Let's face it, you guys, Christianity has gotten sort of a bad rap lately (thanks goes to the Tea Party as well as the Anonymity of the Internet!). It could just be where I live in California, but I hear it a lot. There is a lot of lambasting of Christians and Christianity that I don't think is always called for. Christianity isn't the only religion who takes heat, of course, but since it is a mainstream religion and has a gazillion followers, it gets a lot of press.
Google (how I love you, Google) has a function where it predicts your search based on popular other searches that begin with what you are writing. It's all very techy and I don't get it, but look at what happens when I start to type "Christians are" and "Christianity is"
That's not very flattering, is it? I would have thought there would be a nice mix of positive and negative searches, but nope. All bad.
Also, if you read comments on online news stories, you'll see some pretty nasty stuff. I know, I know, most of these people are fueled by the faux courage that comes from having an internet persona, but still, stuff like this is what is being said:
"Then one sunny afternoon, a couple of elders stopped by the house to talk to me about how much I was dropping into the collection plate. I had been tithing 10% of my take-home pay. But they reasoned since we lived in a big fancy house on a hill and since my mother drove a Cadillac and given that my parents paid for my food and clothes, I should be contributing more. In essence, it was a shakedown. I never went back. I WAS born again and got a bill for my trouble."
"I just saw a news story about a Salvation Army bell ringer who was assaulted by a woman who was upset that the bell ringer wished her Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas. How could such a good Christian woman take offense at something like that?"
"Or look up organizations that helpvictims of Christian upbringing: Homeschooler's Anonymous and No Longer Quivering are good places to start."
"Most religions are little more than cults, and evangelical sets of anything are thinly veiled cults."
"Why should I live my life according to some book that I think holds no value other than being a bunch of stories?"
"would you please point out the "Christians" - I just see bigots, racists, and haters - are those the "Christians" you are referring to?"
"the word Christians, bigots, racist and haters are all interchangeable."
This makes me sad, especially since there is something we can do about it. I think we need to take a stand and give Christianity the Image make-over it deserves. Jesus was all about loving and we need to be that too. Not everyone is going to believe in God or follow Christianity, but we need to make it so they don't have such nasty things to say.
It's OK for people like Phil Robertson to express his beliefs, but I think it is important to watch how we express them. We need to choose our words carefully and speak from a place of love. We aren't perfect and should never claim to be. We need to be the change that silences those who are bigoted in the "name of God."
Let's be the person Jesus expects us to be and save the judgment for The ONE qualified to hand it out.