I want to be friends with the Pope.

Growing up as a Christian every so often I would come across people who made me think, “They’re so Christ-like”. In recent months these illusions have been shattered and my views of many of those people have changed entirely.

This morning I was reading about Pope Francis and what he’s been up to in 2013, and I’ve decided that I’d really like to be friends with him because I think he’s one of the first genuine Christians I’ve ever come across. There haven’t been many but he’s definitely one of them.

Really it all comes back to rules, doesn’t it? It all comes back to the fact that this guy is totally ignoring all the junk that people have put down as rules to be a Christian. It comes back to the fact that he isn’t afraid to hang out with criminals, women, Muslims, homeless people. It comes back that to the fact that he cares about the environment and wants to protect the rainforest and its native people. It comes back to the fact that he phoned a women who had been raped and told her she wasn’t alone. It comes back to the fact that he doesn’t think atheists are bad people.

So if the Pope is doing all this stuff why isn’t the rest of the Church? Why do we debate over women leading congregations? Why do we push gay people out of the Church because their “lifestyle choices” (homosexuality is neither a lifestyle or a choice) are “wrong” and only support heterosexual couples? Why is the topic of sexuality very seldom, if at all, discussed in Church? Why do we act as if Muslims are the enemy? Why do we refuse to care about the environment, choosing to say that it isn’t our fault? Why do we force people to look at photos of dead foetuses, forgetting that women don’t want to have abortions? Why do we think that just because someone doesn’t believe in God it means they’re a bad person; did we not all question at one point?

I don’t feel a part of this thing we call the Body of Christ any more because there’s far too much bitterness and exclusion and I don’t really think it’s what Jesus ever wanted. What we know as the Body of Christ, as the Church, is ugly and rotting and broken and that would be okay (because Jesus died so we could be okay, so we could know love) if we didn’t force all our pain on to others. We’re a broken people who’ve forced our brokenness on the world, forgetting what love really looks like and failing miserably to communicate it and pretending like that’s okay because “we’re only human”. But it’s not okay if you constantly say you’re meant to be “different” but yet continue hurting people. It’s easy to go out and do nice things for people but if your thoughts, your opinions, everything you keep inside, screams of hate and anger and judgement, then what’s the point in trying to make people think that you’re good? I don’t think actions speak louder than words, I think both go hand in hand and I don’t think God will ever say, “well you told that gay person they were living wrong but you fed some homeless people so it’s okay.”

I just don’t really want to be called a Christian any more because I think that word has far too many negative connotations. I’m trying to find out who God really is, what He’s doing in my life right now, and what exactly He wants me to do with my time on earth. I’m trying to figure out if the love of God really exists, if it can really be found in this world any more, and what it’s like to really know that love (the unconditional love that I’ve heard so much about but that has been overshadowed by the conditions created by Christians). No amount of nice worship songs or Christian blogs or Church services can help me any more, this is between me and God. I can’t tell you what the outcome will be, maybe I’ll realise that God just isn’t what I thought He was, or maybe I’ll realise that I can’t live without Him. I’m not afraid to question, to doubt, to be unsure. I’m not afraid because if God is who He says He is then I’ll go back to Him, and if He isn’t my time will be better spent on other things.

Life is meant to be figured out, to be poked and prodded, to be questioned. It isn’t a stagnant thing, it isn’t consistent. People were made to change and grow and I’m not afraid of change.

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