So, yesterday I lambasted a large contingent of my fellow born-again Christians for not knowing enough about other folks’ beliefs and practices. Well, now it’s the other side’s turn to get the sharp end of my stick. Because a lot of you “enlightened” folks out there who think you’re so flippin’ tolerant have a remarkable amount of assumptions about Christians who fall under any of the following categories: fundamental, evangelistic, born-again. And the second you hear those terms, many of you who aren’t in those categories start showing very unenlightened views—and some of you get downright uncivilized.
Some years ago, I posted some of my beliefs on a board and had someone tell me in no uncertain terms that I had to have my brains up my ass to even consider that Christianity could to be anything but a fanciful mythology and anything more real to the world than a Tolkien novel.
At the shallower end of the ignorance pool, my wife was recently talking with a friend of the past few years who, it seems, had been laboring under the idea that my wife was a very liberal Christian. The kind of person who’s excited about ordaining gay bishops or attends Unitarian-Universalist services or things like that. When my wife revealed she was actually an evangelistic Christian, with fairly conservative faith beliefs, the friend had a hard time wrapping her mind around it.
Because here she knew my wife as someone who believes in trying to raise up the disenfranchised, someone who believes in socialized healthcare, someone who advocates racial/ethnic/religious diversity and tolerance…and all that kind of jazz.
Somehow, the idea that someone could be adamant that Jesus is the way, the truth and the life didn’t connect with those things. Deep down, as far as the friend was concerned, being a born-again Christian meant you had to close your mind and turn off any ability to think critically.
I guess it really would have caused this poor woman to have a stroke to find out that my wife in the past two presidential elections voted for George W. Bush one time and Ralph Nader the other. So, hopefully, my wife won’t hit her with too many revelations at once.
My point is, though, why must we all be cookie cutter Christians? I don’t have to fit in your stinking little cramped box. Why can’t I be a born-again evangelistic Christian and think that Jerry Falwell was a dickhead and Pat Robertson is a closet fascist? Why can’t I believe in the Bible as the Word of God and still enjoy reading some Stephen King or Jim Butcher? Why can’t I believe that you need to know Jesus to avoid Hell and still like you as a person if you don’t?
Because I do. And if you’re going to call me a Jesus “freak” or paint me as a hateful human being just because I’m born-again, well then you need to re-examine which one of us is the closed-minded ass.
(image by Ian Britton, from FreeFoto.com)