I’m Embarrassed to be a Christian

I was born a Christian. That’s not a theologically correct statement, but it is a reality. There was never a time in my life when I could not be identified as a Christian. My father was a preacher, and even though I don’t remember, obviously, it’s likely the first place I was taken after birth was to church. That was the only place my parents ever went in those days.

I grew up in the church. There was no such thing as a nursery or a children’s program. I went to “big church,” held in my mother’s arms until I could sit and then I was placed on the pew next to her side. I stayed there until I was old enough to get permission to sit with a friend and his mom, but it was always at church.Embarrassed

I was eight or nine years old when I was baptized into the Christian faith after I made a public profession of faith. However, that experience did nothing to change my life. I had always lived my life as a Christian, so the fact that I was now “official” made no difference.

I was taught, and I memorized scripture. It was pounded deep into my consciousness, and God’s word became the guiding moral code of my life. It continues to be my guide for living to this day.

All my friends were Christians. I had friends at school, of course, but in my younger days, even those school friends went to our church. We didn’t do extracurricular activities that interfered with church plans. I’m not complaining. I had many friends from church, and I still have contact with many of them. I have always been a Christian among Christians.

I’ve worked a few non-Christian jobs over the years, but none of them stuck. Most of my life has been spent working for the church or Christian organizations. Even now, as I’m self-employed, much of my work is focused on Christian stuff. I am most well-known in Christian circles, and most of my friends are Christian, even on Facebook.

I’ve never hesitated to identify myself as a Christian. I didn’t go around advertising it, but if anyone asked, I was proud to say that I’m a Christian. I’ve spent the majority of my life trying to understand the Christian faith, helping Christian churches and organizations, and teaching Christian principles whenever possible.

Things have changed.

Now, when asked if I’m a Christian I must give it some thought, and I’m not always sure how to answer the question. I don’t voluntarily identify myself as a Christian nor do I ask anyone else if they are a Christian. To be honest, I’m embarrassed.

I’m embarrassed by…

  • The fact that Christians have been identified with a political party that doesn’t always embody Christian principles (no political party does, by the way).
  • The preponderance of Christians who are more willing to fight for the right to own a gun than they are to advocate for the welfare of the poor.
  • The astounding number of Christians who can vocally and vociferously support an immoral leader of our country.
  • The way Christians have confused Christianity with being American.
  • The willingness of Christians to condemn people. They have gone far beyond identifying sin to the point of shunning sinners. They excuse this behavior using the phrase, “hate the sin but love the sinner” even though love is absent from their words and deeds.
  • Christians who seem to admire the early church described in Acts 2 and how they shared possessions with all who had a need but then fight tooth and nail to prevent their tax dollars from providing health insurance for the poor.
  • Robert Jeffress and First Baptist Church Dallas. I grew up with great admiration for that church. I only heard W.A. Criswell preach once, but he was mesmerizing. His successor, Joel Gregory, is probably the best preacher of my generation. Now, that church has a flaky goofball pastor who is willing to chase after any opportunity for fame and publicity. He’s the one who should be embarrassed.
  • The preponderance of pastors who continually support the notion that our President is a Christian even though he makes no such personal confession or shows any evidence. What happened to being prophetic and speaking God’s Word to those in power?
  • Franklin Graham who has thoroughly tarnished his father’s legacy.
  • Those who think they have all the answers to life because they read the Bible. There are many blank spaces not filled in by scripture. There are very few absolutes in the Bible, yet many live and act as if there are many.
  • The many Christians who get upset when people say, “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas” yet the church they attend has an American flag but no cross in sight.

These factors have become so pervasive that they fit the definition of what most people think of the term “Christian.” I’m not like that. I’ve never been like that, even though I’ve been a Christian from birth. I was never taught these things by the hundreds of Sunday School teachers, college professors, and seminary professors who have been in my life. I never saw these things acted out by any of the people I considered Christian in my growing up days.

Something has happened in the past couple of decades to change what it means to be Christian. I was taught that life is to be lived out in fulfillment of Jesus’ Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) not by singing, “God, Bless America.” It was instilled in me that when I’m attacked, then I’m supposed to turn the other cheek not wrap myself in the Second Amendment. I learned that the most important symbol of the faith is the cross, not the American flag. No one ever told me it was more spiritual to be a Republican or a Democrat. I grew up hearing Billy Graham say, “God loves you, and Jesus died for your sins,” not Franklin Graham saying, “homosexuals are instruments of Satan.”

I remember beaming with pride when given the opportunity to declare that I am a Christian, not because of anything I had done but because of what Jesus had done for me. Now I find myself avoiding the question when asked if I’m a Christian. I still rejoice in what Jesus has done for me, and what He continues to do for me every day, but I’m terribly embarrassed by the term Christian. I much prefer to be called a follower of Christ.

It’s much harder to be a “follower of Christ” than it is to be a “Christian.” It means you must love the unlovable, give what you possess to help others, turn the other cheek when threatened, and recognize this world is not your home. It also means you must forsake your own interests and pursue the interests of Christ. It also means that it doesn’t matter if you live in America or the densest jungle of South America or the driest desert in Africa or the most populous city in China.

A follower of Christ is free to love the things Christ loves, do the things Jesus did, and trust in the powerful hand of God, not the political or religious fads of the day. Perhaps the world would be better if we had fewer Christians and more followers of Christ.

9 Comments

Filed under Church, Commandments, Democrats, Evangelism, Freedom, Jesus, Legalsim, Politics, Republicans, Second Amendment

9 responses to “I’m Embarrassed to be a Christian

  1. I just wanna say good mornin to my brother Terry who is also a Texan like myself.
    (We live in Katy Texas).

    Anyhoo, I have enjoyed a lot of your writing, and I share a lot of your frustration with a lot of stuff Terry. Whether it’s people equating conservative politics with being Christian, to experiencing every institutionalized church under the sun and being content with none of them. Wanting only the simple expression of Jesus between people face to face, without the religious strata and packaging.
    I get it brother, I really do.
    I remember saying in frustration…I love sharing Jesus with people out here in the wild, but I hate church.
    That was just my frustration talking, I know that there are good churches, and I’m thankful that we have them.

    I’m just sharing that to give you a little comfort brother that you’re not weird or alone.

    Lord bless you brother.

  2. Gary Silverman

    From Merriam-Webster:
    Definition of Christian
    1 a :one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ
    b (1) :disciple 2 (2) :a member of one of the Churches of Christ separating from the Disciples of Christ in 1906 (3) :a member of the Christian denomination having part in the union of the United Church of Christ concluded in 1961
    2 :the hero in Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress

    Guessing you are not 1b(2) or (3) and you’re definitely not definition 2, so that leaves 1a and 1b(1). And I’m guessing you are not embarrassed of your professed belief or your discipleship. So really you are not embarrassed to be a Christian; rather you are embarrassed by the actions of those who label themselves as Christian.
    This is not new. Every corporate sin under the sun has been performed by individuals, congregations, or entire nations under the banner of Christianity. You know that is not what Christianity is. Unfortunately you also know that the world has a hard time distinguishing what being Christ-like truly means vs the actions of a minority (at least I hope it’s a minority) of our brothers and sisters.
    That said, I’m embarrassed with you. Both for the right wing fringes of those who profess Christ (they can use some study in grace and mercy) and those on the left wing as well (who need to realize that they can’t decide for God what God would have them do). Frankly I’ve been getting a bit tired of it and have been pushing back a bit (not always in a nice way…I’m not yet without sin myself). I’m finding the result is not discussion or soul-searching, but rather pull-back and alienation. I guess that “be ye separate” isn’t just us stepping away, but others stepping away from us.

  3. A very enlightened message. I would add the focus on Rapture Theology. There is more to being a Christian than obsessing over the Rapture. I’m so tired of even Billy Graham focusing on Christ coming again. He’s the one who won the hearts of millions for Christ by preaching the changing power of Christ and letting the Holy Spirit into their lives. Now he’s trying to frighten people into salvation.

    • royce

      Agreed. Too many Christains are complascent in world affairs, as they believe they can do nothing and they just sit around waiting on the rapture.

    • Good mornin Patrick. I don’t obsess over the rapture either brother. But I’ll tell ya what…it was the fear of hell that got my attention when God mercifully drew me to Himself.

      Observe the words of God please my friend,

      “Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men; but we are made manifest unto God; and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.” 2 Corinthians 5.11

  4. royce

    My biggest dissappointments in Christians are 1. those who support foreign wars (murder) or turn a blind eye to it and do and say absolutely nothing. As well as those who join the military to fight in these wars. 2. Those who fail to speak out against abortion. 3. Those who fail to understand communism has murdered millions of Christians and endorse it. I do not believe it is a duty to vote, I believe it is a right to vote, therefore we have a right not to vote. Each election year I am torn between not voting and voting for the side that will stop at least one of the evils. Unfortunately both sides will continue to promote evil of some kind. Candidate Trump promised no foreign wars, but president Trump has expanded the war and accelerated the murder. Candidate Clinton promised more war. I believed both candidates. So I chose to do the only thing I could to stop the wars. But I failed. Trump is a liar and many people believe in him. I do not. The republican party is the war party, therefore I can’t stand this party. But then again so is the democrat party, but they are also the party of moral depravity so I double can’t stand this party. LOVE, TRUTH, and PEACE ought to be what Christians pursue. Our government lies and makes wars and corporations profit from those wars. Who works for these corporations? Christians. Years ago, I refused to work for TI, Raytheon, Lockheed and such. But the church is made up of people who work for these corporations. And they tithe to the church. The problem with the church and its members is money. The church desires more money. The members desire more money. So the church will never speak out against these wars, or the corporations that benefit from them, or politicians, because the church will loose revenue. Church members, Christians, or not taught that war is murder. Churches are afraid to say abortion is murder. History has been whitewashed of the fact that communist Jews murdered millions of Christians, Christians who had no way to defend themselves from the communist government. Truth is the weapon against these evils. But neither the church nor it’s members want to hear the truth. Nor can truth be found in the media, public schools, or Hollywood. These are the things that mold a society. The TRUTH shall set you free. Jesus is the way. Jesus is the TRUTH. Jesus is the prince of PEACE. God is LOVE. You will not find these statements in the media, Hollywood, or public schools. You can not have Love, Truth, or Peace without Jesus. And without Jesus, nothing else really matters.

  5. Marshall

    In an episode of Hogan’s Heros, Colonel Hogan remarked to somebody regarding church attendance, saying, “it won’t do you any harm”. The astounding fact was that this was coming from a TV character who probably never went to church in his life. But man oh man, how wrong he was! I know from repeated personal experience that going to church can be, and IS very harmful!

    “Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and receive not of her plagues.”

  6. I stumbled on this blog site after realizing that despite my devotion to and love of Christ, the bible, and the centrality of all of it in my life I can’t do “church” anymore. I can’t align with those professing Christians that support a politician that shocks the nation on a daily basis with his vulgarity and his contempt for the poor. And Franklin Graham’s continued support of someone whose vulgarity offends even those that make no profession of faith makes me wonder what is real about American Christianity. Watching the daughter of a book writing evangelistic leader lie, and arrogantly mistreat others while believing she is on a mission as a Christian has disturbed me to the point I don’t want to be identified with Christians if this is the Christian identity
    Recently I had a warm conversation with a person whose lifestyle would be skewered by the hatemongers we call Christians — I wanted to add a disclaimer when I told her I am a Christian–but not the kind most known by how much we hate. She said “i could tell you weren’t one of those, because of your kindness” Yet, millions of people including many of my relatives will look at the hate mongering, greedy, narcissistic people that say this political party are Gods men in the white house even as they push to decimate the poor and say “yeah, Christian, stay away from me” It is a disgrace to the gospel and I am ashamed of Christian leaders speaking as Christians calling evil good.

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