I talk a lot about what church and Christianity aren't, in this space.
I think the reason I do that, is because bearing the title of a Christ follower has a great responsibility associated with it.
Anytime someone, no, anyone claims to be showing the way of God to others, and are encouraging others to follow suit, it requires close scrutiny.
If I'm completely honest, Christians are, quite possibly, the greatest perpetrators when it comes to missing the point.
If I'm completely honest, it is Christians who oftentimes have the most difficulty coming to terms with the fact that they are in need of correction.
I think that this is why many find it so hard to subscribe, or even investigate the expansive Christian faith. To the "sinners", those outside the church, Christianity is merely a pious, self-righteous dog and pony show.
Instead of an interconnected diverse community, they find cliques.
Instead of a brilliant and beautiful humanitarian centered vessel, they find an inward focused game plan to build a congregational roster.
Instead of altruism, they find pettiness.
The struggle I had with the Christian faith, I found out later in life, was not Jesus, or his teachings, or even the concept of a higher power.
I think people have an intuitive desire for faith.
I think that people want to be connected with the one who gives life and purpose to everything.
The thing that kept me from the Christian faith was Christians themselves.
Not all Christians, mind you.
I had several peers, while growing up, who were absolutely genuine about their faith and convictions. They were, and continue to be, inspiring to me to this day. I thank God for them, because they have blessed me beyond words, but...
Unfortunately, they were the exception rather than the norm.Unfortunately, it is not these wonderful individuals who made the headlines in the newspapers. They don't get their own slots on the evening news.
Christians can be, and often are, the single greatest enemy to the message of Jesus.
We, myself included, tend to lose sight of what really matters.
We fall into pettiness, and allow foolish disputes to divide us on issues that are completely insignificant.
While Christians debate and fight over what is "appropriate" for their corporate worship services, children die on a daily basis of starvation.
While prominent Christian leaders nitpick, via book review, viewpoints that they do not share, a child is taken from home and forced to commit atrocities against his own people.
While Christians viciously scrap over "right" doctrine, young girls, daughters and sisters alike, are abducted and immersed in the world of sex trafficking.
Is it any wonder why, upon seeing these sorts of things, someone who doesn't identify as a "Christian" might turn away from the person of Jesus, assuming that this is all Christianity offer?
Is it any wonder that Christians are perceived as clique-ish, narrow minded, and socially unconscious?
See, when someone decides to follow Jesus with their life, they carry a new responsibility with them from that moment on, and it isn't an easy one.
This new responsibility is to show the world a new way.
Something aware, and conscious.
Something that rises above our differences and finds the common ground.
Something united upon one solid rock.
When Christians actively begin choosing to live this way, the message of Jesus will flourish, because it shows change. It shows new creation and life.
If I'm completely honest, this world is in desperate need of new creation, rather than old, tired, religion.