I’m not sorry if my love for Jesus and my church offends you. I don’t read my Bible, say my prayers, or try to spread love because I want to annoy you. Nor do I do it because I am stupid or somehow inferior to your intellect. I love Him for personal reasons. From the dark places I never thought I’d live through to the high places I cannot believe I was graced to experience – Jesus makes me a happier, better person. Maybe not everyone (like my man JC told me, I’m not here to judge! Just love!) but for me, Jesus is love. He feels right. He helps me through my hard times.
I’m ok if He’s not that for you. I don’t look down on you. I don’t think less of you. I will not try to convert you, tell you what you’re missing out on, or try to get to you to come to my church. You know where I stand and you know where to find me. If you look us up, great. If not, that’s fine too. It is completely up to you and I respect you for that.
However, what I don’t understand is a recent trend I have noticed and been subjected to. The mocking of churches, Jesus, religion, and faith directly to believers. What gives? I’ve never once told the non-believers in my life I think they’re stupid for not believing, so why do the digs about believers keep being hurled around me? Is it cool to mock Christians? Or religious people? If so, why?
I bite my tongue when it happens, again respecting everyone has different views, but why do mine get attacked? Yes, I know there are some real zealots who may try to push their religion or beliefs on others – I don’t agree with that and see where it can be offensive – but why is it ok to then push non-beliefs at people and tease them for believing?
I know what the numbers say – I’m in a shrinking minority. In 2007, only 39% of adults attended church, which fell to 36% in 2014 in a recent Pew study. In 2019, I have no idea what the number is but by looking around my church I would guess it fair to say the number is probably down again. In the 1950s, the numbered hovered between 46%-49% according to a Gallup poll.
Why the drop off over the years? I’m not turning a blind eye to anything – inclusion, diversity, transparency, decency, and a host of other issues have soured the church for many. It’s not ok. I’m not going to tell anyone to “get over it” or to just give church another chance. We all have different personal experiences within the same group experience. I will never say you are wrong. I will never say you don’t have a right to your feelings. I will never take away your right to your opinions or your right to disagree with me. I’d even welcome informed conversation (not to change either of our minds, but just to gain a little insight).
However, for the love of all things – could you stop making a mockery of my religion? Especially to my face? Because I’m going to be honest here, it’s happening more and more with each passing year and it’s getting downright annoying. Grow up. You love Jesus? Great. You don’t, that’s fine too. You do you, but quit attacking me.
I’m not sure when talking smack about Jesus and bashing people who love God became cool. Maybe it was the 90s? When we were all angsty and alternative rock made ambivalence look cool. Perhaps it was before that, in the 60s or 70s as people started rebelling against “the institution” and “the man” – which definitely includes the church. It’s possible the 80s with outbreak of AIDS, spreading drug epidemic, and fraudulent television preachers embezzling money was the tipping point for many. Those are all completely valid reasons for someone walking away from church and religion.
I do not blame you for hating church and thinking God is a joke.
However, no matter how you reached your level of distaste for organized religion, your mockery isn’t cool. Misanthropy and nihilism do not make you cool. Being forever cynical, finding only the bad in people and situations isn’t proof that you’re better than those of us who believe in a higher being. You do not achieve a level of higher intellect by rejecting God.
Bashing someone else’s beliefs or non-beliefs doesn’t make you smart. It makes you an asshole.
It’s kind of like how I feel about vegetarians. I applaud your commitment, but I really believe meat is good! I don’t understand people who don’t love football. What do you do on fall weekends? I also don’t get the pumpkin spice trend so clearly I’m no expert on the right way to do autumn. I feel bad that people who jog at 5am instead of sipping coffee under a quilt are missing out on pure quiet joy. I don’t understand or believe in ANY of that, but high fives all around to those who do and thanks for letting me in on a little bit.
Thanks for that stuffed mushroom recipe. I really thought a meal without meat wasn’t worth eating, but I was wrong. That was freaking amazing. Thank you to my friends who will plan our fall orchard trips around my beloved MSU football schedule. I’m down for fall fun, but I require a certain amount of pigskin. You’re in a marathon? I will cheer you on like a boss. I will like your pics, wish you luck, track you on whatever app or text program you share with me. I am proud of you doing what you love, even though I will forever maintain a defense mechanism isn’t a fun hobby. I don’t get it, I love you, thanks for not asking me to join you, and I’m all in to support you.
Why can’t the same be said about people who love Jesus? Why am I a “stupid sheep” for following my shepherd? Does seeing someone study and love a book about love seriously offend you?
I don’t push my religion on others. You want to read what I write? Great. You want me to talk about how great God has been in my life? Let’s do it. Am I going to ask you if you’ve found Jesus/a church/prayed today? Not a chance in Hell. Do I think we should push religious agendas on people? Not at all. First of all, there are lots of religions out there – I can’t say I’m doing this “right”. I’m just doing it my best and I think that counts for something. I think that alone deserves at least a basic level of human respect.
This summer, a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses came knocking on my door. Door-to-door religion is not my jam. As for me and my house, we aren’t going to ring your doorbell. It’s not how we do Jesus. I don’t really agree with it. But, on a 90 degree day in July when a group arrived on my doorstep dressed in their Sunday best to spread love in their way? I wasn’t going to mock or belittle that.
At our house? We told them we love Jesus. Then, they all got big ice cold bottles of water. We don’t agree or embrace their methods of how they do Jesus, but this is how we do Jesus. No judging , hate, mocking, belittling, or arguing. Just love. Even if your thoughts or practices are different than mine, you will get the same respect from me too. I will forever show my children that at our house we love Jesus by loving others. And its ok if other people love people differently.
When I hear people mocking or belittling my faith, I will not bite or argue. I believe with my whole heart that “hurt people, hurt people.” Jesus warned us all we would be mocked for following him so I am well-prepared. When you mock my belief of a higher power, however, you are telling me I am stupid. You are implying I am foolish. You somehow have everything figured out and you’re clearly think you’re better for not needing a “crutch” to help you get through your darkest days.
Oddly enough, if my response was to mock back? I’m labeled as being “righteous”, judgemental, and pushing an agenda. There is really no way to respond other than to refuse to take part in the show. I will not give you the outrage your seek nor will I quietly stand by to play audience for your cruel rhetoric.
What do I get from God and church?
I get hope. I get a community, sense of purpose for my time on Earth, and a compass to help steer my heart in difficult times.
When I needed help finding a job, my church family helped me with my resume and coached me through the interview process. When I faced a long custody case for my son, my church family represented me and showed up to support us. When my world felt like it was crashing down, they came to my rescue. They pray for me, check in on me, love my family, love my children, and will always be by my side. I can look around the sanctuary any given Sunday and see many people who have made my life better. They have made my family’s lives better – in ways they and the world may never know.
And it all started by loving Jesus.