Thursday, January 2, 2014

"Jesus was a Friend and Not a Judge...": My New Year's Resolution

"Sunday morning, wake up early
Skip church service to find my Jesus
I know, it sounds so sacrilegious
But I just don't belong in a place like that
I love the cause but not the act

"'Cause Jesus was a Friend and not a Judge
He loved the sinners as much as he loved the little ones
That Man was Love and not an act..."

Yeah, yeah, I know.  Another song post.

So, 2013 has come and gone.  And now, 2014 has opened its doors to new and great possibilities.  Many people take this time of year to set resolutions: go to the gym, spend more time with family, etc.  I've been trying to think of something to do for my New Year's blog entry.

Then, this afternoon, one of my friends on Facebook posted an article from The Huffington Post about how we can't say "love the sinner/hate the sin" anymore.  That got me thinking about how I've been living this past year in 2013.  I nearly lost a friend on Facebook to a fiery debate on gay rights; I said some things that weren't kind.  (Then again, I was probably in the middle of a manic episode, looking back on it.)

2013 has been a rough year for me.  It was the year I changed majors in college.  It was the year I was diagnosed with mental illness.  It was the year that I attempted suicide.  But most of all, it was the year that I felt farthest away from God.  Looking around, I saw all of these people using the Bible, which is supposed to be filled with words of goodness and truth, and warping it into a document which condemns anyone that doesn't fit into their perfect little mold.  I couldn't find God in the Church anymore.  My dreams of one day becoming an Episcopal priest went up in smoke.  During the fall semester, I only went to church about three times; for two of those times, it was when I was at home with my family, and it was mostly to "keep up appearances."  I began to have a certain distaste for Christianity.  Or at least, what it had turned into.

I'm pretty sure if Jesus came back, many so-called
"Christians" wouldn't hesitate to crucify him all
over again.

I knew that this wasn't what Jesus taught.  I looked at what Gospels actually said.  Love God, love thy neighbor.  Help the poor and needy.  "Whatever you do for the least of these, you do for me" (Matthew 20:40-45). This was the God I knew, not the condemning monster that people were presenting as Him.  That's why I posted the lyrics to "Sacrilegious" by NeverShoutNever at the beginning of this post.  If I could just live like Jesus, I would.  If I could be as kind, gentle, and loving as He was--and is--I would.  I already know I'm going to fail; I'm only human.  But as I posted on Facebook earlier today, the least I can do is try.

So that brings me back to the second part of the title of this entry: my New Year's resolution.  My resolution is to live like Jesus.  Not the one that many paint him to be today, the one who hates atheists, LGBTs, the one who judges and discriminates. No, I want the One who lives in the red letters Gospel, and the One whom I want to live in me.  The One who is a friend to all.  Sure, there have been days where I wanted to tell Christianity to kiss my ass.  But how can I make the Church better if I'm not around to do so?  My worry is that people will only think of God as a terrifying creature in the sky who takes a magnifying glass and burns like ants all of those who don't fit into a perfect white, Anglo-Saxon Protestant mold.  I'm pretty sure that some Christians will think of this post as nothing more than reiterating common sense.  But how about we stop with the talking about it and actually live it?  It's what Jesus would do.

Love and Coffee cups,

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