Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Fashion of the Christ

I got to eat lunch with Jes today. I hadn't seen her in probably a good 6 months, and, before that, not since her wedding last July.

We talked for hours and caught up and reminisced. And then she we started opening up to each other about things--stories from the past--that she had never told me because she thought I would think she was a terrible person.

"You went through a really religious phase," she said.

Yeah, I know.

And I've never been so sorry for it. I resent a lot of the things I had to deal with: the guilt, the lies, the wasted time when I could have been doing other things. But, I sincerely worked through it and ultimately came to see all of those experiences as positive since, 1. there actually were good times that I had and good people and relationships that came out of all of it. and 2. I wouldn't have the good sense and wisdom I do now from having come full circle.

But, after hearing Jes say that, I felt so terrible. I'm glad she told me. I am glad to know how she felt. And what an amazing friend and beautiful person to have stuck by me even though I was such an ass for so long and she didn't agree with my perspective at all.

To know that I made her feel like there were things--and we're not talking about bad things here, people--that she couldn't tell me because I was so judgmental, closed-minded, and religious, well, that just sucks.

And it reminds me what being a good Christian is really all about. It's about show. It's about hearing somebody say the words, "I accept Christ as my personal savior" and then moving on to another one. It's about following all the rules, but then going on and on about how it's not about that at all, because it's about a personal relationship with Jesus. It's about knowing absolutely nothing about your religion's history, or the Bible, or things that were culturally relevant at the time of the Bible, or science, or anything standing in opposition to what you believe. But feel free to talk at length about all of those things, cause, you know, what's a little bit of education compared to the persuasive power of lighting, music cues, and guilt?

It really is a fashion of the Christ; it's a good show to be put on. And once I meet someone who considers himself to be a Christian in the sense that I have been raised to understand it who doesn't possess these unbearable qualities maybe I will reconsider.


katie said...

It's so sad how Christianity can be so ugly. I too regret a lot of the religious crap I put people through when I was younger. I even remember thinking at the time "I don't want to be this way, but I want to do what is right" I remember yelling at God that there must be another option. I remember trying to find another option and being told by other 'christians' that I was going to hell over it. And that is, essentially, why I had to leave wheeling. Because that suffocating, mean, nasty religion was not going to leave me alone and wasn't going to let me be a real person and was probably going to kill me in one way or another.
I maintain that it is, in fact possible to be a real and kind and compassionate person and be a Christian. It's just a rarity more than a rule. And it sucks, because it shouldn't be that way.

cp22 said...

Isn't this kind of like lumping all Christians into one big stereotype the way some Christians lump other people into another big stereotype? I'm not trying to be argumentative here; I'm curious as to this reasoning.