Wednesday, September 5, 2012

We Are So Sure

on pop theology, philosophy, theology, culture, pop culture, christianity
by Amanda Taylor

I think someone just decided not to be with me because I am a Christian.

I feel certain it wasn’t my WWJD bracelet. It wasn’t my weatherworn journal/bible combo that I take to (insert hip local coffee shop), my cross necklace, fish bumper sticker, Chick-fil-A sandwich, or compulsion to remind folks Jesus is my homeboy on my super hip loose-fit v-neck tee.

It wasn’t any of those things because those are the things in life that make me want to punch a baby. I can’t wear my faith proudly around like a shiny banner of joy and peace, because I’m too busy silently brooding about how nonsensical Christianity is today.

And brood I do. I analyze. I watch. I listen. I contemplate. I assess. I obsess. I’m so engulfed in this cycle of frustration and fatigue that whoever responds to this fresh break-up of mine with an “everything happens for a reason” is not safe from a sincere and biting face-punch.

Not babies though, thank goodness. They can’t talk yet.

As I sit here, I can’t tell what hurts more: the fact that this beautiful, wonderful person is walking away, or that my own brothers and sisters in Christ have caused it. I have caused it. For all my cynicism, he knows how important faith is to me. He’s seen through the cold exterior of skepticism to a meek and seeking heart, one that needs Jesus. And it terrifies him.


It’s probably not an encouraging sign that he kept calling it “the religion thing”. “Back to the religion thing.” Yes, yes, let’s discuss that dumb thing called religion that has ostracized you, dumbfounded you, belittled you, told you that you weren’t good enough for someone. That religion thing. Yes, that’s my thing. Let’s talk about it.

I am no longer sure how many of us think eating a chicken sandwich is a meaningful way to follow Christ. It depends on which day you ask me. I’m inclined to believe most Christians don’t think tokens or phrases or buildings are the way to heaven, but I do worry that too many of us think we know the way with far too much certainty.

We know what Jesus thinks, we know what God wants, we know what it means for society and the way we must govern ourselves throughout the world. We are so sure.

Christians have had to continue to draw new lines in order to make sense out of the great mysteries of our Lord and Creator. The Great I Am. As we simplify the complexities of the good book into chewable bites, we find ourselves comfortably arranging our faith around these tokens and routines and phrases that provide us comfort and sensibility as they help us identify. Good. Bad. Me. You. Me. Other. In. Out.

This story that Christians are telling resonates far and deep into society, but we’re shielding ourselves from the repercussions of the tale. Life is HARD. It is hard. But God is supposed to make sense of it, to explain it, and to make it better. The harsh and acerbic reality of our lives is boxed up and wrapped in pretty fish-decorated, God-approved paper and passed around the world giving the “gift of Christ” to those in need. But what do they find when they open it? 

What is so frustrating is that this guy, my dear friend, doesn’t hate me, or Christians, or faith. He’s just not sure about it all because the story he’s hearing is one full of mistrust, and rules, and hierarchy. He’s an outsider. He’s afraid he’ll be a disappointment to me for not being sure enough.  

We are so sure

(Christianity) is not the sort of thing anyone would have made up.  It has just that queer twist about it that real things have.  So let us leave behind all these boys’ philosophies – these over-simple answers.  The problem is not simple and the answer is not going to be simple either.  – C.S. Lewis

You can follow Amanda on Twitter @tayloram03.

1 comment:

  1. my thoughts exactly