It’s Not Christians I Have A Problem With

This was originally posted to my personal web site and wasn’t intended for PaganCentric. But a few folks were of the opinion that it should be here. So here it is, for better or worse. ~ Wicasta

For Who They AreIt’s been said in some circles that I have a problem with Christians. It saddens me that some people believe that, because that perception is wrong. While I don’t think of myself as a Christian, I was raised in a Christian home. My mother was deeply religious, in the best possible way. My grandfather was a Baptist preacher, as was my great-grandfather, and I grew up in a Christian church in Kings Mountain, North Carolina. I’m not just some provocateur on the periphery who flings aspersions at people “of faith” to bolster my own sense of superiority. I’ve read The Bible more than most of the people who are fond of thumping it. Suffice it to say, I’m not unfamiliar with the material.

I do understand why some people think I have a problem with Christians. I am critical of people who claim to be Christian but contradict the very word “Christian” with how they live their lives (usually at the same time they’re wagging their finger at other people for not being Christian). This is not a judgment on my point. I don’t have the right to judge anyone, and I really don’t care how others live their lives. But if you want the free pass from me that comes with being a Christian, I’m going to expect some credentials. Among the many teachings of Jesus Christ that I carried with me when I parted ways with Christianity, one simple constant remains;

“You can identify them by their fruit, that is, by the way they act. Can you pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?”
~ Jesus Christ, New Living Translation

You see, what I do have a problem with is fake people. When it comes to Christians, telling me you’re a Christian does not get you a free pass. Too many people in my life have claimed that label without ever living the Word. They represent the most treacherous and vile form of Christianity, because their false, but angrily professed, faith is perceived by them as a blanket permission to do whatever they wish, cloaked in the forgiveness and glory of Jesus Christ, shielded from any repercussion. You hear a lot from these people in the political arena, where they seem to believe you should not aid the poor, lift up the weak or show compassion to anyone who isn’t Christian, much less your enemies. In short, these are people who contradict the teachings of Jesus Christ in nearly every word and deed, and yet still feel, as Christians, superior to others, secure in their belief that, no matter what, they’re going to Heaven when they die because they wore that team jersey their entire lives.

Well, here’s the problem where I’m concerned. This is why some thin-skinned people think I don’t like Christians…

My base-line comparison is, and always will be, my mother, Peggy Chaney, whom I saw genuinely struggle with her faith and perceived failings almost every day of her life. Mama knew she wasn’t a perfect person, much less a perfect Christian, but she knew in her heart what a Christian was supposed to be, and she tried to be that in ever word and deed. When people wronged her, Mama didn’t try to harm them or discredit them in other people’s eyes. She prayed for forgiveness for the bitterness or anger that she felt in her heart. She prayed for the people who wronged her, that they might see The Way and find themselves eventually upon a better path. In every way, shape or form, whether she was always successful or not, my mother tried to be what you’re supposed to be as a Christian, and everyone recognized the basic goodness and gentleness of spirit that flowed through her from her faith.

If you want it to mean anything to me that you call yourself a Christian, you have to understand that Peggy Chaney is the standard you’ll be measured against. And that’s a high standard. But you know what? It should be. You don’t have to be as good as my mother, nor do I expect you to be. But Mama had a light within her that I will look for in you. A spark. Absent that light, your words and proclamations of faith will be taken with a grain of salt, because I’ll know you’re all talk. So don’t be offended if I reserve the right to see what kind of fruit you bring into the world and into my life. And don’t expect your judgments of me to mean anything if there’s no light in you.

I don’t expect you to be perfect. But I expect you to try. And if you tell me you are a Christian but contradict that word with every act and deed, don’t be surprised if I call you out. No, you don’t answer to me. I don’t expect you to do what I think you should do. But I would not be the person God made me if I did not point out that you are on a dangerous path, and that if there is a Heaven and a Hell, as your faith insists, there are going to be a lot of surprised Christians shoveling coal in the darkest depths of Hades once the ledger has been balanced. I would prefer it if you are not among them.

Now, in closing, I should tidy up a bit, because I’m sure I’ve confused my Pagan, Buddhist and Jewish, et al, friends who might have come here, who might see this as a recent embrace of Christianity. You must understand that this is not really something I’ve written about Christianity, but about the convenience and shallow-ness of professed faiths.

If you must know, it’s fairly easy to know what I think about you and your religion, as well. Just start at the top, and replace “Christian” with your faith, whatever it may be. Replace “God” with “Goddess” or “Buddha” or “Allah”. You see, that light that I saw in my mother didn’t come from a book or a church. It came from the Divine. And it came to her because she spent a lifetime reaching out and trying to reflect the beauty, grace and love of the Divine. So, basically. Pick a religion. Any religion. This applies to you, too. You can call yourself whatever you like, but in the end I will know you by your fruit. And I will expect that light.

And so I ask you…

What fruit do you bring into the world?

How brightly does your light shine?

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Marcie
Marcie
6 years ago

Makes perfect sense!

jojo
jojo
6 years ago

Girl! you are preachin’ to the choir! I’m glad to find someone of educated intelligence that obviously has spent time in more than one spiritual arena.
I also was raised in a Baptist home and studied scriptures from the time I could talk; sang in the choir, mom was the pianist and music director; dad ran the sound system. I even have an AA in Theology.
30 yrs later, I’m older and wiser, and don’t take anything at face value. I gotta research stuff and know it for myself
Glad I found you

JoJo

Jo Oden
Jo Oden
6 years ago

Very well said. I have long felt the same way about those who profess any mainstream religious view. The fact that people who exist under the delusion of having some divine right to attack others without knowing the first thing about said fellow human beings will always infuriate me to my bones.
Thanks for putting into words that which I have struggled for years to get across to everyone I have ever met.

mervyn caplan
mervyn caplan
5 years ago

Our mission as humans is in the future through Love beyond our comprehension give life to the mineral and everything else will go one stage higher in their evolution. The beginning of the redemption of our system.

Kay
Kay
5 years ago

I am so glad to have found all of you! Intelligent people of Wisdom. I have been searching for a place where my mixed -up beliefs would find a home. I was raised Catholic, married Catholic, raised my son Catholic but have silently simmered a root of belief that religion is how we attempt, and have attempted, to make sense of the mystical, the beautiful, and the fearful around us. For me, my life is my message of belief. I want to be a message of love in action. Sometimes I fall on my face but sometimes I succeed-and I build from there. For me, it is not so much your “religion” but, how you live. Do you let your light shine? Do you share your light? Teach others so they can find their light? Religion was created by people. The Divine Force,Creator Spirit created all for relationship. How we live should honor and spread that relationship. (I am 58 and just now finding a spiritual path that is true to me)

Michael Ward
Michael Ward
3 years ago

Still, I do think us Christians deserve to kiss your Pagan asses, I’m willing to kiss every Pagan ass after what happened in the past.

Skip Ford
1 month ago

Loved it Claire. I know I am catching up on many of the postings as I just found this site and it intrigued me to read and respond. What you said was very well said as I see this every day in my life. I too was an avid follower of Christianity and events and the acquisition of knowledge led me down a different path. I respect all religions and I see that many people do not even respect the religion they so profess to follow. It’s like the Christian who professes to go to church every Sunday but then gives you the finger because you took the parking spot at the store where they wanted to park. Or the person who raped or robbed people who feel he should get a free pass because he found god. We must be held accountable for our own actions. I wanted to study religion and took theology so I could learn more and that was an eye-opener as to clearly see the true meaning and why people think the way they do you must understand what they are taught. I pick on Christianity a lot sometimes more than I should but it is because it is the religion I studied and practiced the most so the experience is there. It is why I use it most to compare with paganism and why I stopped following it. It’s not that I hate it it’s just because of its history and sometimes just what is written does not make a lick of sense. I have had countless ministers profess I should come to their church. I ask why! Jesus preached from a rock so why cannot you do the same? Why do I need to go to a church laced with fine stained windows and covered with idols and gold-covered trinkets just to be looked down upon as I toss my last dollar in the basket being passed around. Is a church a place of God or an idol to the rich and powerful. I took care of this older lady who had no remaining family so to speak and she through her adult life gave to a number of charities as well as a local church to the tune of twenty to a hundred dollars a week. On her death bed, she asked me to call the priest to come to her bedside and they did not even know her name and would try to get there. My wife was not a churchgoer but believed in God and the bible passed away from cancer and the priest could not find the time to come by her bedside but wanted to do it over a speakerphone. Just the little things there seem to be no answer for. I hold no grudges just resentment and the answer why!