Today I was thinking about being a Christian, and how grateful I am that I have joined the club of faith, but on occasion I have my doubts.
You know, it seems like yesterday that I was rescued from the midst of alcoholism and all that goes with it. There I was at the New England Ala-teen Conference during the summer of 1978 and God surprised me as I let go of the fact that I didn't believe in God at all. For me, the Spirit of God rushed in like a flood. I was thinking that going from darkness to light, getting saved, or coming to faith - whatever you call it - is like sex, you'll know if it happens. Maybe that's not the best analogy, but what other experience is intimate and as life changing? Especially when you think about the fact that the context under which it happens can change the entire meaning - not the experience.
What I have experienced since I became a Christian is another story. Some of it has been so mind blowing that words cannot describe the encounters: Angles, demons, the voice of God, healing, miracles, worship in which I touched heaven, the sense of relief for my guilt and shame over some ugly stuff, the supernatural flowing day-in-and-day-out in Brazil and Norway, feeding the poor, consoling the broken, and watching God at work in my life and the lives for those around me - WOW!!!!!!!!
In spite of that, there are still some parts of Christianity I hate on occassion - really, I think being a Christian could just be easier:
Jesus the Way - It's hard to be part of a religion that has a God who says, "I am the truth, the Way and the Light, no one comes to the Father but by me." It makes folks from other religions pretty widgy. And if Jesus was not a living God of power, it would be pretty damn foolish to say stuff like that and then have us try to believe it. Of course, if you fail the "confess Jesus with your lips" test, there is always the "what is written in your heart" test. It would be easier if everyone was getting on the ark.
Jesus the Man - I don't like the part where Jesus came as a man, because it makes folks think that is all He was. Because He was a man, people get all weird about the part where he never sinned. Like, what did He say when He hit His thumb with a hammer? "Tiger Woods!" How did He go a lifetime without doing - umm - you know? Amazingly history shows that He lived and the He was alive after his resurrection as prescribed by Jewish law. Crazy - and not a point that is easy to debate with the heathen.
Bible Rules - I don't like the rules. To be honest, they are hard to keep and often go against everything that I think and feel. If it was up to me, life would be a dizzying array of money, sex, being lazy, and leaving all my responsibilities up to some else. (My wife might think that describes our marriage - but it's not an accurate picture - well except for the responsibilities part.) I would be going through life like a Toyota with a stuck gas pedal on the Massachusetts Turnpike. Duh - I already tried that. And why is it that Christians think they are the only ones that can be moral? Lots of non-Christians live moral lives - not Tiger Woods, but some people -they just don't always know where they came from.
3-In-1 God - This is the most stupidest concept. Most Christians can't understand it, so forget trying to proselytize using it. But without it, there is no Christianity. Jesus was God, and after He left earth, He sent His Holy Spirit. The ice-water-steam concept. It could be easier, I'm just saying.
Tithing - Why should I give 10%; or any of my hard earned money to the church? Interestingly, this is one place where we can test God - He said it was OK. (Mal 3:10) If we give 10% he said that He would return to us blessing. Try it some time. Take 10% of your gross, and give it to some church or ministry you think might spend it on something worthwhile, and see how your week goes. Let me know if you want to make a love offering to Fire and Grace. ;o)
The Faith Part - I mean, God just show yourself! Oh, that's right you did. Then just do a miracle - oh right, you did a whole book of them. John said we give testimony to what we've seen. Why can't we just believe John? 1 John 1:2
Evangelizing - Why do we have to tell others, debate others, knock on doors and give testimonies? Why can't we just be someones friend and see how it goes? I mean, WWJD?
Communion - I know it is supposed to be a time when we identify with the work of the cross. But juice and bread? A cup of wine that has a thousand million germs on it? I am thinking Coke and Pringles might be more attractive. Well, maybe not.
Love - Some days I just want to run people down and feel good about it. And shouldn't I be able to hate people who have wronged me? I mean, there are some people that I DO NOT want to love.
Sin - I hate sin. All those rules tell us don't do this, don't do that, can't you read the sign. I love people who do some of those sins, and I can't seem to debate them into the faith club - or club them with the faith - I think that is what makes it so tough. When folks choose to do what they "feel" is right, and really it's wrong. I mean most moral folks think that killing is wrong, yet some hate war, and find abortion a simple medical procedure no worse than teeth cleaning. It's all too confusing. Why can't we just have one set of rules we all agree on? I mean besides the Bible.
How about you, are there parts of Christianity that make your life difficult? I'd like to hear about it.