Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Reflection of 24 and of Self


Reflection of 24:
Man my life was boring. But that was what happened in one day. Sharon and I were able to attend the National Outreach Convention in San Diego and I must say that if there ever was a conference that we needed, this one was just for us (Soul Sanctuary and me…and Sharon) at the right time.

I am not sure where to start, but I want to avoid saturating you with unnecessary details but here is ONE thing that I am working through.
Reflection of Self:
What I came back from the conference is; that there are many Christians that I cannot stand. No, seriously…my prayer is like the bumper sticker “Jesus, Save Me from your followers!” There are times where I would rather hang out with “foul mouth heathens” than self righteous, hyper critical, narrow minded so called Christians.

Here is a list as to why I don’t like a lot of “Christians”
They can be so judgmental and condescending and they tend to fight about the stupidest things.
-“You using the wrong version of the bible”
-“Your churches worship style is sinful”
-“You don’t teach enough from the Book of Revelation”
-“Your church is not evangelistic enough”
-“Your church eats meat sacrificed to idols”
-“You are focused too much on outreach”
-“All R- rated movies are off limits” (can you say The Passion?)
-“If you listen to ‘secular’ music, you are of the devil”
-“Don’t get a tattoo”
-“Don’t watch Harry Potter”
-and for some of my denominational friends….”Don’t go to Disneyland or Las Vegas!”
Hey people...it is not "MY CHURCH" it is Jesus'. Also, if you really think about it...YOU ARE THE CHURCH! I can go on, but I won’t. The fact is that Christians can be just plain strange. If you are offended, please don’t be…watch Christian Television…that is an affront!!!!

Another reason is that Christians can by so hypocritical. Yes, the big “H” word. You know what I am talking about. Now, there are a few reasons I dislike a lot of “Christians” and to be fair there are a lot of them who don’t like me. I am too radical, my theology is of question, I break the unpardonable sin (I pastor a growing church), I am an egomaniac, I only care about myself, I am unapproachable, I am stuck on myself, I am a Lion (eh James!!!)…and the list goes on….

There, now that is all out in the open…but there is still one Christian out there that bothers me the most. Keeps me awake at night, makes me want to puke…and that person is…………………
Me.

No seriously, there are so many things that I detest about myself. How about you? I hate it when I am less that Jesus would want me to be. I hate it when I put my selfish desires over the needs of others, especially my own family. I hate it when I say something that is inconsistent with scripture, and I hate it when, as a leader, I make decisions that hurt people, I hate myself when my sinful actions hurt other believers or turn away nonbelievers…there are many things that I hate about myself…

I don’t like a lot of Christians and my name often tops that list. While others can drive me nuts, it is easier to point at them. But if we are to take a honest look at the contradiction inside of me, it shows me exactly what I need to do about it. Instead of following my instinctive course of self defense and preservation from outward criticism, I commit to opening my heart bare to GOD and ask Him to change me, cleanse me and work in me.

How about you?

9 comments:

SoulPastor said...

Out of all the posts...
I surely thought that this would generate some type of response...

Misty B said...

There is a lot I could comment on but I will focus on the last part. First of all thanks for your honesty and transparency. I know those things can't be easy to say.

Second if I had to pick something that bugs me about myself right now it would be 'lukewarmness'. I have worked so hard not to be legalistic that I miss the Truth.

Third I am wondering how much self-loathing is healthy. I have no doubt that you are processing this in a good way. I have often thought about that though. I think there is a healthy level of not liking ourselves yet there is also a damaging and paralyzing level of hating ourselves.

SoulPastor said...

Misty

With regards to the self loathing aspect...The entire post has truth painted in extremes. Even though I cannot stand "some" christians, i still am called to love all. As for myself, I am reminded of Paul's words in Romans "Why do I do the things I don't want to do, and why don't I do the things I know I should?"

If we are honest there are things about people that drive us nuts, but we must always look inside. I think Jesus said something about taking a chunk of wood out of your own eye before removing the spinter from someone elses.

Emerging From The Fire said...

This is an excellent post. I often find myself so frustrated by "God's people" that I would rather be with the "heathens."

Yet, beyond criticizing some of the more annoying Christians, you realize that we have all fallen short. What is that Michael Jackson song? -- "I'm starting with the man in the mirror..."

Bruce said...

I can honestly say that I fall into the same trap. It is frustrating when under certain conditions I seem to lack the self-control to behave and act in a manner expected of one who is a follower of the Christ. Sometimes I think back to my past (not growing up in a Christian home and lacking the proper influences) and use that as an excuse for the way I think or how I react. Kind of like Dog using a racial slur. I know better, but I still do it. When I am alone and I cuss when something goes wrong (not that I swore a lot when i was younger, but I did) and I have to catch myself and apologize.
On the other hand I take the "log in the eye" metaphor too much to heart when I don't hold others accountable when they stray too far off the path. After the fact I say to myself that I am doing more harm than good by not saying anything while thinking "Who are you [me] to criticize others?".

Scott said...

Bravo Gerry, i have never seen a post like this on here. I can't even make up a senseless argument to humor myself on this (haha). Jokes aside, I enjoyed how you tell it like it is, and coming from you, in the position you are in, that is admirable. While it may be a tad risky, i think it is nice to know that a pastor has problems with other Christians, and more so, with his faith from time to time. Not to say it is in jeopardy or anything, just how sometimes its a struggle.

Thanks for your honesty!

Anonymous said...

I also have a distaste for these people and know them well, because I grew up with them. They are my parents and a couple of my siblings. What I hate is the cultistic, superiority delusion they are under. Conversations, actually being the same room as them, can be utterly nauseating.

Now that I am free from the legalism, they seem like aliens to me. I am sometimes even embarrassed by their inability to talk about anything other than "church", "the Lord" (now I can't even use the phrase "the Lord" because they have nauseated me with its use), Jesus, God or the Bible. Their judgment switch is never turned off it seems. It is sad.

They don't mince their words. Half of my family is still in the cult, two have walked away from God and the church. I don't know if they live their Christianity in secret or not. It's not my business. But according to the ones in the cult, they seem to think it still is their business, to continually judge and try to save the other two.

Then there is I who has been delivered.

My dad recently died, and unfortunately, instead of loss, some of our grief is over the fact that he lived his life with rules over relationship. Criticism, judgment and a sense that we never measured up. No affirmation, no affection, never receiving his blessing--except the one that chose to be a missionary. Ah, yes, she chose the "RIGHT" path. She is the golden child. One turned out "right".

The missionary recently expressed that "dad was grieved over his children that rebelled against the Lord." (there it is again, the misuse of the words "the Lord").

They stopped going to church, they drank wine with dinner on special occasions, one even had beer bottles in her house, and one suffered a divorce because her husband got another woman pregnant. This is their rebellion as I know it. I say the term "The Lord" is misused because, the rebellion she speaks about is not against God, it is against a father and his rules, and his lack of love, understanding and interest in his children and against a church that taught rules over love.

It is sad that these folks are so caught up with their heads in the clouds. All I can say, is I'm so glad I'm free. Free to worship God in whatever way he leads me, whereever he leads me.

I sometimes wonder why I moved a flying distance away, and I am regularly reminded that it is all in God's good plan for me to be really free from that kind of bondage and control.

SoulPastor said...

WOW

What honesty...

kenny said...

Bravo!

As I read, I gain a greater insight, understanding.

I too remember in 2005, being wooed by God, and then I worried about 'the body' and how they would treat me, because I had lived a self absorbent life...oh, and remember...I was living the worst sin of all!!!

Well, I was shocked...I found some authentic people...who actually talked about their issues...and that they weren't these perfect beings walking around, spewing self righteousness...okay, I met a few of these people...and they are the ones who really can't handle me.

When you come to a place of transparency, or recognizing your need and neediness...you make others uncomfortable...especially to those who are 'not there yet'. They are still living with the rules, regulations and expectations that being a Christian means, saying and doing the 'right things', it is attending the 'right' conferences and prayer meetings...but when asked..."how are you doing?" You often get the Christian F word..."FINE"

So with this...I have to say that
I love you authenticity...and especially your words here. You don't beat around the bush...and it is refreshing to hear your words, especially talking about yourself.

I recently got married and I thank God for my wife...and how God brought us together and realize that God knew what I needed. HE knew that there was a deep root of selfishness in me that needed to be addressed and what better way than to get married. So I also say that I am often at the top of my own list of those who I can't stand. I hate what I see in myself at times, and also realize that I am being refined, when I recognize those issues that I hate and give it to God, as I walk with others who are honest and authentic.

Thanks for being real.