I admit that I have had antagonistic relationships with Christians. When I was younger, I was outspokenly atheist, I wouldn’t even bother with the term “agnostic.” I also didn’t shave my legs or brush my long hair very often. I did have a few friends who were Christians, and I admired the for the peace and joy that they possessed, but I was not inspired by the girl who named her fetal pig after me. Nor the one who planned to slip a razor in my backpack so I would shave my legs. I managed not to lump them together, but realized there was something seriously wrong with one of the professing girls who chose a child’s Christian song for her tap dance final. She thought she was a testimony of God’s grace. I thought she was clueless.
I say all this because I was thinking about my mom. She almost never goes to church, but if she does she goes with us. I don’t know if she reads her Bible but never has one in her room. One day she did come to church with us and she shocked me by taking communion. For those of you that don’t know, taking communion is one of the few Protestant church’s sacraments. In the last week of Jesus’ life, he is dining with his disciples. He invites them to take bread, as it is a symbol of His body that would be broken for them, and wine, which is a symbol of His blood. It’s serious stuff and a huge no-no for a non-believer to partake. There are incidents of deaths cause by approaching the table in an unworthy manner. All of us are unworthy, but are made clean because of Jesus. Since she does not profess Jesus as her savior, take communion was not a good idea.
I’m not saying she deserves to die because of what she did, but I am saying it was not such a wise thing to do. Believe or not, of course you are welcome in any church I’ve ever belonged to. The issue is this, if you don’t believe in Jesus, why would you even want to do something as disgusting as eat someone’s flesh and drink someone’s blood. It makes no sense to me.
However! I thought that perhaps she had become a Christian and just didn’t tell me. So I asked. She said she always believed she just didn’t believe in all the bad people that are in church.
Now, I’ve heard this before, and so have you. You love Jesus but you don’t love Christians. You don’t go to church because of the people there. My first response (sadly my response was unspoken) should be, “Do you really believe that you are better than everyone else that goes to church?” That’s what it sounds like. What kind of spiritual arrogance is that? (I easily recognize spiritual arrogance because I am so guilty of it.) If you love Jesus, is it really possible to look at His true church, which is His body – all linked together like hands and elbows and necks and heads – with true contempt.
I’m not talking about voting for Bush, here. I’m not talking about over-looking the corruption I see in churches, but I am talking about what it really means to love and follow Jesus. I just do not think it is possible to do it without the love of other Christians, and the way I see it most abundantly is in a church setting. I do know what it’s like to be in churches where there was something very wrong, heck, I readily admit I was involved in a cult for a while, but I also know the damage that was done to me by not being involved in a church. Things went bad.
More about that another day.