Friday, May 26, 2006

Reading the Bible with new eyes

I grew up in church.

I went to a Christian university.

I work at a ministry.

Yet, instead of being inspired by Christians, I have become disillusioned by them. What truly bothers me is seeing "Christians" profess hate and intolerance in the name of Christianity! It amazes me that Christians feel the need and the right to profess their loathing irregardless of what anyone else might think or feel. It disturbs me that so many Christians profess these kinds of beliefs *and* it disturbs me that the media picks up on that and publicizes "moral" Christians as the people that are adamantly against certain groups of people.

Though these types of behaviors have made me question Christianity, a friend once told me that I need to remember that Christianity is a good's Religiosity that makes Christianity look bad. Following Christ's example is good. If we really did that exactly the way it is presented in the Bible, Christianity would look much different than the way it is portrayed in the media. However, religiosity and judgment have taken over. We, as Christians, need to reclaim Christianity for what it really is.

Let me reflect for a minute about the Jesus I read about in my Bible. Jesus hung out with tax collectors and sinners. He invited Zaccheus to hang with him despite his reputation. He forgave a woman who had been caught in adultery. He honored the faith of a lady who simply touched his garment. Jesus put himself in situations that caused other "religious" leaders to question him. Although he did not agree with their actions, he formed relationships with them. As a result of his willingness to be in relationships with them, he was also able to influence their behavior...not by preaching *at* them, but by being *with* them and having conversations...challenging conversations.

In response to my frustration with Christianity, a friend of mine told me the other day, "Read the Bible with new eyes." I hadn't thought about that before. She's right. The Bible has the answers. It's just that the "religious" part of Christianity has gotten in my way and blocked my view. I grew up thinking that Christianity was about being in attendance every Sunday, condemning those who are not walking the straight and narrow (as defined by the church I attended), disassociating myself from those who are leading questionable lives, and not playing musical instruments.

Instead, I have learned that Christianity is about building relationships with people, loving people through their issues, and modeling my life after Jesus.
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