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How I Almost Quit Christianity

How I Almost Quit Christianity

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Every wrong that I see in you, God finds in me.

~Oswald Chambers (Rom. 2:17-24)

 

In addressing the negative commentary many Christians have had about, well, many things, including the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, Pastor Roger Hernandez concluded by saying, “Please stop being the type of Christian other Christians have to apologize for.” Oh, c’mon; we’ve all seen them. The type who picket the funerals of fallen soldiers to tell their families they deserved it, the type who promote websites about how much God hates people, the type who point out others’ sins more than pointing others to a Savior, the type who speak critically instead of thinking critically. You know, the type of Christians we apologize for when talking to our atheist and agnostic friends.

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If my only reference was the comments or actions of professed Christians, heaven is not a place I’d want to be.

[/blockquote]That’s how I almost quit Christianity. I found myself becoming increasingly perturbed at the insensitive attitudes, dialogue, and actions of many professed Christians. Like Anne Rice, I considered quitting Christianity for the sake of following Christ. I couldn’t agree more with her commentary that “Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.” In sum, I’d been lamenting what Christianity has become — a sign of closed-mindedness, of disdain, of hating cultures instead of loving God.

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I vented to a supportive group of Christians that if my only reference was the comments or actions of professed Christians, heaven is not a place I’d want to be. Their responses were obviously meant to encourage me, many sharing the sentiment that “true” Christians have a sweet fragrance, much like a rose. I rebutted that I’d rather not call myself a rose for fear of the many thorns who have pricked others in the name of Christianity. That’s when God pricked my heart, as well. If the bible repeatedly tells us to bear with each other, considering others better than ourselves (Phil. 2:3; Rom. 12:10Eph. 4:2), where had I gotten the notion that other Christians were “the type” arrayed with thorns while I was a sweet-smelling rose?
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What started with my disdain for others’ bad behavior ended with repentance for my own.

[/blockquote]I’ve long believed myself to be a Christian, but I’m certain I’ve pricked many hands while proclaiming I’m just a rose. I’ve yelled at my kids, made rude remarks to my husband, and just flat out disregarded the will of God. Roses have thorns. That’s how I almost quit, but never quite got there. What started with my disdain for others’ bad behavior ended with repentance for my own. This is why I consider “Love the sinner; hate the sin,” to be an unattainable and impractical myth within Christianity, but we can talk about that more next time. The reality is that many of us have a notion of ourselves that we’re not “that bad,” but as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian stated, “A preacher who doesn’t believe he’s that bad will attract people who don’t think they’re that bad. And that’s bad.”

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Taking lightly the depths of my own depravity takes lightly the depths of God’s abundant grace.

[/blockquote]When we’re not “that bad,” we dismiss opportunities to be better and diminish the necessity of being made new. Ultimately, when we’re not “that bad,” we downplay our need for the grace of God and the cross of Christ. Taking lightly the depths of my own depravity takes lightly the depths of God’s abundant grace. The first step to growth is assessing and admitting where we are. I almost quit Christianity, almost. I’m a Christian. I have thorns. I need grace. Based on the opening quote, I challenge you to consider those faults you’ve noted in others, those things you so desperately wish were not the face of Christianity, and ask God to show you how you have been the same. You’re a Christian. You have thorns. You need grace.

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Hello. My name is Kermit. I don't actually write for the Haystack. In fact, I have never eaten a haystack. I eat flies. I think those are unclean. And I date a pig too. Miss Piggy. She's nice.

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This Post Has 5 Comments
  1. […] “If my only reference was the comments or actions of professed Christians, heaven is not a place I’d want to be….What started with my disdain for others’ bad behavior ended with repentance for my own…as Pastor Tullian Tchividjian stated, “A preacher who doesn’t believe he’s that bad will attract people who don’t think they’re that bad. And that’s bad…” Taking lightly the depths of my own depravity takes lightly the depths of God’s abundant grace…I’m a Christian. I have thorns. I need grace!” READ THE REST HERE… […]

  2. Your comments certainly make us thnk. I stopped calling myself a Christian because so much of the Christian church is becoming very humanistic. I describe myself as a disciple or follower of Yeshua. (Jesus) Also, those of us who have Hebrew ancestry have a lot of difficulty in thinking of ourselves as Christian because of the horrendous things done by “Christians’ to Jews over the millenia. Yes, I know they were not done for Yeshua even though the perpetrators said they were. Still, that heritage is very real. I recognise that Christians who love and support Israel are our best friends. Also, many Christians really do follow Yeshua as well as they are able. I am not so blinded by the plank in my own eye that I can only see the twig in my brother’s eye.
    To paraphrase one of your comments; I say that God loves US but hates what WE do.
    Ecumunism is going hand in hand with the influx of humanism into so-called Christian churches. The Gospels are being modified. Soon it will be called hate language (officially) to say we are bound for Hell if we do not repent and turn to Yeshua.
    There will be put in place an over-arching religious umbrella of a collection of Dogma that ALL must agree to to stay inside the Law. Under that umbrella, we will be free to be Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu etc. Well, those who Love The Word of God, and do their best to follow Him will not be able to withstand the pressure to fit in with the new teachings and will fall away from true faith in Yeshua. Both Jews and Christians are in this position.

    1. Do you understand WHY it is considered hate language to say if you don’t follow my specific brand of god you will go to hell?

      Because hell is ridiculous. It is an extreme, sweeping punishment that is incompatible with justice, mercy, or any other good quality followers of yaweh claim he has.

      Do you understand the concept of hell?

      “And the angels will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”. (Matthew 13:42)

      How is saying that we are condemned to be thrown into a fiery furnace where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth unless you repent to my god NOT hate language?

      The tenth commandment states we should not covet or desire what our neighbor has. So, the mere thought of something we want means we have sinned and deserve that horror that was described above.

      The christian god punishes for thought crime. Not even the North Koreans have to deal with that! But god is so relentless that under his dictatorship you cannot escape him even after you die. Even those oppressed under Kim Jong Un can escape his wrath if they die. For christians, that is when it begins.

      Tell me, when muslim extremists say that those who do not repent to allah and follow his ways deserve death and jihad, do think that is hate language? That is the muslim equivalent of followers of yaweh saying you are bound for hell if you do not repent to him.

  3. Your post talks about the type of christians we apologize for when talking to our atheist and agnostic friends. It also mentions critical thinking as a virtue (as opposed to “speaking critically”)

    Thats fantastic, lets critically think this place up a bit. Instead of christians we feel we need to apologize for, what about, (cut it in half) the christ we feel we should apologize for?

    “RIDICULOUS” people will say. For many, Jesus is a warm, loving role model. A “prince of peace”.

    Is this cultural image accurate? If you had never heard of Jesus before and you decided you wanted to learn about him by reading the bible, what sort of person would you discover?

    one of Jesus’ most famous lines is, “Love your enemies,” as he says here in Matthew 5:43:
    “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven.”

    He reiterates the message in Luke 6:26:

    “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.

    That seems simple enough. And wouldn’t you expect Jesus to love his enemies? Yes you would, unless he is a hypocrite. Therefore, what we find in Mark 16:15-16 is surprising. It shows us how Jesus treats his enemies:

    He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned [to hell]. yikes.

    When a person says, “ask anything in my name, and I will do it,” what does he mean? Presumably, Jesus means that if you ask for anything, he will do it. What else could he possibly mean, unless he is being dishonest? And Jesus does not say it once.

    He says the same thing over and over again. In Matthew 7:7: “Ask, and it will be given to you.” In Matthew 17:20: “Nothing will be impossible for you.” In Matthew 21:21: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” You may have noticed, however, that Jesus is lying. You can pray for all sorts of things and nothing will happen. We all know that. A person who breaks his promises like this is clearly a jerk.

    Another easy way to see that Jesus is a jerk is to recognize his bigotry. In Matthew 15:22-26 we find this telling conversation:

    A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon-possession.” Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.”

    Jesus calls this woman a dog because she is not the right nationality. That is both ridiculous, and a clear indication that he is a jerk.

    Not only is Jesus racist against Canaanites, he advocated the murder of children:

    “And he [Jesus] said unto them … Ye reject the commandment of God … For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death.” Mark 7:10

    Truly a prince of peace.

    So, lets put that critical thinking to use and stop pretending Jesus wasn’t someone we should apologize for.
    (although to be fair, an entire post dedicated to the story of how you almost quit a belief system because of other believers instead of the belief doesn’t exactly give me great confidence in your critical thinking faculties)

  4. Hi, Dee! Loved this post and these lines, “Taking lightly the depths of my own depravity takes lightly the depths of God’s abundant grace. The first step to growth is assessing and admitting where we are.” Oh, so true! I’ve had to come face to face with the reality of my own depravity whereas before I never thought of myself as “that bad”. But that was when I based my righteousness on what I did, rather than on what Jesus did. It wasn’t until I fell flat on my face in a deep pit of sin that I thought, “Oh, I would never do that,” that I realized the depths of my own depravity, but then I also learned the depths of God’s love and grace. It popped my good-girl bubble that I lived in, but oh how it opened my eyes to see how truly beautiful and amazing God’s grace is!

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