Thursday, July 9, 2009

Responding to "What the un-churched don't like about Christians"

"What the un-churched don't like about Christians" a blog post by Thom Rainer

If you're reading this, please hit the blog link above and read that first. It should take you 5 minutes - I don't mind waiting.

My request of you now is this: Tell me what you think. Agree or disagree? What side of the equation are you, Christian or not? Churched or unchurched?

For people new to me, let me tell you: I place myself on the inside of "churched" looking out. I've been Christian for some 6 years now and I've been an elder of my church, so I'm very much churched, but I'm still try to remain familiar with my old, unchurched self. I need to avoid being those things listed by Rainer. That blog resonated with me and I would love to start a whole conversation around it. Won't you help me?


buddhafisch said...

You can always count on me to help you.

For the other readers out there, as much as I hate labels, I will for the sake of this argument, accept the "unchurched" tag. As much as our beloved Newnik is "churched," I am "unchurched."

That said, I agree, to a point, with most of the article. I have never in my life found a Christian who was unwilling to listen. At the same time, I am never found a Chritian who was willing to ONLY listen. But that is a human trait, not a Christian trait. Or even a male trait. Men, humans, want to help. It is very difficult to listen to someone's issues and not offer advice. It is a lesson I have learned, and find that when I listen and then ask if I can offer a word, or if they are looking for help or just a fiendly ear, it works out much better for everyone.

A "holier than thou" attitude? Sure. But technically, Christians are holy than thou. If I am unchurched I am unholy. It follows by definition.

Back to the point, the attitude that Christians are in some way "better" than non-Christians or the "unchruched" (find a better term, it just sounds silly). I certainly see this is SOME Christians. Again, I think this is a human trait, not a Christian trait. I know Chirstians that struggle with an entire menagerie of human frailties. Non of them are due to their Christianity. All of them are due to their humanity, and more times than not, their Christianity has helped them with those frailties. Holier-than-thou? Sure, but we all have that feeling from time to time. I mean come on, are Wild fans not better than Canucks fans, just by definition?

Christians who don't go to church. To go back to my hockey analogy (following the theme of this blog)not liking Christians because they don't go to church is like not liking Wild fans if they don't go to the game. Newnik can likely correct me here, but I do not know where in the Bible it says I must worship in a church for it to count. There are certainly Sabbath days and days slated for worship, and churches help with that purpose. However, unless you subscribe specifically to the Catholic or Lutheren faiths, I do not know that Church is a requirement.In fact, even in those religions it is a matter of dogma, not Biblical edict.

Last point, and it is the first on the list in the original post. Christians who treat other Christians poorly. Again... Christians are human. It is normal. Get that many people lumped into a group and there are bound to be those who treat people poorly. Back to our tracking analogy. Should I treat every hockey fan equally simply because they are a hockey fan? Nah. I loathe Canuck fans on a basic level. I like to pick at them and poke fun. I like to make them miserable. It's part of what I do.

On a basic, human level, I still respect them as people though. I don't want them to get hit by a bus. I don't want them to get hurt in any way other than for the Canucks to fall off the planet.

Same goes for Christians, I would think. So many branches of "Christianity" it would be difficult to not expect some conflict there. Some MAJOR conflict if you know anything about world religions and the sects contained in those religions. Not only do Jews and Muslims hate each other, but so do Hassitic and Ortodox Jews, or Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims.

Now... should Christians be able to treat each other as their faith perscribes? Sure. Love one another, and all that jazz. Free will still reigns supreme here. It is not the Christian part of them treating others poorly, it is the basic human side. Over come that, and they've got 'er licked.

With all of the points form the original post, here are the things I take issue with Christianity.

buddhafisch said...

1. I work in retail. Dealing with people from the mass public all day everyday gives you a unique perspective. After learning a bit about regualr customers, you find things out about them. In 14 years in what ever Big Box store I am in at the time, my most "religious" customers seem to be the most bitter about life. They seem to hate life with the passion of a thousand yellow suns. They are surly, angry, bitter people. And should you mention even in passing that you are not Christian, they treat you with such a disrespect that you would think you had kicked their dog.

Human, right? Right. But these are uber religous people. Think Preists, pastors, and the like. Bitter. Angry. More times than not.

Next, a seeming inability to accept that someone is not Christian. Again, not all Christians do this, but it seems to me that it takes a truly enlightened Christian to accept that some people are not Christian, do not want to be Christian, and will never be Christian. These are the folks that I wonder if they sat down with the Dali Lama, would they try to convert him?

I like to argue as much as the next guy, but my arguement and the Christian argument are 99% of the time, diametrically opposed. Neither side will ever convince the other. Sure, it is good, and healthy to debate it, but I would also say that 99% whichever Christian I happen to be debating at the time gets angry when we debate. Our good Newnik is one of a rare group that does not. Matter of fact, he is the ONLY one that does not, at least in my life.

I have a great respect for my Chritian friends and family. I respect their beliefs, I respect that those beliefs help them and are a major part of their respective lives. I would never, not for a second, try to convince them that their beliefs are in some way wrong. I will point out inconsistencies in the faith they choose, challenging them to strengthen their faith and explore it. I am not, in any case, trying to convince them to drop thier faith and switch to my belief set.

buddhafisch said...

I do not know Newnik's stance on this, but I have yet to run into a Christian that has openly said that they can respect my belief set and accept it as mine. I have no issue with Christians challenging my beliefs, but the argument seems to be geared towards making me Christian, not challenging my beliefs in order to explore them and strenghten them.

There is a major difference. And in that difference lies mutual respect, or lack thereof, that leads to the "Things I don't like about Christians."

lulu petrina ! said...

Writing as a 'churched' one i would say that i dislike Christians who sell Christianity as a silver bullet to every issues under the sun. In a lot of sense it is true but not when you sell it "be a Christian and your life will be super dandy" or "your live is crap because you are far away from God so come to church and everything will be all better." Being a Christian is not easy and all rosy. It's a lot of work. And no God does not work with the worldly equation of bad behavior = punishment. That is what grace is for but don't get me started on the whole NC Governor and the David & Batsheba thing!

Riding the time machine back to my period of being slightly less churched, i definitely share the "holier than thou" attitude...