Religious Snobbery?

From a reader:

whats with looking down, being derogatory about people with different hearts and minds re:god and religion? If we're all made in gods imagine nobody is special or 'better' whether you're a Christian, atheist, Muslim or wtfe. We're all the same-just a bundle of cells connected in the same way-so why the hierarchy?

Before I identified myself as a Christian, I was a believer in a nebulous idea of god. That idea was loving and caring and vague. That idea was non judgemental not wanting me to beat myself up over
the past, asked me to do my best, encouraged me to get back up when I fell, guided me through odd coincidences and other people, but never showed its face to me.

Some will say that I didn't believe in God, or at least not the right one. But I didn't think that it was so black and white, right and wrong. Wasn't God's purpose to show us a peaceful way to live? If we
were created in his image, all of us, what did it matter which path we followed toward him? And why did some people, namely Christians, seem to feel the need to bludgeon people who believed differently? In the spirit of the infamous Rodney King, why can't we all just get along, for God's sake?

"God" is rather unoffensive, isn't he? I mean, certainly, we can have our little skirmishes, but most everyone can have an idea of "God" and keep it to a personal understanding. God is safe and comfortable. Jesus is another story.

When I crossed the line of faith...well, that was when Jesus confronted me.

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really know me, you will know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.”

Philip said, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us.”

Jesus answered: “Don’t you know me, Philip, even after I have been among you such a long time? Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, ‘Show us the Father’?"
John 14: 5-9

God...asexual, vague,, direct, in your face...dangerous to his contemporaries and to our comfortable but distant idea of God.

While we may think that everyone can find their own way to God, Jesus says no. He says he is the only way. He says that he is one with the Father. He says stop screwing around and come home. Truth is to be found with him. He is truth. He is life.

Offensive and arrogant. That is what I thought when I was first confronted with this passage. Maybe you have thought the same about Jesus. Maybe you have thought it about those individuals who claim

When I was a little girl, my grandfather's church would go door to door to talk about Jesus. It embarrassed me. The church embarrassed me. They would hand out little, corny Gospel tracts too. On Sunday's our big yellow bus would drive all around the community picking people up. It felt so....unsophisticated. Why would we impose our values on others?

My husband and I were on a test drive for a 4 wheel drive vehicle for me. I was a bit picky, perhaps an understatement, because I was worried about the crash tests and rollover rates. The Ford had too
much sway. The Honda was too cramped. The Saturn was in transition. We were driving the GMC, just getting off 283 onto Manheim Pike when I spotted an accident. There were no emergency vehicles there but one car had an older woman slumped over the steering wheel. I apologized to our salesperson who was in the back seat that I was a nurse and I felt responsible to check on the victims as I quickly pulled over to access the situation. Fortunately, everyone was stable and an ambulance arrived shortly after I checked on everyone, so we got back in the SUV to drive to the dealership and fill out the paperwork.

I didn't have to stop. Manheim Pike is a pretty busy road that would have someone, in this age of technology, calling for help on a cell phone. But, as a nurse who recognized the age of the victim and
assessed the damage of her vehicle, I wanted to make sure she was alive and safe. I had the ability to save her. I had the knowledge and training. And I had the passion to reach out to her.

See, I think the fundamental error that my reader friend has is that she doesn't share the same understanding of Christianity that I do.

If Jesus is who he says he is, then there is no other way. It isn't arrogance. It isn't self righteousness. It is simply fact.

If I know the truth, the way to save a person from spiritual injury and death, should I not offer it to others? Even if they protest or dismiss me, would it be right for me to keep it to myself?

Many would say that it is none of my business. Some might say that I should only live in such a way that others might see the truth and ask for guidance. That would be similar to people knowing that I am a nurse and asking, "Hey, you are a nurse, can you tell me what this rash is?" And that is OK, too. I will pray for you when you ask as surely as I will offer help on your medical condition and joke about sending you a bill.

Perhaps you still disagree. Try this one:

What if my neighbor's house is on fire, should I tell her? Should I bring my fire extinguisher? Should I call for help? Or should I step into my house and stay quiet because it is none of my business anyway.

Are there people who claim to be Christians who are self righteous jerks and seem to judge everyone? Yep. They are spiritual messes like the rest of us. I tend to avoid them whenever possible and try to show them grace if I can't. That is easiest when I remember what an awful prideful mess my own heart is and focus on how Jesus has shown me such sweet grace.

We are all made in God's image. We are all messes. We are all called to something and truth and grace call us to God. Jesus has never tried to batter me into faith, but instead was battered for me to believe. Jesus never push the outcasts away, but he called them, and me, to follow him. I desire to be more like Jesus. I want to love more, point out truth plainly, trust the Father. Even as I type those words, I frown. There is more to being like Jesus...there is sacrificing comfort that is rightly mine, there is loving the unlovely-not just tolerating, there is pain and brokenness, and there
is death. But, there is also resurrection.

I know the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I would love for you to know Him as well. Could I tell you about Jesus?


Anonymous said…
Wow, that was a great read! I love the analogy of being a nurse and offering help to people because you have the knowledge that others might not have. Fantastic!
You are right, we have the mind of Christ so we should share it, even if others don't respond they way we think they should.

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