BuzzFeed posted the video “I’m Christian, But I’m Not…” ⇪ a few days ago. It’s a collection of Millennials addressing and responding to the different stereotypes about Christians in America. And millions of people have watched, shared and commented on it since.The intention of the video was to offer a different view of what Christians look like or even think like. I understand its desire to present the “other side” of the faith (as we sometimes do here at HappySonship.com).
But the question is this, where do we draw the line?
Kim Davis is a prime example for this tension. For some believers she is standing for truth and righteousness. For others, she is precisely the problem; representing a version of Christianity that is unappealing and hypocritical.
On the other hand, others in our family are raising their voices against this video. They claim it to be a direct assault on what Christians actually are. I understand their concerns.
But who am I to determine the quality of each individuals relationship with Jesus? I might not fully agree with the methods of Kim Davis, but she’s my sister, I prayed for her while she was in prison and now that she’s out, I pray to Jesus that his love will help her in the crazy months ahead.
I might not fully agree with the definitions of the young people in the BuzzFeed video but they are my brothers and sisters; and I pray to Jesus that his love will help them in the crazy months ahead.
We are uncomfortable with this tension, but Jesus seemed to embrace it. His 12 disciples were a combination of government officials who worked for Rome (Matthew the Tax Collector) to guys in the guerrilla who fought against it (Simon the Zealot). He put a racist next to a fisherman next to a doubter next to a lover. And then He empowered them to take His ministry to the next level (a few days after they proved themselves to be cowards and jerks).
Of course there is a place to address the inconsistencies of people’s labels. But that place is called relationship. Actually, that place is relationship in the context servant leadership. Taking the Jesus-model of washing his disciples feet (Judas included).
Some claim the writings of the Apostle Paul as prove that we get to judge and correct. However, we cannot forget that Paul payed a high price to have that privilege. He pastored the people he was writing to. He suffered for their sakes. He earned the right to be heard.
As I wrote in The Step By Step Guide To Dealing With Religious Jerks, “Religion, spirituality and theology tend to be destructive when they’re not drenched in humility and love.”
We have to remember that everyone’s journey is different. And we are all full of inconsistent labels that misrepresent Christianity. Filling out the blanks for “I’m a Christian, But I’m Not _____________” would look different for every single follower of Jesus.
That’s the beauty of our faith.
And one day, we will all be sitting at the same table. Eating at the same banquet. Kneeling to the same name.
I personally choose to swing towards the pendulum of grace and acceptance and the open table. I am 100% committed to scripture and truth, while at the same time wanting to focus more on what I am for as oppose to what I am against.
That does not mean I disregard the Christianity of Kim Davis. Neither the one of Barak Obama.
They have both spoken publicly about their experiences with Jesus. And as polar opposites as they seem to be in every other respect… one day, all that will matter is the one name:
You might not believe that Kim/Barack could really be a Christian. You might struggle with the definition of the guys in the BuzzFeed video. And your concerns are quite possibly, very biblical and legitimate.
But to define Christianity is a job exclusively reserved for Christ. To determine who is saved is exclusively reserved for the Savior.
And He prayed to Our Father: “That they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” (John 17)
God the Father loves Kim/Barack/BuzzFeed guys as much as He loves Jesus.
I will use that truth to draw my line.
I’m A Christian, But I’m Not… Judgmental. I think that if we started with that definition, we will begin to answer Jesus’s prayer.
There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor? James 4:12
*Try this collection of out-of-the-box teachings: