15
Mar
11

What the Hell Is a Christian, Anyway?

Hey, I’m posting something! Yay, me!

Of course, it isn’t any topic I’ve had rattling around my head for weeks, but it’s something. Then again, my other blogs haven’t gotten the full attention they should either.

Anyway, today’s post comes by way of a couple things I saw on Twitter.

One was a person who tweeted a famous quotation by Mahatma Gandhi in which he essentially tells Westerners: I like your Christ, but I don’t like your Christians.

Another was a tweet with much the same sentiment by another person in my timeline that said something like: There a couple of things that are totally incompatible: Christianity and Christ.

Both observations are totally on the mark.

It’s pretty hard to look at Jesus and say something like, “What a jackass.” Even being followed and doted upon by some, there is nothing in the chronicles of his life that shows him to be arrogant or cruel. He has his harsh moments and times when irritation gets the better of him, but his life was one of uncompromising love and compassion. He promoted social justice, he healed, he taught and did all sorts of other things (many of which we really don’t value in society, quite frankly) that were more important to him than comfort, ego or adulation.

On the other hand, you have his so-called followers, who are often judgmental, narrow-minded, not inclusive and totally against reaching out, lifting up or teaching other people. I mean, there are Christians who try to spin the Gospel into something that supports rampant, greedy, free-market capitalism. How much more twisted out of shape (and away from the message) can a “Christian” be?

The trouble is that most Christians don’t act a bit like Jesus Christ. They don’t even try and they really don’t want to. I include myself in that to some degree. I mean, I like the idea of being more Christ-like, but it’s hard. It’s so much easier to live in the moment or get caught up in the rat race or to snark about people. Still, I’m way more Christ-like than the Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter types.

So there’s that.

I don’t think one has to perfectly emulate Christ (or come close) to be a good Christian. Most people I know who are good people (religious or not) are flawed and screw up a lot. But they try to have their hearts in the right place, which is more than I can say for some of the most vocal so-called Christians who litter the media coverage out there on various issues.

So, I thought that since “Christian” is such a loaded term these days, how about I make some new designations?

Christ-like Folks

Good luck finding one of these. They exist, and some of them might work or live near us, but they are few and far between and often because they do their kindnesses quietly and without desire for thanks, we don’t notice them being Christ-like. But there are some who are hard to ignore because of the scope of their work. I think Mother Theresa was a very Christ-like person. So too was Mahatma Gandhi (actually, for the record, his name was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi; the “Mahatma” is an honorific), and he wasn’t even Christian. But somehow I don’t think that kept him out of Heaven.

Christ-loving Folks

I see myself and many other Christians whom I respect in this category. We admire and respect Jesus’ teachings, and many of us believe he is the son of God and our savior, and we try to do right. When we don’t, we try to be honest with ourselves that we fucked up. We try to do better, and we hope that one day we can get over ourselves long enough to be Christ-like instead.

Christian Posers

These folks think they are doing good, and they see themselves as either Christ-loving or Christ-like, but they just don’t get it. They try too hard, and they take aggressive and off-putting postures. They lecture and harangue people, or they are so blindly earnest (with no critical thinking to back up their faith) that they don’t probably do much to advance the Gospel. I suspect that many of the people they win to Christ are, sadly, also doomed to be Christian Posers. A lot of evangelical types fall into this camp. They are so busy trying to score points with God and Jesus by “doing the right thing” that they often don’t end up doing the right thing. They are the kind of people who would rather tell people they need Jesus or will go to hell (and honestly, they say this out of love because they believe it and don’t want that to happen) than to actually help people in day-to-day needs and let Jesus show in their actions, which is far more likely to win people to the notion that Christ (and by extension Christianity) have personal value to their lives…as well as being the sort of thing that Jesus actually told people they should do (feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the prisoners, etc.)

Christianoids

Just like in science fiction and fantasy stories, where a humanoid is something that looks human (or at least has a sorta human shape) but isn’t, so too is a Christianoid someone who sounds like a Christian and looks like a Christian (of one of the types above) but really isn’t. These folks go through the motions but don’t even have the misplaced passion of a Christian Poser. They go to church either because they feel they have to or because they see it as a way to be connected and network. I think many Christianoids think they are in a faith walk, but really they’re just doing an empty and soulless routine. They are the true zombies of the Christian world. Whereas Christian Posers are often lulled into unsound religion doctrine because they don’t examine the source or search their own hearts enough, Christianoids follow the drum beat simply because it’s the easiest course for them. Both groups, though, form the infantry and support base for the people below…

Christo-Scum

Every person who sees a natural disaster and proclaims it as God’s judgment for sinful behavior, every person who would kill a physician or care worker to protest abortion, every person who glories in war instead of seeing it as a necessary and rarely-to-be-used evil, every person who thinks they know who’s going to Hell, every person who puffs out their chest and lets the world know just how righteous they are, every person who oppresses a group and calls it God’s will…and so on and so on…these are Christo-Scum. I would call them antichrists but really, those would be the people who actively oppose Christ’s message. Christo-Scum are those who use Christ to justify their evil. They lift up his name but pervert his teachings. Frankly, I think I respect an antichrist more than I would these ass-hats.

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4 Responses to “What the Hell Is a Christian, Anyway?”


  1. March 15, 2011 at 11:02 am

    OR… maybe it has absolutely nothing at all to do with how we behave. Being a Christian means that we are students of Jesus Christ. A student can be in first grade or working on their doctrinal thesis. There is way too much judgment out there both by and towards Christians based on how people behave. Being a Christian means that we have chosen to receive the unconditional love and grace of God, which is ours due to the sacrifice of Jesus. There’s nothing we can do to earn that grace – and how well we BEHAVE once we receive it is based purely on how far we’ve progressed in our walk with Jesus. The best measure of a Christian is one who can reflect the love and grace of God. One way to do this is to ignore the way people behave!

  2. March 15, 2011 at 11:09 am

    Well, that’s kind of my point, St. John. I am not speaking of earning grace. I’m speaking of the disconnect between people who claim they have (but don’t behave in accordance) or who say they know how to lead others to grace (but have none themselves).

    I don’t judge most people by their visible actions because I cannot know their hearts. But there are plenty of people who clearly don’t act right and do harm to the reputation of Christianity because they act counter to Christ’s teachings. They don’t just fall short; they completely do the wrong things and say they are doing it in Christ’s name.

    I have a problem with that, and “ignoring” such misbehavior hardly helps.

  3. March 17, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Great post. I love the Christo-Scum. I pass a group of them everyday on the way to work protesting, unpeacefully, with horribly ignorant and inulting posters and it makes me so angry.

    Enjoyed the post! Thanks

  4. March 17, 2011 at 11:57 pm

    When I see such people in action, Kellie, all I can think of is the shortest passage in the Bible:

    Jesus wept

    Folks like that probably drag a lot of tears out of him still…


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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