When I say "Christian"
Level setting some stuff before I venture into posts about my Christian faith.
My faith is a big part of who I am. To tiptoe around such an important dimension of my life on this, the bloggy incarnation of myself, would be insincere at best. That means, from time to time, my posts will focus on, draw from, reference, or otherwise intersect with, different aspects of my beliefs as a Christian.
In today's Western culture, the term "Christian" does not always elicit happy thoughts. It can carry negative connotations and baggage thanks in large part to people that apply the label to themselves while taking horrible and hateful actions. We see these people in media coverage brandishing metaphorical pitchforks and torches, as well as signs with various versions of "God hates" messaging, punctuated by a Bible verse. They froth at the mouth and rage at people groups that God allegedly hates - as if they're on crusade and fully justified from on high. Except they're not justified. They have absolutely no doctrinal footing. Slapping a Bible verse on something, particularly when removed from the context and character of God, does not make that something true. They are disqualified the moment they vomit hate at people.
Over the past few decades, this tiny minority of hate-slingers have contributed to misinformation, reinforced stereotypes, and repeatedly catalyzed negative sentiment. These otherwise obscure pockets of "the church" (lowercase letters and quotes intentional) have been sensationalized and amplified by the media, giving them a voice and a platform. If my only exposure to "Christianity" was what I saw on screens and in headlines, I would run from anything bearing that label.
To offer a concise field guide:
- Any person that claims to be a Christian, and spews hate toward any other person, is not a Christian.
- The Bible is not a stick with which to smack people. People who weaponize scripture to tear down or manipulate other people are not Christians.
- Christians are flawed and imperfect people just like everyone else, but when you double-click on their life, you will see evidence of God's love in active (or attempted) application in their lives.
The above is rooted in the following truths of Christianity:
- God is love.
- God loves everyone and went to extraordinary lengths for all people.
- Every single human you have ever seen, or will ever encounter on this planet, are loved equally and completely by God.
- God sent His son into this crazy world in hopes of establishing an eternal relationship with all people.
I do understand that content on this topic might not be your thing. You may have wildly different beliefs, a complete absence of beliefs, or something in between. You might have an aversion to the church or its people because of any number of bad experiences. I get it. While the vast majority of my experiences in Christiandom have been positive, I too have been hurt by wolves, hypocrites, and fakers. It's a thing. (Said thing isn't isolated to the Christian church, of course. It's a risk universal to humankind across all religious, social, and geographic boundaries.)
That said, if you don't want to receive any of my overtly faith-focused content, simply unsubscribe from the "Faith @ benfield.org" newsletter and/or skip any posts tagged Faith.
Comments and my email are open if you have questions.