Random observations on the C folks

Must be in the air, but since as I wrote in my last post gay marriage is on the ballot up here in Maine. You can imagine what the propoganda is like on both sides.  Last night I fell asleep listening to a commercial where the anti-gay folks were saying if gay marriage becomes a reality here that the society could die out. Since apparently the function of marriage is to have kids…um, that may have been the case in 1950 but more and more heterosexual couples are choosing to either not have kids or are greatly limiting the number of kids they have. Yet we have more and more kids being born whose parents are not married. So, I am sorry but that argument is a tad weak.

Switching gears though, I want to comment on a growing trend I have noticed at least here in my neck of the woods. many of the die-hard fundamentalist style Christians, are frankly crazy. I was just joking with the Spousal Unit that all the “true believers” I have met in my 7 years in Maine, frankly scare me.

A few years ago we were attending a start-up church that was initially non-denominational, the pastor and his wife were young and seemed sane. Well they were until they decided to change up the program and become Pentecostal without telling us, we had to part company over speaking in tongues. Now being that this is a small town, of course you run into these folks and you are only a few degrees of separation from one another. Well the wife of Mister Tongue Speak considers herself a bit of a fashionista and well she befriended a fellow who happens to be gay; well her husband, Pastor Crazy Azz, put his foot down and banned his wife from being friends with the gay fellow. Um….how many layers of crazy is that?

Now if that wasn’t bad enough, I witnessed this weekend being in a space with the two servants of God who are always cordial when I see them but I was chatting with a dear friend who happens to be gay who they know, and you know what that these Christ like followers did? They ignored my buddy, like he wasn’t even there.

I admit this post is a vent about that situation and hope my friends don’t mind me posting but I have a reason. Look, but if you want to be Christ like, well treating folks like shit is not the way to go. I daresay that such behavior most certainly isn’t going to win any souls for Christ seeing as how even I as a Christian with evangelical leanings finds such behavior offensive.  In fact a deep reading of the bible without any background would make a logical connection at least for me that Christ was loving and caring in almost all his interactions with others. There are a few places in the New Testament where Jesus is less than gracious but by and large he sought out folks who were on the edges of society. He treated them with love and respect, he did not resort to petty behavior to condemn them.

So if I were one of these Praise the Lord types…you know the ones. Ask a question and they answer it with Praise the Lord, yada yada. I might work on being a decent person because I cannot see how on judgement day, you can say well Father I carried out your work but I was intentionally mean and hurtful to others, since I only hung out with folks who were just like me.

I am reminded constantly of Paul’s words in Corinthians “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase” I have made a choice in my life to know all kinds of folks and to let the light of Christ shine in me. I rarely talk Jesus and God with folks unless they ask me. The only time in recent years, I made an exception is when one of my dearest friends who is an agnostic was talking suicide. I shared my faith and how its gotten me through and told him I was praying for him. He later thanked me for that discussion when he was feeling better and we have never discussed it again. I never feel the need to tell folks unless we have that type of relationship that I am praying for them. Why should I? Other than to make others feel bad or feel that I am judging them, why should or would I? In the end I think it can do more harm than good and make others avoid me like I avoid Pastor Crazy Azz and others of his ilk.

So I guess I am wondering how and why folks are so off track about how to be Christ like? Seems the Bible is clear instead people are running on their own agendas which I think fuels the anger and hostility. In current day society, there is nothing wrong with difference but I think we need to be mindful and respectful of others.

Note: I recognize that I have many readers who are not Christian, but this post was written from my Christian lens.

So you don’t say

I have a confession to make, one that I have only really stated to the Spousal Unit but now I am ready to share with the world. Christians scare me and I am a Christian. No, I am serious….while I attend a UCC Congregational Church which at times feels a tad light and fluffy, for the most part it meets my needs for a church home.

The larger issue is that as the director of a faith based organization, I come across a lot of Christians of all manner, some who are low key and some who are so over the top that even I, a person that tipped my toe into the more fundamentalist styles, find myself cringing.

For reasons of privacy and the fact that there are folks in my professional circle that access this blog, I can’t get specific as it would not be proper but I can share that personally I am sick and tired of folks that blindly praise the Lord and want to turn him into a magic genie who meets all needs.

Fact is since the death of my Mom five years ago, my faith has been in flux. During her illness, I never ever thought she would die. Even when a dear friend who was a medical school dropout (she did 2.5 years) told me that the type of cancer my Mom was battling had a low chance for long term survival. Yeah, I read all the stats but at that time I was still living in the land of where Jesus said whatsoever you ask in my name, I will do for you. (John14:13-14)  Clearly that meant Jesus was going to heal my Mom, and that life was going to be all good. Well that did not happen, not by damn far….

So one could say, I had a good case for ditching this Christian gig, right? Well, I did briefly toy with the idea but truthfully her death gave me a reason to study the word on a deeper level and when I did, I realized that in many cases we don’t get what we think we ought to have or need. No, for me I find I have found grace and peace, a quiet presence that seems to hold me tight no matter what. Christians often call it the Holy Spirit and I do think it is the Holy Spirit that Christ promised he would leave us with.

Yet even with the presence of the Holy Spirit in my life, I walk a fine line in that my brain has not been overtaken and that I use common sense which I think is also a God given gift. So many of my brothers and sisters in Christ are holding out for the fantastical supernatural experience, they are so geeked up that they bring others in telling them that Jesus and God will do this and that for them. Some even go so far as to say if you are broke, sick….fill in the blank of whatever afflicts you, that you are suffering because you obviously have a shortage of faith! Really, you don’t say.

So a cold or financial hardship is the result of lack of faith? What about Job, that was a whole book in the Old Testament about a man who had plenty of issues. Even the guys who followed Jesus did not exactly have great lives as a result of their involvement with Jesus. Heck, one could almost deduce that trying to walk the Christian path could bring more woes upon a person, almost like a supernatural battle between good and evil….

At the end of the day, I am no Christian scholar but I can say that selling Christ as the magic cure-all for everything seems to go against everything he stood for especially when the man Jesus Christ seemed to have led a simple life focused on helping others….quick aside, very few of these holly rollers ever seem to spend much time engaging with the type of folks Jesus did.

I leave you with the link to a great song from my youth that reminds me of many folks who I come across. (its Front 242’s Welcome to Paradise)