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A Stench in the Air

I believe in Jesus Christ. I believe that I’m justified by faith. But I go even one step further. I try to live as Jesus would live. I try to walk as Jesus would walk. I don’t do it to perfection like He did. I fail all the time. But I try. The disciples showed us how to live. When you don’t live the lifestyle of Jesus, when you don’t show your faith through your works, then that’s not Christianity.

I know that’s a very strong view, but I believe it, man. Our view of Christianity has been tainted. So many people are angry at Christians because of all the different things Christians have done, whether it’s rioting, or being haters of homosexuality.

Think of that Westboro Baptist Church, the wackos from Topeka. They go around protesting at military funerals, and they think that’s the life of Jesus? That’s not the life of Jesus. I don’t even want to be labeled in the same group as them. If they’re calling themselves Christians, then I’m not one. Because that’s not what it means to be a Christian. “Christian” means “little Christ.” That’s what it means. If I’m a Christian, then I should strive to be a representation of Christ. And Westboro Baptist? That’s not what Jesus would do. That just ain’t it.

The stench of man-made religion.

I would challenge the Westboro Baptists. I would say, “You call yourselves followers of Jesus Christ? You show me. You show me where it says that this is how He handled grief and death. You show me. When He hung with prostitutes and when He hung with sinners, you show me where He said that God hates them and wants their children to die. You think that He would go stand outside cemeteries and protest? You think that He would just hurt people? For what? He didn’t do that! He didn’t condemn those who were dead. He actually resurrected them. He didn’t condemn the families of the dead. He wept with them. He didn’t sit out there and tell people that they deserved to die. He just didn’t say that!”

This is a perversion. These people, they’re not Christians, man, they’re whack jobs. And that’s what they need to know. I know that’s harsh, but the reality of it is, I’m zealous for that stuff. I believe those are the people that Jesus beat. He saw them outside the Temple and He got so mad that He grabbed whips and beat them. He was saying, “You are misrepresenting who we are and who I am.”

I’ve written before about the aroma of Christ. If I’m doing the faith and works thing the right way, then when people are around me, they feel peace. Or they feel joy. There’s that aroma. That’s the life of Jesus.

I’m pretty sure that there’s no aroma flowing off those people from Westboro Baptist. There’s a stench that flows off of them maybe, but not an aroma. That’s the difference. I want the aroma of Christ, not the stench of man-made religion.

A lot of people look at Christians now and say, “You don’t love well, you don’t serve well. You claim to be Christians, but you hate. You don’t love.”

I believe that’s why you’re starting to see a lot of people distance themselves from Christianity. How often do you ask someone if they’re a Christian, and they say something like, “Uhhh, I’m not really wanting to admit I’m a Christian, but I can tell you I’m a follower of Jesus Christ.” The whole “Christian” thing is really a tough concept right now. It might be hard these days to say you’re a Christian. But a follower of Jesus Christ? Absolutely, that’s what I am.

6 thoughts on “A Stench in the Air

  1. This is incredible! Thank you for not being ashamed to say this! So many people hide behind the label Christian and thats all it is to them, a label. After reading this I am reminded of the quote by Gandhi that says ” I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

  2. Jeremy! It is so refreshing to read what you say! I see what you do and read what you have to say and it gives me hope for the kind of Christianity that I believe in. To see somebody to equates being Christian with serving and helping others. I read about your efforts in working toward Christian Social Justice and it stengthens my faith and encourages me to be a better Christian; to live life as Jesus would. (I also fail most of the times but if I have Jesus in my heart and help others as much as I can then I will be living life more as Jesus would.) To me Jesus wouldn’t even recognize the Westboro “church” as Christianity. They peddle hate and intolerance. How can they call themselves Christians? I truly do not understand that. It makes me so angry when I see those who peddle their own brand of intolerance and label it Christianity. But thanks for your posts they fill me with hope.

    P. S. On a baseballing note… how’s the hand that you injured?

  3. Thanks for your thoughtful post Jeremy. I’m a Presbyterian. After over thirty years of debate, the PCUSA (Presbyterian Church USA) has changed the ordination standards to allow otherwise qualified homosexual pastors, deacons and elders to serve in the church. This has created a lot of controversy. At least one church as already broken off to another Presbyterian denomination that doesn’t even ordain women. Presbyterians are much more civilized than the Westboro Baptist Church type “Christians”. Yet, there is a continuum in all things, including intolerance. Many churches will probably break off from the PCUSA over this controversy. I have ambivalent feelings. As a straight woman, I could not fully relate to a gay/lesbian minister. Yet, (s)he would be my sister or brother in Christ all the same. As long as (s)he respected who I am; I would respect and gain from his/her point of view. I would not go to them for advice on enriching my marriage, but I could probably gain many things from their point of view. I know that I am the exception to the rule at my church. I’m guessing most would probably like to break away from the PCUSA, but our congregation is too small to afford to break off. So, behind the civilized and congenial mainstream church are lots of Christians who wish the whole gay issue would just go away. I’m not sure what Jesus would say about ordinations of gay or lesbian ministers, elders or deacons. I do know He would not want His church, His bride, tearing themselves up over it. I do know that Jesus loves everyone as His beloved children. I’ve heard the “love the sinner, hate the sin” point of view. I’m guessing that hating the sin really won’t change anything for the gay or lesbian person, so why not just love them. I’m being considered for deacon. My focus will be on improving the children’s ministry for my daughter and helping out our local food bank. I will pray with the session to not break off from the PCUSA, but rather serve all of God’s children.

  4. I agree with you 100000%

    I’ve never really put a label on my faith or beliefs, even though I do consider myself to be a Christian. This is not because I am embarrassed to call myself a Christian in front of others, but because the moment you do, there will be a crowd of people (often fellow “Christians”) who will start judge and criticize you for not being “Christian” enough. So much judging. I think that’s so wrong. I try to live my life as a good person, with an open heart, and as a person who tries to help and serve others as best I can. To me, that’s what being a follower of Jesus should be about.

  5. Bless you, Jeremy, for preaching the love of our Savior. Never were truer words spoken than “God is love” and so many so-called Christians forget that. How can we condemn others when we ourselves sin daily? Perfect love casts out sin, and we can none of us be perfect, but surely we ought to try. And that means loving each other, being patient with each another, accepting each other all as children of our one Father.

    May you and yours have the most blessed Christmas (and add my hopes that your hand is completely healed, too).

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