“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Ghandi
I remember where I was in my faith back in my early 20’s. I went from being a dedicated Christian to someone who completely drifted away from church. I could no longer believe because Christians had done enough to mar my view of Christianity.
Sure, I still believed in God. Jesus was somewhere in there. But I didn’t trust Christians.
Christians were the ones who cared more about who they saw in church rather than welcoming a stranger. Christians were the ones who could profess Jesus and faith in one second and tear you down in the next.
Even after coming back to Christianity in my mid to later 20’s, I still have experienced unChrist-like Christians. It’s a miracle that I still come back to this faith when I hear the hatred, shame and bigotry in the name of God and Jesus. With the hate that goes on in the name of our faith, it’s a miracle there are still Christians in our world.
People wonder why youth are leaving the church? There are a number of reasons why. I believe trust is a piece of the puzzle. Church is supposed to be a safe-space for people to be their truest selves. When Christians can’t be the person God made them to be, faults included, then they drift away from the church.
Why would people come to church if they were told God hated their gay friends? Or that they are sinful because they’re living with their boyfriend/girlfriend? Or that their type of music isn’t good enough for the church? Or they messed up something during the worship service?
I experienced it first-hand throughout my entire life. And I know I’m not the only one who has experienced this.
Yet I keep coming back. I come back to the church. I keep affirming my place in Christianity. Some days are so very hard to be a Christian in our world. But then I just remember how damaged people are and how much hurt they are experiencing. And I still need to be there for them.
Unfortunately, their hurt is contagious. More people are becoming part of the “nones” because Christianity is the faith of the hypocrites.
For many of us, we still keep on trying to believe and be part of the church even when we are denied grace and love from our fellow Christians. We know that the true faith of Christ isn’t reflected in everyone who calls themselves Christian.
For my fellow Christians out there – we must continuously ask ourselves some questions so that we are not causing this pain in others’ lives. Are our actions keeping people from experiencing the love and grace of God? Are we harder on each other than God would be on us? If we are, then it’s time for us to embrace grace. Otherwise, more and more people will become part of the Church Alumni Association (as John Shelby Spong would call it).