My thoughts on the Christian faith

The good, the bad and the ugly


Will Anderson, News Editor

  Editor’s note: Anderson’s commentary was inspired by the book “Blue Like Jazz” by Donald Miller.

 If you were to walk down the street and ask a handful of people about their thoughts on Christianity, each one would have a different response.

  Some might be faithful, others disgusted by it, hurt by it, misunderstood by it – all of that to say, the real explanations and confessions need to come from us Christians.

  Christians are called to the seemingly simple task of following and believing in Jesus Christ and letting their faith reside in the work of God.

  But there aren’t many “Christians” who do this, and I am one of the many that gets wrapped up in their own egotistical agenda and judgmentalism, forgetting to do what I was originally called to do.

  The televised Christian is a white middle- to upper-class Republican, whose faith in their political ideology is much stronger than their faith in God.

  The ancient Christian went on massacres throughout the world to claim land that was “rightfully theirs” and administered to them “by God.”

  The modern evangelical forces his faith down your throat and would rather win his argument with you about theology than insightfully minister to you about it.  

  And as I reflect upon my life, my actions and the conversations I have regarding my faith, I am all of these things.

  I am political, I am prideful and I am entitled beyond belief. I need to be humbled. And as I continue my walk through faith, I am reminded of that every day.

  If I am truly supposed to be the loving individual that Jesus calls me to be, my efforts have fallen incredibly far from that.

  Not to say I will be perfect, or that anyone is even capable of perfection, but if I lived a life that really reflected this Christian faith I profess, I would be a completely different individual.

  It’s easy to say I am a Christian. It’s easy to go to church on Sunday morning. It’s easy to go through the motions of faith, as it is with anything you halfheartedly pursue in life.

  The challenge is that we all have such a minuscule grasp on selflessness, and that’s the life Jesus lived, a selfless one – that’s the life that I should live, but I don’t. And at a very profound level, a Christian is someone who is being set free from a preoccupation with self.     

  Starting a conversation about Christianity is like biting into a lemon. It’s distasteful. It doesn’t regularly happen, and when it does the people who actually enjoy it always seem a little bit off the rocker.

  I am somewhere in between enjoying the lemon and wincing at the sour juice that bursts in my mouth.

  I think the conversation should be a beautiful one, but I think I am the reason it isn’t.

  Christians often like to fix the brokenness around them before they address the brokenness within themselves.

  And you can’t truly minister to someone about the awe inspiring truth if you aren’t convicted of your failure to pursue the very things you are proclaiming.

  Sometimes I am afraid to confess the truth to those around me – the truth of a God above, my thoughts, my beliefs and actions – because more often than not, I think I know what their responses will be before I even speak a word.

  He is another lunatic Christian that believes in the most scientifically sketchy thing in the universe, they’ll think. He hates gays, he doesn’t understand abortion, rejects the obvious physical truths right in front of his nose.

  I’ve seen how he acts, they’ll say.. There is no way an individual of that nature can believe in or serve a God of love – just watch him.

  That is the initial sourness of the lemon that I always fear the most. And the best way to get rid of the sour taste in my mouth is to stop biting off those bits and pieces.

  So that is what I have become prone to – avoidance, silence and an acceptance of passivity.

  That has led me to become a Sunday morning Christian, a televangelist, a prideful, sinful, victory-hungry human being – anything but a Jesus follower.

  That is why I taste the bitterness in my mouth every time I profess my faith, and this is in part why Christianity is so controversial – God calls us to love and serve, yet it’s in our very nature, it’s comfortable and easy, to reject this calling.

  But I’m not the only one wincing during these conversations. And more often than not, the people who are professing faith in Jesus Christ aren’t truly in love with God or fully understanding of why they are Christians.

  If each and every one of us lived with the love that we are called to, there wouldn’t be as much of the confusion and hatred surrounding the Christian faith.

  I believe in God, no matter how crazy that sounds. I can’t concretely prove that He exists, nor can you concretely disprove it, that is just the way it is.

  I believe Jesus was crucified in history and walked out of a tomb days later and appeared to many people. I am finding myself increasingly in love and loved by someone I have never seen.

  So when I say I am a Christian, are they just empty words or are they genuinely backed by faith?

  When we as a community of Christ followers say we have the answer, that we have come to rest with all the searching and uncertainties in this life, why don’t we truly act like it?

   As a Christian I would like to apologize, because I have not loved as I am supposed to. I have not cared for others like I am supposed to. I have not turned the other cheek as Jesus asked me to do.

  And I think that if each and every one one of us put others before ourselves and acted out the faith we all profess, conversations surrounding Christianity would be genuinely beautiful.

  It would no longer be the taste of rotten and bitter fruit, but the sweetness of compassion, understanding and love that would balance on the tongues of those willing to truly talk about and listen to the works of Jesus.