Something hit me like a tonne of bricks this morning.
For years I’ve struggled with the fact that I don’t tend to agree with a lot of people in the Church on certain things. I’m very liberal, and quite opinionated, and things like gay marriage and abortion and women as leaders, well basically I’m pretty much for all of them (when I say I’m pro-abortion I mean I’m pro-choice rather than pro-life).
But this isn’t going to be a post all about those things because that’s the exact opposite of what I’m trying to get across to you today.
For the longest time I’ve felt like I just don’t agree with people on certain topics and that because of that, because of the way some people have treated me or spoke to me because of those opinions, I thought I was doing something wrong or that my faith wasn’t right.
I know already that a tonne of you are sitting there ready to quote all the Bible verses you can think of to me on those topics; please don’t.
And why not? Because it’s just not about that; it’s not about that at all and never has been.
This morning in church we sang ‘Build Your Kingdom Here’ by Rend Collective Experiment and it hit me that I’m just as much an important part of the Church as all the pro-lifers and people who don’t support gay marriage.
There’s a line in the song that goes like this:
“We are Your Church.
We need Your power in us.”
And it’s so simple but it has so much meaning.
We, as in all the people who are Christians, are a part of the Church, the Church with a capital ‘C’, the one that means family and community, not the church building. And because we’re all a part of the Church with all our differing opinions, all our wounds, all our flaws, all our gifts, we are all important. So regardless of all those things, putting all of that aside, we need the power of God in us to love people just like He loves us, to be the shining light in the darkness.
Yesterday a girl I hardly know any more took it upon herself to publicly attack me on Facebook because of the way I had presented my opinion on women as leaders in the Church. She didn’t necessarily disagree with my opinion but felt it was her place to tell me that the way I had presented it was “ridiculous” and “ignorant” (using those exact words). She told me I was presenting the Church in a bad light and that if I continued this way people would get the wrong idea of what the Church was. She kept calling me her “sister in Christ”, which was really very patronising, and eventually apologised but continued to tell me what I’d said was unbiblical and even said, “I guess I’m just too quick to point out flaws.” The cherry on top was when she told me she would pray for me and that I was on a “slippery slope”, that I was putting myself in the position of God by saying that the Bible wasn’t necessarily always relevant to our current times.
In that situation, “I’ll pray for you” is just another way of saying “go f*** yourself.”
I’ve never been so unbelievably livid and I’m sure the way I responded to her made her think I needed even more of her prayer.
This isn’t the first time this has happened to me; a situation where someone who barely knows me takes it upon themselves to “rebuke” me and tries to say that’s what they’re meant to do as a good Christian and that they’re doing it out of love.
Both of these people did nothing but make me angry and push me even further away from the Church, using the fact that they’ve gained “great” teaching from doing missions or going to a supposedly brilliant church to try and justify why they’re doing it.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m good at this whole Christianity thing, not by any means. But what hit me this morning is that while there are some people who don’t question a lot, there are quite a lot of us who do, and not necessarily questioning God, not necessarily who He is or who Jesus was, but we wonder if we’re really meant to take such a strong stance against things like gay marriage and abortion.
I think there’s a lot of people like me who, if totally honest, would say they’re unsure about some things in the Bible. They would say that they don’t know if a lot of the apparently important stuff was maybe lost in translation because humans are flawed.
So while I could have let what that girl said get to me, it has actually strengthened me. Not in my annoyance with the differing opinions in the Church, but in knowing that I am who I am, in Christ, for a very good reason.
At the end of the day being a Christian is about loving people. If a Christian believes gay marriage is wrong, if they don’t think women should be leaders, if they’re pro-life, I need to love those Christians just as much as I love everyone else because we’re a family, we’re a community. I don’t need to be best friends with them, but loving people is the most important thing.
After my experience yesterday, after being “rebuked”, being spoken to completely condescendingly, after being patronised and told, “you’re wrong, you’re ignorant”, I’m going to take that and turn it into good.
So, to all my fellow liberal Christians: please keep being who you are, keep supporting whatever it is you support that you find constantly ruffles a few feathers. Thinking outside the box is not a bad thing and your salvation is not found in your opinions, it is found in nothing other than Jesus Christ.