sometimes i’m embarrassed to tell people that i’m a christian

well, the cat is out of the proverbial bag now, isn’t it?
sometimes i’m embarrassed to tell people that i’m a christian.

this isn’t always true. christians do many beautiful things in the world; things that i am proud to be associated with and part of. when christians stand up for justice, dignity, and compassion, i want to be in on that. i’ll wear that t-shirt.

other times, however…
like this morning, when i saw that a prominent christian pastor had delivered a sermon that called bombs a “christian response.” while he tried to couch this in terms of government vs individual responsibility (i.e. you don’t kill people, but it’s ok to support killing if the government does it), it still left me feeling sick.

then, i had this moment of clarity. maybe bombs are the christian response. since constantine (when christians first had the power of government available to them), christians have had a penchant for using the weapons of the day to further their goals. as sad as it is, i might have to concede that sometimes bombing is the christian response.

but it isn’t the jesus response.
the jesus response calls us to love, seek peace and reconciliation, and find creative ways to non-violently resist aggressors. sometimes the christian response isn’t the jesus response, and i think this has been true for a very long time.

can you imagine jesus, who was publicly condemned and executed by government, then encouraging his followers to support the government sanctioned killing of others? whatever decisions our or any government may make (and i don’t assume the answers to the awful events we see happening in the world are easy), let’s not conflate that with the path of jesus. or the way god dreams the world would be. or the way through which god would bring this dream to fruition, on earth as it is in heaven.

it’s not even close.
and as people who seek to follow jesus, the state of the world should weigh heavy on us. we should seek to support the victims of all tragedy and suffering. regardless of whether or not they wear our label. but a christian doesn’t lead the charge for bombs. a christian mourns that we’ve gotten so far away from god’s dream for the world.

and before someone quotes Mark 8:38 (if we are ashamed of jesus, he will be ashamed of us), let me say that i am in no way ashamed of jesus. i love jesus. i think jesus is brilliant. i think we should believe him (that he was right about how to live and be in the world) and we should follow him.

but sometimes, sadly, owning the label of the religion that began in his name is tough.

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