We find ourselves living amongst people who believe that their religious call is to determine who you are and who you ought to be, what your beliefs are and what they shouldn’t be, what your sins are, where you are destined to spend eternity – heaven or hell, and so on and so forth. We are continuously defined (and re-defined) by somebody else based on what we do and what we believe.
Think about how we determine who a Christian is. Often we do that based on the beliefs that the person holds. I have always been taught that a Christian is one who believes and follows Jesus. In fact, this is what I was taught at home and even in Sunday School. Even in the Bible, Christians were those who followed Jesus (and his teachings). Hence, a Christian is one who follows Jesus. Plain and simple. Thankfully we aren’t named after Moses or Paul or some man in the Bible. We’d be forced to observe their teachings over Jesus’ (not that we aren’t doing that anyway).
Moving further, I’d like to think that I’ve been a Christian for the better part of my existence. Recently (on social media) my pro-LGBT stance was noticed and I, along with several others, was hailed as a Pseudo Christian (not that I haven’t been earlier called this in private). As much as it didn’t bother me, I was rather surprised as to how easily people could come to that conclusion. It didn’t matter that I believe in the death and resurrection of Jesus, that Jesus is God, in the confession of sins and that I have been forgiven (I do a lot of confessing daily). In fact, I have been filled with the Holy Spirit (no I don’t speak in tongues), I have been baptized by the sprinkling of water and baptized by immersion (that’s a heresy in itself), I have been part of Church Worship Teams (and ‘suspended’ from one for choosing to pursue my call), I have a personal relationship with Jesus (I’m working on the public one), I attend Church (in fact many churches), and I believe in a lot of other things as well. But, surprisingly, none of this mattered. No, not even one. All that mattered was my pro-LGBT stance and that alone was enough to evaluate my “Christianness” and negate all of the above. I am sure many would identify with me.
Now, I’m not really concerned by the fact that they were negated in a twinkling as there is more to Christianity and more to being a Christian than what was actually mentioned. The above descriptives aren’t the only determinants of who a Christian is. But then, even that is not all. I firmly believe that being a Christian is to be like Jesus and live out his teachings (I recognize that this is harder than all of the above, therefore many don’t take the effort to do it). What we need to do is relate to people as Jesus did, forgive as Jesus forgave, talk as Jesus talked, walk where Jesus walked, serve as Jesus served, stand up for and dine with the socially-excluded people as Jesus did, touch the leper and converse with the prostitute as Jesus did, question religious authorities as Jesus did, be politically conscious as Jesus was, go against the social and cultural norms as Jesus did, impact lives and above all love as Jesus loved. To me, doing this determines the “Christianness” of one’s faith in Christ.
Let us not do this just so we get to point out the “sin” in someone’s lives; let us do this because this is what Jesus did and this is what Jesus expects of us. Let us not call Christianity a relationship when we cannot have meaningful relationships with all people. Let us not say Christianity is about fellowship when our fellowship is exclusive. And let us not say Christianity is all about love when our love is coupled with prejudice and judgement (Wait! That’s not love at all).
I am convinced that something is terribly wrong with the way people define ‘Christian’ and ‘Christianity.’ If my pro-LGBT stance deems me unfit to be a called a “faithful, bible-believing, born-again, sin-hating Christian,” I’d gladly take that. Does my stance make me a Pseudo Christian? Definitely not. But guess what, I don’t mind being called one.
P.S. I have written this because I know there are many Christians who share the same views as mine and are having their faith and credibility questioned. Also this isn’t to be read in comparison to the loathing and hatred that the LGBTQI+ communities experience from the Church. In no way does this undermine their struggle and suffering. If found offensive by the LGBTQI+ persons, I stand corrected.