Christians Don’t HAVE to Suck

[ It is important that you read the previous article, “Christians Suck,” before this one. This article addresses some of the questions brought up by it. ]

You know, I appreciate everyone’s kindness in addressing the last article. I’m glad it didn’t turn into a denominational explosion of different Christians going at, the likes of which you may see on Facebook or YouTube. I’m impressed.

The number one question I got is “What do you suggest we do about it, Matt? How can Christianity change?” That is a great question, and right in line with the thoughts I had while writing the first article. I don’t have a direct answer to that BIG question, but I do have a supposition or two.

The following possibility does exist.

You ask if Christianity can change? I don’t really know. I wonder if it’s because of America. In America, our beliefs are not oppressed. It’s kind of like being in a relationship with someone that you love dearly, but seeing him/her every minute of every day for the next week. You still love him/her, but the excitement is gone. There has to be some deprivation (School, work, business trips) in order to fully realize just how much you want to be with that person.

I feel the same is true with Christianity. We are oversaturated with church, and the freedom to express our beliefs. This is great, but it allows Satan to get in there and really affect Christianity using our own humanity, because we don’t miss other Christians or the free pursuit of God.

If this is true, though, that paints a very bleak view for the future of Christianity in America. It means that we always need something to fight for.

What backs this up, unfortunately, is a retroactive look back through history. Since the foundation of the church after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Christianity has constantly gone toe to toe with governments. The Roman Empire, The Protestant Reformation, The Crusades, The American Revolution… all of these and more have been based at least in part on a government that limits the freedom of Christians.

Now that we’re here in an America that, with few exceptions, allows an unlimited breadth of allowance when it comes to corporate worship, we should theoretically be able to influence the world like never before. Yet, I don’t really see the drive to do that. I see Christianity more divided internally than ever; each person with their own squabbles about doctrine.

So… maybe it’s true. Maybe the Christian machine was designed to fight, and cannot flourish without one. Without an external war, the war simply moves internal, to one another.

But I don’t think that neither you nor I really believe that’s the way God designed the church. So… maybe we’re not too far gone.

How can we change the world? Glad you asked. These are things you can do as an individual. If enough individuals truly grasp these ideas, we can begin to change the church.

1. Each individual most be intelligent enough to think for him/herself.

I see the church thinking for the individual, these days. We all know how well that worked when the church was in control of the government, right? I see a generation of Christians who simply take what their given from church leaders. This is incorrect. A Christian must be intelligent enough to both understand the Bible, and to be educated enough function in society. This is not a requirement of salvation, but it is important in understanding the world which we are called to show Christ to.

2. Understand that church attendance does NOT make or break your relationship with Jesus.

Most pastors will do everything they can to guilt you into this lie until you think it’s true. No. Your mission comes directly from the Lord. It is wonderful if you can find a shelter of believers, but don’t think for a second that the religious act of going to church every Sunday is how you radiate Christ.

3. Don’t be so quick to jump on the “Christian bandwagon.”

The Bible clearly says homosexuality is wrong, but don’t take my word for it. Google it. Read it in your Bible. Put your finger on it. Do that for every topic that comes your way. You may find that you’re being mislead. Climate change, for instance… you need to decide that one for yourself. Know what YOU believe, not what your youth pastor believes.

4. Be a part of the world, without being worldly.

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to understand culture and everything in it, all the while not sinning. Know the trending TV shows; make friends with the agnostic in your class. This will help you come across as one-hundred percent “real” with people who don’t believe in Jesus, and not a wellspring of snippets from the latest Casting Crowns song.

5. Shine, don’t suck.

It’s going to take a lot of time and effort to break free from this Christian culture we’re trapped in, but I think it’s possible.
I think…
We can do this…

 

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Matthew Estes

Matthew Estes currently exists in the ether between graudate student and full-time worker. One day he hopes to be a full-time novelist and blogger, but until that day comes he spends his time playing video games, eating pizza, and being with his soon-to-be wife. However, he has yet to do all three at the same time. Bucket list stuff, you know.