*Disclaimer — This post is directed towards Christians, but I welcome anyone to read and comment. Just understand that it is directed towards individuals who align themselves with Christianity. If you’re not a Christian you may still find it interesting.*
I try not to gripe too much about things I can not change, but I was recently asked a question about my beliefs and religion from a well meaning Christian. I tried to answer as politely as I could, but the question actually aggravated me and raised a question that I believe is formed from my unique social environments when I was much younger.
The gentleman asked me not to publish his comments, but directed the question to me. He was respectful, so I am not upset with him and understand his question. Maybe the answer to his questions or maybe I should say comments can be answered better with this question and response.
Does it make me less of a Christian because I have very little issue with being friendly or friends with Atheists, Jews, Buddhist, Catholics and Muslims? Perhaps it’s just my own understanding of the life of Jesus Christ written in the Holy Bible, but I just don’t see why I should not associate, dislike or look down on anyone because of their belief system. I can respect you for what you belief and not agree with it. Who says I don’t understand what you believe, but based off of my own experiences still choose to the lifestyle of a Christian.
If I strive to live this lifestyle shouldn’t I abide by its principles? The first is to love. Not a disingenuous love, or a romantic love, but sincere respect for a person. Disassociating yourself with those who may not agree with you on issues of religion or spirituality allows me to question those who claim to be Christian, not Christ.
Maybe I can understand their problems with Christianity with I can look within the Christian church itself and see division. We’re still mentally enslaved by man-made traditions, doctrines and religion-less practices. I’ve quoted the words of Dr. King many times that 11 o’clock Sunday morning is the most segregated hour in America, perhaps the world. We continue to allow the pulpit politicians and patriotic pastors to poison our praise with the doctrines of exclusion.
Never have we seen such unity among Christians of diverse backgrounds than that in California’s Proposition 8. It was like the day of Pentecost in a sense. What in Hell has gotten into you? Do you realize what you’re doing? You don’t have to be gay or lesbian to see what’s at work here.
A Christian Coalition banning together to prohibit gay marriage in a state, but we can never find a Christian Coalition against racial and religious bigotry. Allow me to remix a quote some may recognize that helps me understand this. Discrimination anywhere is a threat to civility and unity everywhere. Yes, I understand exactly what the Bible says about the subject of homosexuality, but what does it say about love, judging, condemnation and discrimination?
I question Christians, not Christianity or Christ.
I may not subscribe to a particular lifestyle, but I can subscribe to loving the life regardless of how they choose to live it. I can not make you believe what I believe, nor do I expect you to think I will believe what you believe if different. I just said this a few days ago, we’re all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality. You may not believe in the same God that I or other do, but it’s when you can see the image of God in others it is not difficult at all being friendly or friends with them.
I don’t remember the exact quote at the moment, but didn’t Frederick Douglass say, “Be quiet and listen”? I think that’s one of the biggest problems with many Christians today, “Talking Loud, but Ain’t Saying Nothing”. (OK I know that’s James Brown, but you get my point.)
So you will continue to see me defend someone that may not believe what I believe. That doesn’t make them immoral, nor does it make me any less of a Christian to find areas of agreement in our individual beliefs.
When or if someone questions your beliefs don’t instantly get defensive if they are not intentionally being disrespectful. It’s a question, try to answer it. If you don’t know the answer, research and find out for yourself. Show yourself approved and stop falling for the same old devilish traps.
There’s nothing wrong with me being friends with whomever, or even having lunch or dinner with someone who is not a Christian. Didn’t Jesus associate with the tax collector, the prostitute, the thief? I can recall 12 other dudes whose past was questionable too that hung out with him too, they turned out alright.