It's been another of those weeks. A week I haven't had since World Vision. A week I am revolted at the word "Christian."
Because, what is the point of calling myself a Christian when "Christian" is synonymous with hate?
The idea of Christianity is love, love so fierce it's gentle, love grown wild and nonsensical. God is love, the Scriptures say.
But where do we draw the line between the thing and the idea?
Because the thing itself, as John Pavolitz says, often looks like outrage over "a person changing their own body, than one assaulting another's." The thing itself looks like abandoning innocent children for what's viewed as another's sin. The thing itself looks like denial of science and truth, like refusal to listen to others for fear that they may corrupt good morals. The thing itself looks like the arrogance of "I'm right and you're wrong."
We live in a world reeking of hate and injustice masquerading as good, and Christianity contributes to that more loudly than they alleviate it (I suppose I do still hope that around the quiet parts of the world most Christians do good instead of evil). How does it not eat away at us like fuming acid? How can we stand it?
I am sick of living in a rape culture where women are continually sexualized and blamed for it.
I'm sick of living in a country where patriotism is next to godliness, a country that advocates the worth of every human being while slaughtering precious people in war, while keeping its black citizens disadvantaged, while administering the death penalty.
And, I'll repeat it, Christians support this.
Yet: conservative evangelical and fundamentalist Christians are the people who saved my life. They spoke hope into my darkest moments. They are not terrible people, despite what liberals say.
These are good people. My liberal friends, please understand, conservatives aren't cold-hearted. They have the best intentions.
They see their response to Caitlyn Jenner as speaking righteousness, warning her about the truth of God before she dies and faces judgement and eternal hell.
Yet, if you're a conservative Christian reading this, I beg you: putting righteousness ahead of love is not righteousness. There's no balance to be had between the two. They are one in God, correct? They are one.
And love and righteousness does not look like condemning a community in which the average life span is a mere 35 years. Yeah. Thirty-freaking-five. Let that sink in. Aren't you horrified? So the widespread condemnation and hatred of the trans community actually sends people to an early death, which I think is the opposite of what you want.
To liberals: again, conservative Christians see their response to the Duggars as showing mercy to a family whose private lives are invaded, as displaying the lavishness of God's grace and forgiveness to even a pedophile.
Except, dear conservative Christians: grace, and certainly not the righteousness you insist on blasting Caitlyn Jenner with, does not look like covering up abuse because the perpetrators have the same political and social beliefs as you. As someone who has been abused (albeit not sexually), please never say or post anything that might even just seem diminishing of abuse, because it will cause pain. Be a decent person and say "no, Duggars, you were wrong and hypocritical. Doesn't mean you're evil or inherently bad, but you and your son did something absolutely horrendous." Then pray and advocate for the victims. Because the victims must always come first.
Seriously, conservative Christians and liberal ones, you don't have to have the right political or social views to be a decent person. I know plenty of conservatives who are great people and great Christians, much better at both than me.
Just please be consistent in the love you show. Show Caitlyn the grace you showed the Duggars, and the Duggars the righteousness you showed Caitlyn. You can't have one without the other.
But now I have to get angry again.
You know what? We excuse people who cover up child abuse, lambast a persecuted minority for coming out, and then gasp when people say they want nothing to do with Christianity.
I am not ashamed of the gospel, no. But I am ashamed of us claiming to know the gospel and then throwing it away to take political and social sides.
We've done a grave wrong this week, my friends.
I'm a hateful mess of anger and pride, yes. I can't say I'm better than any of us. I'm not, despite the insistence of my pride.
But I can say that we need to repent. Like a broken record, I will repeat: diminishing the covering up of child abuse, heaping condemnation on a persecuted minority is never acceptable to people or, dare I say it, to God.
I'm hardly the person to call for repentance. I'm ashamed of my Christianity as much as I am ashamed of calling myself a Christian these days. My bitter, hateful heart that claims to follow Jesus has no desire to extend forgiveness to you. My heart prefers to flip the middle finger and storm off into the sunset.
We'll never learn if we hate each other. We'll never learn if we think we're the One True Christian and those liberals or conservatives are beneath us.*
Perhaps, we can make peace. Perhaps we can still learn to make the world a better place. I believe it because I can't bear to not believe it.
Can we take steps to be decent people together? Can we repent and seek the way of Jesus together? Please?
*I do think it's dangerous to hold anti-LGBTQ views, anti-woman views, etc. I'm not saying I'll ever be cool with those beliefs or that I want to be, because I won't and I don't. I just think bold dialogue and loving relationships are how people change and learn and grow.