years ago, before joining it and being without a church for some time, I felt guilty. Today I rarely think of the whole thing, I definitely dont look for any, and I am the most happy. I have my Awesome God, couple of real quality Christian friends who dont let me down, I watch the channels and preachers online as I please, read my Bible, worship my God and could not be bothered anymore with the rest :-).So all the best to you, you are a very sincere person and God will NOT let you down.
Thank you Katka! I’m currently on vacation and not available to write a good enough reply right now. I did, however, want to say hi and let you know I really appreciate your comments! Looking forward to reading your work.
As written the meek shall rule the world who do. you think ellen degenerous. anderson incooper. the tv. is run by these people who don’t run nobody down trying to help their brothers. They are at peace in their own ways they could be the children of christ jesus a people. that the. norm. worldly. jesus christ whom his words why do you call me good god alone is good. god. alone in christ jesus. who appeared in. spirit. are these the children who the world persecuted didn’t want. now are these the ones created to make the traditionalworldy. gods jealous as written they call the scum crazy kicked out of churches. called evil. do you not think the spirit of christ jesus in spirit has he not made fools out of the can’t be told taught shown nor do they forgive they flaunt their. laws money bail out corporations. with our own money to rip us off again they fix their own help their own with their god given. right to be. accountable. to no one. as written. this wisdom has never entered the mind of jesus christ followers. cause they never would have. persecuted christ jesus the man. he was rich like them he was poor. they mocked him tried to kill him break his spirit labelled him crazy and reward him with their gov welfare odsp no women nofollowers he askef no one for nothing. but forgiveness he. did ask a friend for help that he helped his friend said. i can’t help you. they will treat me the way they treat you. whatcha think ??
Just found your blog, and wanted to say I loved this article! You write in a way that is very relatable.
Well thanks for the compliment. Glad you liked the article 🙂
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The spiritual war is almost over i got on this site a few days ago i wrote new wisdom that has never entered the mind of a natural traditional worldly chtistans in the namw of jesus christ his words why do you call me good ? better than that you call yourselves good. since. he was the way he went to the cross with a troubled spirit. the world was given to him and heaven on earth which now is. quite evident the troubled spirits trying. to hold on to their old. as in old is ok enough for me i haven’t been persecuted yet we persecute we don’t take want need we have enough friends. money knowledge. you naughty children of christ jesus who have quietly took their persecutions. to be blocked on internet sites chuches for trying to. spread truth written in your hearts now in the chosen children in christ jesus whom the world rejected as a people in the glorious world gov set up by the best loved most read king james bible words of ronald ragan. 1983
I have many things to share i fear my wisdom that is granted to me but not me alone as i have shared everything in spirit through christ jesus who was is p ersecuted in churches gov by liars who believe only lies. their beloved best read kjv bible the words of ronald ragan. in1984 the american gov was set up and their hearts show tis to be true their leader and saviour jesus christ why do you call me good. god alone is good in christ jesus with the help of the spirit of truth which is at war with the spirit of stupidity. he said to the murder i will see you in paradise which is evident in our prisons he went to the cross with a troubled spirit told simon peter to feed his sheep so now we have food banks not schools that tend the children. of jesus chtist as written that went to be with his worldly father the devil. who are not persecuted bastard children as written is evident fools being made fools of calling themselves. good insulting the true spirit god alone in christ jesus. this should be blocked i hope not they the masses control even free speach if it does not agree with their views and beliefs with their money power gov police army traditional beliefs. is it not written the flesh kjv word of god best loved which set up gov even the internet which now they admit is being spied upon flesh and spirit. as written cannot make peace so is the spirit pissed off ? Who controls who get persecuted?the weather. these flesh creatures kicked god out of their schools now they enjoy the mess they alone created to follow their own lusts and agendas new laws they were warned not to change to enjoy
I am an atheist, and in all honesty, believe religion does more harm than good. Now let me elaborate. I think the idea of God and religion, loving thy neighbor, not killing, helping others…are all extremely important attributes, and there are some religious people so take their religion to heart and do good in the world.. Which is wonderful! I also believe we can do good without it being “for God” or my very least favorite “to erase our sins” (this, I find, the worst part of all.. We are here in life to erase past sins?! Talk about a miserable way to enter this world, that though is a whole different topic). I do think though, issues like gay rights (which you brought up), when religious people force their religious opinions down other people’s throats by squandering their personal freedoms, is what kills relfion for me. It is what has made me turn away from anything related t organize religion, and unfortunately, often despise it. Of course, this isn’t always the case, and this is a never ending argument, I guess I just can’t stand when “religious people”” use God as an excuse, to take away rights, to kill (like in the Middle East right now) or other situations that lead to such harm. Relfion, which was originally meant to unify us, has been tearing our human race apart,.
I enjoy reading your writing, and feel you have a pretty balanced view of spirituality and a relationship with God (which I have absolutely no problem with), and organized religion for the sake of organized religion.
Anyways, here are just a few of my thoughts!