Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm Not a Christian

"WHAT?!" you may be thinking. If you know me or have even read my profile you know that I am a Messianic Christian. At least, that's what I'm calling myself for lack of a better term. But when I compare myself to mainstream, American, church attending Christians, the term just doesn't feel very accurate. Most of them celebrate Christmas and Easter and I don't. Many are very wrapped up in this man-made version of The Church, that I don't believe looks anything like the way Yeshua intended. Most are conservative Republicans, even if they don't agree with the party platform, because Republican is almost as much a religion as Christianity.

There's that word- Religion. Obviously, I'm painting broad stroke stereotypes and I'm well aware that they don't hold true for every person who calls themselves a Christian. However, this is the image that seems to be conjured up at the very mention of the word "Christian." It's all about Religion, gettin' religion, havin' a revival, hallelueah! Who can be more religious, build a bigger church, have a bigger congregation, control the political arena, other people's lives, and even other countries, in the name of God, amen!

Now, I'm really not critisizing my brothers and sisters in Yeshua. Not every church is like this and certainly not every individual Christian thinks this way. Most would agree that it's our relationship with Jesus that matters, and the rest is fluff. I'm just pointing out that this is the way non-Christians see us, and they didn't pull this image out of nowhere.

I'm actually quite embarrassed to call myself a Christian, given the less than stellar reputation Christians seem to have. Most often I'm embarrassed when I tell someone I'm a Christian, and it causes them to have a flash-back to their childhood where they recall getting beat with a belt in the name of God. Some non-Christians immediately think of people holding signs that say "God hates you. You're going to Hell." If the person worked in a restaurant they are sure to have experienced the Christians who don't tip on Sundays, but leave a tract instead.

Most people are reasonable enough to recognize that not all Christians have the same beliefs about... well... anything outside of this general "beliving in the Bible" and those details are hotly debated. They recognize that we're all failible human beings regardless of title or affiliation. It still breaks my heart though, that the very word "Christian" can build up more walls between two people than it breaks down. Certainly not what Yeshua wants.

So, what to call myself? I'd prefer not to title it at all. What *it* is, is a relationship between myself and Yeshua with the Bible as a guide, a history, a revelation, a glimpse into the heart of Elohim. How can a word describe a relationship?


  1. I hear ya!
    I just wrote this recently.

  2. Nice post. I was "raised" Lutheran. Well, not really. More like I decided I wanted to find out more about this God character when I was in fourth grade, and that is where my parents took me. Oddly enough, I loved church, and I had great experiences growing up. For me, it was always about feeling I had a relationship with Jesus. So I get that. Then I discovered world religion and went down a more all encompassing path. But the weird thing is, I got involved with UU churches, so I know just what you mean! So much damage there. My church in CA decided they were going to do an old testament curriculum one year, and some of the parents flipped out and wouldn't let their kids participate. It was crazy!

    I dated a guy in college who was part of this church with no name. That sounds dramatic, but it was really part of their stance. They were trying to get back to what they thought the vision was all about. There were also no leaders. Wish I could tell you more, but as I said, no names! There were others like them, though, I know, and their meetings were pretty cool!

  3. Stephanie- I love that word you used "churchianity." So fitting!

    Lisa- I remember you telling me about that church when we first met. It sounds really interesting!

    I have known several people who attended UU churches. It seems like they were attracted to UU because of the message of love that is offered which was in such sharp contrast to the message they had received from a lot of Christians. I wish they could meet the God of the Bible that I know. He does have rules and He lays them out very clearly. But He is full of love and grace and compassion when we mess up. There is this beautiful balance between law and grace.

    That's kind of where I am right now in my journey. I understand and accept grace in Yeshua, and now I'm learning more about how He wants me to live. It is so joyful and freeing to come to this place through my own convictions in my relationship with Him, rather than through the guilt and shaming of a church.