Throughout my life I was told by “Christian” pastors, children’s ministers, camp leaders, youth directors, Sunday school teachers, and other church workers and parishioners so many heartfelt, dignified, and loving words about what Christianity was through the life and ministry of Jesus.

I believed them.

Today, I no longer see those same people living the very words they taught me. They have embraced the exact opposite, in fact, yet still cling to the title “Christian.”

It’s weird. My non-Christian friends seem somehow more like Jesus than those who claim to follow him these days. So, I thought I would recall some of those words I was taught as a child and characterize exactly how hollow they have become. Let me be clear–

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Love one another,” but actively love your own flesh and blood above all others.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me “love your neighbor as yourself,” but you thought of “neighbor” only as those who looked like you, spoke like you, and worshiped as you did.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me “the last shall be first and the first last,” but now you merely say, “America First.”

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Do unto others,” but you now see “others” as the problem.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Love your enemies,” but forgot that the moment your enemies were Muslim or migrant, LGBT+ or liberal, black or brown.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Welcome the stranger,” but you now say, “Deport them,” or look the other way when we do.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “For I was sick and you cared for me,” but you believe healthcare is only meant for those who can afford it.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “I am my brother’s keeper,” but you’re okay with the wealthy keeping it all to themselves.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Blessed are the poor,” but your votes and actions bless the Corporation and big business.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!” but floods and fires still haven’t convinced you we are raping this creation.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Fear ends where faith begins,” but you’re absolutely terrified of anyone and anything that’s different, new, or unknown.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Forgive us our trespasses,” but you now say, “Law and order!”

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “in the image of God, he created them,” but you cannot say “Black lives matter,” even though you have no problem claiming “blue” ones do.

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “God loves a cheerful giver,” but now you say, “Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

You are not Christian….

…if you told me, “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” but you think the president “tells it like it is” despite over 20,000+ documented lies.

I could go on but the point is made.

Today’s Christianity has been bastardized by American culture, warped by Republican talking points, twisted by social media memes and disinformation, and all those things those “leaders” of “faith” seemingly held dear when I was a child have been entirely lost, traded for the love of one thing–power.

I’m mesmerized by this. I think it’s fascinating and disturbing that people of faith could so easily be manipulated to forget the language of their own spirituality, embracing instead what looks more and more everyday like fascism, plain and simple.

I’m lead to believe that they were never Christian to begin with if their “Christianity” could so easily and quickly be warped into the exact opposite of what they once believed. Those “words” of wisdom, of love, of human dignity were nothing more than stock, superficial phrases they never stopped to really think about, care for, digest, or find challenging.

And maybe, weirdly, there’s some comfort in that. The loss doesn’t seem so great if they were never really Christian. We are living in a time, amid such intense isolation and heartache, that we’re uncovering our uglier sides and having to grapple with our fellow demons. The good news, if there is any, is that in seeing who we really are, and who we are not, there’s a kind of cleansing happening, a freedom afoot, and a chance to start from scratch on how we define ourselves–and those we call kindred.

They are not Christian.

And maybe that’s a good thing.

2 Comments

  1. Yes, all these things you say are true and the most scary part is they really believe they are following their Christian values. They distort the values to suit their needs. I really don’t know what is going to happen next in our country, but I’m terrified it’s going to be really bad. May be this is the end of our “civilization” as the United States of America. Maybe this is what Jesus spoke of in the bible about “False Prophets” and to beware of them. All I know is we are in the middle of a reckoning like this country has never seen before. I watched part of the convention last night and they made no mention of any of the problems going on in our world. It’s like they ignore them and aren’t in touch with reality.

    Like

    1. I think it’s just plain old cognitive dissonance, that when they ignore all those other issues, they do so because they aren’t able to deal with confronting the ugly truth. great points!

      Like

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