Wednesday, June 02, 2010

So-Called "Christians" Part I

A funny thing happened when Jennifer Knapp came out.

I was expecting the comments questioning her faith in light of her "I'm happily ensconced in a longterm relationship with a beautiful woman" announcement. Many drug out the air quotes to drive home their point. She wasn't REALLY a Christian. She was a so-called "Christian." And, by the way, so were all the other so-called Christians who didn't believe that she was going straight to Hell and taking most of Christendom & Country with her.

What kept throwing me were the comments that led-off with the "so-called Christian" quip followed by something like about these so-called fake Christians who spend their time judging gays rather than reflecting God's love.

I was getting a case of mental-whiplash.

"Wait, now.... which are the so-called Christians?" Pro-gay? Anti? Sin? Not a sin? Which sin? judging or homosexuality or being a meanie.... oye! My brain! My soul.

Something tells me, this can't be us Christians at our best.

Someone whispers, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."

Sounds like a plan.

Well, technically, it's a command. (John 13:34-35)

I spent a while pondering the strife and commenting frenzy. I'll post my conclusions (more like, where I took it from there) in Part II.

Meanwhile, please.... leave a comment! Did this stir anything up for you? How should brothers & sisters in Christ handle their differences of opinion on emotionally charged issues? Does it matter? What is at stake? How do you conduct yourself when you get worked up over an issue you feel strongly about?

Lastly, and mostly for my amusement, some random comments from articles on JK~

Face it Jennifer. If you believe you are a Christian, you profess to maintain certain moral standards. With your God-given gift and high profile comes a higher standard of moral and ethical responsibility (" whom much is given..."). These responsibilities do not include subverting the minds of your young loving and loyal fans with morally unacceptable creedences. I appreciate your honesty... I hope you appreciate ours.

Knapp can't honestly expect real christians to believe that she is ... both a christian and a lez ... the two are incompatible. As noted by another smartalecky commenter, "With God, all things are possible."

Jennifer Knapp has a tattoo also. That explains everything. God clearly says "don't put tattoos on your body" Knapp is no Christian. which i thought was a joke, but wasn't.

These comments are the WORST display of "Christianity" that I've ever seen...Christ said let the first one without sin cast the first stone. A lot of you are casting stones that should really be on the receiving end. (Some of you are even casting boulders... how are you that strong? Must be the holy spirit!)

I would like Jennifer Knapp's address so I can send her so-called christian cds back to her. OHHHhhhh! and the inanimate objects take a hit!

Let's stop talking about burning in hell and love each other. Godslion, you spelled absurd wrong.

The obligatory Hitler tie-in: I am sure that Hitler "felt" mass murder was the right thing to do.

Finally, a personal favorite: While it certainly does sound like Jennifer is a sweet and loving human being, it does not seem that God is her all in all.


Anonymous said...

Hi Tina. Thanks for the invite. First off, I'm not familiar with Jennifer and her music. I'm not sure why you wanted to hear from me, but I'll give it a try.

Jesus left us with two commandments and they are, "Love one another as I have loved you" and "Love your neighbor as you love yourself." And actually, I think there is a third, "Love your Lord, your God, with all your heart." I think on the judgment day, we are going to be held up against these commandments above all others.

That said, I think Jesus still believed in sin and the concept of sin, or He wouldn't have told the adulteress to "Go and sin no more." And that is where my quandry lies.

Do we just say nothing is really a sin if we believe ourselves to be loving and forgiving people? What about things like gossip and lying, which I admit that I even do? We do forgive adultery, but it is usually after the fact and after the person is trying again to do marriage right, albeit with another partner, and adultery is not usually an ongoing situation among Christians, and among most non-believers, but something only done a time or two. If we are going to weigh sin, I would put murderers, rapists and especially child molester/rapist/murderers at the top of the list of really, really bad sins. Yet, I've often been told that to God, sin is sin. I dunno, I think that gossip hurts a lot of people, and surely a lot more than two people of the same sex that love each other. I battle often with my own sense of fairness and right and wrong according to our biblical knowledge and what seems right to me. In my own eyes, when I gossip, I think that is a far greater sin than anyone's sexual preference, if that makes any sense to you. . . yet there are admontations in the NT that says don't do that (gay sex), so I can't totally toss it out.

I am liberal in the political sense, but somewhat conservative in the biblical sense, if that makes any sense, and if it doesn't, well, it doesn't to me either. But that's where I'm at on this issue.

hillsideslide said...

Hi Bev, thanks for commenting!

First of all, I don't know where your musical tastes lie, but Jen's first cd, Kansas, is one of my all time fav albums & I highly recommend it. Her lyrics come through as searching and honest in the struggle to live out one's faith.

I'm with ya on the love one another & God.

I'll post more on this soon, so I won't go into great detail just now.

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts. And, I totally can relate to the liberal in some ways and conservative in others. People are complex!

I guess what I am grappling with is not the "is it a sin" part of sexual orientation... I'm more concerned with how we Christians deal with conflict & differences in theology amongst ourselves.

I mean, if it's not sexual orientation, it's some other "hot topic."

How do we deal constructively with our differences? How do we remain in community... and, even, strenghten it?

Anonymous said...

Hi Tina. I just want to say that it is not up to me to say who is and who is not a Christian. I do feel that we need to pay attention to things we are taught in the NT, but even if some people don't, I'd never go so far as to say that they don't love Jesus, have a relationship with Him or that they cannot be Christian.

As I've shared with you in the past, I've wrestled with the passages about wives being submissive, and I don't like those passages, yet I have to admit that they exist, so they must be there for a reason. I don't like to submit, but I do. . .but so does my husband, so I guess for me it's part of marriage. I wouldn't just lie down and be a doormat, yet Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek. I tried to make a comparison with my feminist feelings and your feelings about being gay before, yet I don't think you saw much to compare there, but I think the struggle is comparable in many ways. The bottom line is that if you don't think the things you do goes against your understanding of Jesus, then that is between you and Him, but you truly can't blame other Christians who may see some things differently.

I really don't like the Christian Right, and I think they have many things totally wrong. We aren't supposed to be greedy, yet they support large greedy corporations. We are supposed to be peacemakers, yet they are zealous about war. I can't say those people aren't Christian, only misguided and I think that the whole "prosperity doctrine" is merely getting your ears tickled (hearing what is pleasing to you or a way of justifying greed and other things I don't think Jesus would approve of).

Lots of things to ponder, and sexuality is only a drop in the bucket.

Alise said...

Honestly, I hate it when Christians pull the "you're not a real Christian if you believe/don't believe X." It tears people up no matter who says it. I think people have enough questions about their faith and when we throw that into the mix, we just beat them up even more.

I get the idea of iron sharpening iron, and I think we do well to gently ask people to examine their strongly held ideas, but as you've taught me, I think we do that better through asking questions rather than telling people what they SHOULD believe. When we ask why something moves someone or why they believe something or for their back-story, I think we open up to a better dialog. When we just start off determining who is and isn't a Christian based on our own limited (and it's ALWAYS limited) view of God, we just shut the conversation down.

Good thoughts!(and some stunning quotes.

hillsideslide said...

"The bottom line is that if you don't think the things you do goes against your understanding of Jesus, then that is between you and Him, but you truly can't blame other Christians who may see some things differently."

Well, you may have just summed up my next post in ONE SENTENCE. Nicely done.

There are plenty of things we wrestle with as we try to live out our faith. My hope is that, rather than draw lines in the sand, we can learn through and from one another... in relationship.

Gosh, you've touched on so many things... wish we could get together with Alise and some coffee and just talk talk talk :)

One of the things that comments like your's (on feminism & submission) or Alise's (on evolution) highlight how, depending on our background & specific faith communities, some topics are a big deal for some and not even on the radar for others. -that's fodder for another post, I suppose.

Hope you stay tuned for follow up posts. I appreciate your contribution!

hillsideslide said...

@Alise- 1st, I wish I had Disqus commenting system. If I get serious, I guess some changes will be in order.

Part of what I'm grappling with is MY attitude towards xians with a diff point of view. I feel like I'm the victim (ouch, never a good mentality), my righteous indig is justified. I'm realizing (these things cycle/spiral.... didn't I already know this?) that, regardless, I can't play Judge.

And, it's funny that you attribute things to me (like, listening) when I often attribute them to you. We both kind of flesh that out in our conversations. I think it's a joint discovery/uncovery. :)

thanks for commenting!

Alise said...

Disqus is incredibly easy to add. I don't do anything that isn't easy. I just love having threaded comments now. It makes me happy.

And I totally understand about being judgmental right back at the judgmental folks. It's incredibly easy. And wrong.

Alise said...

So is there going to be a part 2 to this series at some point?


hillsideslide said...

you know, you're good at gentle butt-kicking.

i will get on it.