When I say I am a Christian…
I’m apologizing for all the damage that “religion” has done. For the Crusades, the crooked “saints,” the two-faced politicians, hate speech, oppression, and self-righteous smucks. This is not right and, I believe, far from the heart of God.
I’m admitting that I don’t care enough for the poor or the homeless or the widows or the orphans or the third-world countries. That it is easy for me to notice specks in the eyes of others when there are logs jammed in mine. That sometimes there are more questions than answers and, fortunately, I don’t know or need to know it all.
I’m announcing that the problem isn’t murder, or abortion, or homosexuality, or war, or politics, or our behavior. The problem is ME. And you. And that out of the 6 billion people living on this earth we can’t help, in our own futile strength, to look out for the best interests of anybody but ourselves. We are our own idols.
I’m advocating Jesus, the one who reached out to prostitutes, tax collectors, the lame, the blind, the outcasts; Jesus, who was a humble yet strong carpenter, who bore his cross on his own beaten back. Not Jesus, the “clean”, smiley-faced, white middle-class Republican.
I’m asking for patience and grace and prayer as I try to live out, daily, the love and truth of Jesus Christ. I’m asking for forgiveness. I am no better than anyone else. This is more than a list of do’s and don’ts; it’s more than religion. It’s about connecting with a real God and being in a relationship that changes the way you see things and people and yourself. That allows you to see things for what they really are, and makes things “make sense.”
Yes, I am a Christian. I say that not out of smugness but weakness. I need help. Because even my good works are tainted.
The only badge I wear with pride notes the merits of Christ, not my own. Christ is my one and only Purple Heart.
And God is not prideful. If you come to him, He will accept you as you are, even when you have so often returned his love with indifference.