Jonathon M. Seidl

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This is why people can't stand Christians

There's a famous quote by Gandhi that has always affected me.

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

That hurts. It stings. It convicts.  And it should. Which is why when I saw a post in my Facebook feed yesterday I was ashamed.

This week was Ash Wednesday, the first day of the Lenten season. Several Christian denominations get the sign of the cross smeared on their foreheads with ashes to commemorate it. Whether you're liturgical or not, it's actually quite a beautiful and bold move. 

Until this comes across your feed (I've redacted any identifying information):

I'm embarrassed. A little angry. I think I even mouthed a breathy "No!" when I saw my friend post this. 

 It reminds me of another quote by Brennan Manning: 

The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.

But here's where I'm going to take a little bit of a turn. I definitely want to let the person who posted this know that I'm sorry. That it's not right. That the goal is to NOT have something like this happen. But I also want to let him know that this is exactly why people need church — and why I'm drawn there.

See, the truth is God uses broken pots. The church is the perfect place for the imperfect. It's a place for people who "eye judge the shit" out of others. It's a place where someone like me can feel at home. So while I'm ashamed this happened, I'm also not surprised.

Yeah, I still want to have a talk with the woman who did it. But the conversation wouldn't be about putting on a facade, or about how bad she is, or about acting a certain way because you never know who's watching. The conversation would be about how everyone is broken. How the church is for the sick and not the healthy. How both eye-judgees and eye-judgers are welcome. 

So are there eye-judgers at church? You bet. There are also cheaters, liars, and closet alcoholics. And they're exactly where they need to be. 

What about the Gandhi quote, then? I think Christians can be both challenged by it while also knowing why it's true. Christians struggle, too. In fact, they are Christians in part because they realize they are imperfect and in need of help. 

I want to do better — to be better. I'm just glad there's a place for me when I fall short of that.