October 15, 2009 at 11:26 pm (Uncategorized)

religion is worthless. it got me nowhere.
i grew up in a legalistic church, a legalistic home, and a southern baptist pastor for a grandfather. every sunday and wednesday, pretense took over as we made our way to church. i sat in a room of people who did nothing but teach the “philosophy of the do not do.” meaning: do not drink, do not curse, do not have sex, don’t dance in church, keep your hands down during worship, wear your best for Jesus (because if you can’t look nice for Him, you shouldn’t look nice for anyone), if your opinion is harsh-keep it to yourself, women be quiet, men be holy and be a deacon, teenagers turn your music down, and children be quiet during the two-hour, adult-targeted, passionately yelled (with a perfectly timed tear or two) preaching of the “philosophy of the do not do.” no wonder i left every week, not knowing where to start on my list of things to stop doing. no wonder the church never really grew. the only people joining were other fake families with letters of transfer from “sister churches.”
of all things i hated about my upbringing, i think i hate the pretense the most. why waste your time trying to look like something you aren’t? why can’t people be real and upfront? don’t people need to show their hearts instead of their “Sunday best?” would outsiders not feel more comfortable in a REAL church instead of a fake one? since when did it become important what I wear or why there are drums on stage or the tattoo on my leg? how is it possible that teenagers can worship the Lord in a victorious way and the whole time be stared down by the “holier,” better dressed crowd sitting on the outskirts? it is such a sad, tragic moment when someone can watch the most romantic of moments – a child of God worshipping at the throne of their Creator – and judge. that seems more evil than any crime I can think of. what fulfillment do they find in donning their pastel, polyester outfits and doing their hair in the typical Sunday fashion and showing up with their family to church (ON TIME, of course) and walking in the air of perfection? do they feel as though it is worth it? don’t they know how fake they are? don’t they realize they are alienating the rest of the world? and not only the non-believers. don’t they know their “perfection” makes other believers feel as though they are coming up short? it is hard to believe in grace and mercy and redemption when the very people who have access to those things would prefer to stand with their arms crossed and their eyebrows lowered and judge my lack of perfection. what would they say if they knew they were pushing the world out the front door and sneaking me thru the back door for not measuring up? shouldn’t i feel at home in the local church instead of wondering if everything i’ve learned is a load of crap? i’d rather spend my time with people who are honest about their screw-ups, then to waste 5 hours on a Sunday with people who truly don’t care about the person next to them. i’m tired of pretending…but more so, i’m tired of feeling like i have to. i will never be enough, but a least i know that, instead of living in a cloud of fake perfection. ignorance may be bliss, but for those who hate the pretense, it simply annoys the hell out of us.
perhaps we (as the body of Christ) would be further along in reaching the unreached, if we would have put away the “philosophy of the do not do” and focused on others. instead of berating people for their sins, maybe we should introduce them to Someone who loves them in spite of it. more so, maybe we should tap into His character and love those people, too. the list of things to not do did nothing for me except make me feel ashamed and alienated. what if, instead of focusing on trying to look our best, we were real about who we really are? perhaps the rest of the world would be able to identify with us and actually WANT a relationship with Christ if we would stop acting like we aren’t real people.
the population of the world continues to increase and so does the number of unreached people. it is tragic that we have wasted so much time on religion instead of reaching the world for Christ. instead of giving me a list of stuff not to do, like drink or have sex, i wish i had been told that, whether i do those things or not, i’m still usable by the Holy Spirit. there are bigger fish to fry than the mistakes i make. perhaps we should be less concerned about the “don’t do” list and more concerned about the orphans, the widows, the hungry, the oppressed, the abused, the genocide, those without clean water, those dying daily from PREVENTABLE causes, the poor…why are most churches sitting in their pews, inwardly griping about how the worship service doesn’t specifically meet THEIR needs? why aren’t they out in the world, putting feet to their faith, and getting those feet dirty with the problems of the world?
the tragedy is, we’ve missed it. up to this point, we’ve missed out on what Jesus was really telling us to do. Jesus looked at the adulterous woman and said, “Go and sin no more.” you know what? i think she actually went and changed her life. but only because Jesus loved her FIRST…before He said that to her. no one wants conditional love. the Christianity i grew up with revolved around conditional love and performance based acceptance. i don’t even want it…and i certainly understand why the rest of the world doesn’t either.

*disclaimer* i did post this under a false name and email address. why? because i probably sit next to you on a Sunday morning and i’m just as self-conscious as the rest of the world. how do i know i won’t be ushered out the back door for having “radical” thoughts on the “forgotten” Gospel? how can i trust people who say one thing on Sunday, and something completely different Monday morning?

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