It’s not often that I have something of substance to share with the world. Mostly I have nonsensical things to share. I like jokes as much as the next person but occasionally things hit me the wrong way, or eat at me for a while and I eventually have to get them off my chest. This is one of those nights. So if you’re looking for a light happy read, I’m probably not going to provide it right now. I apologize in advance.
As long as I’ve had the capability to breathe on my own I have been a member of the Church. In fact, for a major portion of my childhood, my mother was my children’s pastor, so I’ve seen my fair share of church people, church issues and the inner workings of the church. Growing up I had a great perception of the term Christian. Everyone I associated myself with was a Christian. I accepted Christ myself at the age of 12 and went on to pursue my calling into Children’s ministry after high school.
It wasn’t until college that I began to see that I had been very blessed in my interactions with other Christians within the church. Through people I worked with and, even people I attended class with, I became aware that the term Christian can very easily have a negative connotation to it. I didn’t really get how this happened because of how I had grown up, and the people I had grown up around. Everyone I knew that was a Christian, or was associated with the church in any way, lived their life following Christ and living for him, so I, in no way, have ever seen the term Christian as negative.
Within the last year however, I have seen how this can easily happen. I graduated in May with a ministry degree and I began sending out my resume to different churches. I had several interviews with different churches and many different pastors. Most were very positive experiences and while I didn’t get any of those jobs I walked away from each one learning something in the process and knowing there was something else out there. However there were a few interactions that left me with a little bit of a sour taste. Situations in which I was contacted first, or was asked to send my resume. I would put a lot of effort, more than I probably should have, into getting back to these people immediately. I would email them back as soon as possible, call them whatever it was I needed to do, asking if they needed anything else from me. And then nothing. No calls back, no emails, no ‘thanks for your resume’. Nothing. I would get bummed trying to figure out how I possibly offended someone or made myself look unqualified just through sending a resume. I don’t feel like my resume makes me look like a bonehead. Maybe it does, but I don’t think so.
These experiences have not made me angry at Christian’s or the church in any way, don’t get me wrong. I still have a high opinion of people who are doing Christ’s work in the church setting, but these experiences did make me see how someone who wasn’t from church background could feel put off and ignored a little. Luckily, I know enough trustworthy, loving people in the Church and I’m strong enough in my faith that I’ve learned to brush off these negative experiences and focus on the positive ones with real Christlike people. But it’s not hard for me to see how someone who didn’t grow up in the church, and was a pastor’s kid, could be turned off by things such as this.
When you think of a leader of a church you think of someone who is willing to go out of their way to help people. Someone who is honest, even when it’s hard. You know, someone who acts like Christ. At least that’s what I’d like to think the people who are leading our churches are like. It sucks that there are people out there who are making Christians look like people filled with hate and anger towards others. There are people like Fred Phelps who do some of the most hateful things I can think of and they do it in the name of Christ. That’s not a Christian to me. There are also people who choose not to respond to any type of communication from a 22-year-old college grad rather than even attempt to hear her out. I would be lying if I said I didn’t lose a little respect for some of those people through those few experiences. I would greatly respect someone who came to me and said, “We’ve decided to go in a different direction.” or “You don’t quite have the experience we’re looking for” rather than a response that sounds similar to crickets. That’s not Christian to me either.
To me a Christian is someone who does their best in everything they do. They might not be the best, they might even be the worst but they’re doing their best. And the reason they’re doing their best is because they’re doing it for Christ. They’re living their life not focused on how they appear to the world or whether they have the newest gadgets and gizmos. They’re entire life is focused on whether or not they’re reflecting an attitude of Christ in their daily walk. The attitude of love, kindness, and all the other fruits of the spirit. It’s a life lived for something so much bigger than this world. All too often this isn’t the case in our world. And that’s what sucks. I guess I just wish I could apologize to all the people with negative perceptions of Christians. We’re not all that way, in fact most of us aren’t that way. I’d like to think that everyone who says they’re a Christian is reflecting a true Christ-like attitude, but I’m not naive. I know they’re not.
I just hope that I’m never that person bringing a negative view to Christians. I hope I never reach point where I’m so focused on myself that I can act hatefully to someone and be okay with it. I hope AND pray that I conduct myself in such a way that I reflect Christ. I hope people see me as living my life for something bigger than myself, something bigger than just this world. I hope that I’m seen as someone who is showing Christ’s love through my actions and words. And I also hope that if I’m not, someone calls me out really fast.
That’s it guys. I’m not even sure if anyone will read all of that and I’m not even sure it makes sense if anyone does but that’s what was on my heart. Thanks for listening to my diarrhea of the mouth if you did read all of that rambling. Much appreciated here. Don’t worry though. I only have serious thoughts every couple of months. I’ll probably go back to poop jokes and such tomorrow.