Taking back Christianity

Posted on | May 9, 2012 | 25 Comments

All my life, I have been a Christian.

I was raised in a Southern Baptist church where Vacation Bible School meant memorizing Bible verses for candy and “revival” meant a new minister for a while… A new voice to stir the soul.

I was taught to say yes ma’am and yes sir, to respect my elders, to be courteous to my neighbors.  I studied the teachings of Jesus and learned all the words to The Lords Prayer.

I have been a Christian all of my life.

All too often, these days, Christianity is portrayed as an angry mass of bible-wielding people, ready to throw the proverbial book at anyone who challenges, or questions, or disturbs the sleeping catechism that is the heart… Invitation only, Jesus bound with no room for error.  I’ve grown increasingly quiet about my faith, about what I believe… who I believe in, because the stigma in this country is that if you are a Christian, you hate.

But that is not my religion… that is not what I believe.

I believe in the Holy Spirit. I believe in God, MY Father and Jesus, his son.  I believe that Jesus came to breathe new life, to breathe new love into the old rules… the old ways.  I believe that Jesus came… to love.  To teach us to love.  To show us the real and true and inescapable truth of what it means to love.

I believe in the sweet, soft lisp of a children’s choir singing Away in the Manger at Christmas time, with their parents’ eyes glistening proudly across a candle-lit sanctuary.

I believe in the tear-stained and fervent prayers of a mother at the end of her rope who feels, without understanding, that her words are heard and treasured.

I believe in a God who holds his arms out to even the greatest of sinners and says “come home, just as you are.”

I believe in a Christianity that teaches to love thy neighbor, to embrace the faults and flaws of ourselves and our enemies.  I believe in a God who is the way, the truth, and the light… not one who is the fist, the sword, and the sneer. My God is all-forgiving, all-encompassing, all-embracing.  He looks out on the landscape of our lives, of our world, with the sweet, albeit often disapproving smile of a loving father… one who knows that what He has created, what He has birthed can be nothing more nor less than imperfectly perfect.

I believe in the power of prayer.

I believe in the power of one heart, one soul, one hand… reaching out in friendship, not in condemnation.

I believe in my God, my Christianity, my heart and soul and Earth shattering, mind numbing, heart aching love for my fellow man and woman and child.

I do not believe in a religion that divides, that separates or condemns.  I do not believe in a God who loathes or hates or casts out a soul in need, in angst, or in love.  I do not believe in a God who categorizes hearts and souls into neatly packaged, stylized, cookie-cutter replicas of the perfect wife, the perfect husband, or the perfect child.

I believe in a God who loves… unconditionally, unequivocally, uncontrollably… anyone who raises their hearts, their eyes, and their souls to his soft embrace.

That is MY Christianity.

And I am taking it back.

Comments

25 Responses to “Taking back Christianity”

  1. Ally
    May 9th, 2012 @ 11:49 pm

    “I do not believe in a religion that divides, that separates or condemns. I do not believe in a God who loathes or hates or casts out a soul in need, in angst, or in love. I do not believe in a God who categorizes hearts and souls into neatly packaged, stylized, cookie-cutter replicas of the perfect wife, the perfect husband, or the perfect child.” –simply wonderful and refreshing to see someone who is the true christian i always envisioned. thank you for the great post, and for being so loving and accepting of others, makes you a great person lady 🙂

  2. Sanele
    May 10th, 2012 @ 12:42 am

    ” I believe that Jesus came to breathe new life, to breathe new love into the old rules… the old ways.  I believe that Jesus came… to love.  To teach us to love.  To show us the real and true and inescapable truth of what it means to love.”
    And *THAT* is what the whole gospel is about!
    Love this post. So poignant and perfect 🙂

  3. Jana A (@jana0926)
    May 10th, 2012 @ 7:20 am

    This is perfect. And exactly how I feel. Only you put it in much more eloquent words than I ever could. xoxo

  4. Jana A (@jana0926)
    May 10th, 2012 @ 7:21 am

    ps: Jason and I like to call ourselves Quiet Christians. 🙂

  5. Jessyca
    May 10th, 2012 @ 7:21 am

    This is, BY FAR, my favorite post that you’ve ever written. Love you, my friend, love you very much!! 🙂

  6. aim
    May 10th, 2012 @ 7:37 am

    I am glad that is what you believe. I respect and honor that 😉

  7. lawmomma
    May 10th, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    And you know I respect and honor what you believe, too. 🙂

  8. MaconMom
    May 10th, 2012 @ 8:06 am

    Now, that I can believe in! Love this, as it’s what I always thought it should be.

  9. Lindsay @Lilloveandluck
    May 10th, 2012 @ 8:16 am

    Thank you.

  10. Mom
    May 10th, 2012 @ 8:35 am

    beautifully written, my daddy is surely beaming and saying that’s
    MY granddaughter who wrote those words!!

  11. lawmomma
    May 10th, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    I hope so, Mom. 🙂

  12. Momalegal
    May 10th, 2012 @ 10:08 am

    BEAUTIFUL – thanks for writing what so many of us feel! I couldn’t agree more.

  13. CJ
    May 10th, 2012 @ 10:25 am

    You expressed my feelings perfectly. I grew up Southern Baptist and even attended a large Baptist college. I get so frustrated with the hatred that is preached by Christians on a daily basis. I am thankful I serve a God that preaches love and not condemnation.

  14. pinkflipflops44
    May 10th, 2012 @ 10:43 am

    if only everyone felt the same way.

  15. Guest
    May 10th, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    I believe that the majority of “Christians” who are vehemently anti-gay would be the first in line to crucify Jesus if he was alive today because they would hate his message. It’s ironic.

  16. lawmomma
    May 10th, 2012 @ 3:22 pm

    It’s an interesting thought… would make an interesting case study for someone with more time on their hands.

  17. Heather Griffitts Clark
    May 10th, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Amen and amen and amen!

  18. Lola M.
    May 10th, 2012 @ 11:54 am

    Amen and so do I!

  19. Nellie
    May 10th, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Testify Sister!

    Thanks for this, it’s refreshing and was wonderful to read.

  20. Smith124
    May 10th, 2012 @ 2:44 pm

    Beautifully written as always! I think it’s a very modern view of religion in terms of the world moving away from the use of religion as a means to control a population. I think a lot of people feel this way and think this is why so many people are struggling to find a religion they identify with.

  21. Jennifer Williams
    May 10th, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

    I’ll take it back with you because those are all of the things I believe as well.

  22. Elizabeth Flora Ross
    May 10th, 2012 @ 4:16 pm

    This post is all kinds of awesome! Amen! I am with you!

  23. MusicMomma
    May 10th, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

    AMEN SISTER!

  24. Friday I'm In Love (with these things) - jana's thinking place | jana's thinking place
    May 11th, 2012 @ 7:32 am

    […] My friend wrote about Taking Back Christianity. I’m not sure I’ve read anything I’ve agreed with so much in my entire life. Or […]

  25. Wiz
    May 16th, 2012 @ 10:24 pm

    I love this post! I get so tired of people using the bible to justify hate. There are several bible versus that are not followed that are ridiculous nowadays so why pick and choose what supports our agenda?

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    Spilled Milk (and Other Atrocities) by Law Momma is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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