Tuesday, May 7, 2013

My Greatest Embarrassment as a Christian

I am going to step out on a limb here and talk about one of my biggest embarrassments as a Christian.

It can be summed up in a word that militant atheists like Richard Dawkins and Dan Dennet use to slam Christians.

It is the term "Sheeple."

You know, as in "Sheep People."

Our haters take an image that is used throughout Christian and Hebrew holy scriptures to ridicule our characters. They see "Sheeple" as mindless, blind followers of a faith that is just a front for power hungry manipulators.

"Sheeple" line up at the feeding trough and bleat helplessly until someone comes to feed them.

"Sheeple" wander around directionless, guided only by their most basic needs, depending on a nonexistent Deity to show them where to go and what to do.

"Sheeple" moan pitifully when the pastures are not green and the Shepherd didn't show up or the fodder was not to their liking.

"Sheeple" can't do anything on their own. Their lives are run by fear and superstition and ignorance. They need someone to tell them what to do , where to go, what to think.

"Sheeple" abandon their own, moving on to the next clump of green grass while their fellows who have been caught in danger and mired in muck bleat helplessly for someone to come extricate them from their circumstances.

Why am I embarrassed? Not because some blowhards who make their living off of intellectual bullying call me names.

I become embarrassed because far too often, the shoe fits. 

In far too many cases that term "Sheeple" is a perfect description of the attitudes and actions of those of us who call ourselves "Christian."

When was the last time you picked up a Bible to learn something about the God you worship?

When was the last time you stepped up to actually do something that you know Christ wants you to do but that was inconvenient, or made you uncomfortable, or that you were afraid you might fail at?

On the other hand, when was the last time you complained because the worship service didn't "feed" you, or the church's ministry wasn't "dynamic" enough or God forbid, the people you worship with don't suit your taste?

Or the last time you shunned someone who doesn't believe what you believe or live the way that you live? Or because their choices made you uncomfortable?

When was the last time you passed up a fellow church member, let alone a child of God who was unknown to you, because you were too busy or afraid, didn't care for the circumstances, or didn't like the other Christians you would have to work with in order to HELP SOMEBODY??

Listen, I am not ashamed of the fact that I am God's lamb. I am a sheep of his pasture. Dawkins and Dennet will never understand how the term applies to me.

But they sure understand how, far too often, I don't live up to the Lamb's vision of me, of how often I live down to the Hater in Chief, the Devil's, estimation of me.

I want to be Christ's lamb, I want to be a member of his fold, to be protected and loved and nurtured by a gentle Shepherd who says to me, "come unto me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

Washing Feet of a Homeless Woman
Photo Credit: Mark Grace
But I also want to be a member of God's Chosen Generation, A Priest of the Lamb, a warrior fully clothed in the armor of God, a leading citizen in that Holy Nation, a one-percenter among the people of this world- not merely of the US of A- but a unique, fully called and completely actualized Child of the Christ who showed me what the abundant, royal life is all about.

I do NOT want to be counted among those whose sum and substance was to only ever graze contentedly in green pastures and lounge by still waters while somebody else did the work.  I don't want to be the one who constantly criticized the work of other Christians and bleated helplessly about how we should be doing better while doing NOTHING to live UP to God's calling on my own life.

When Christ comes back, I know that I will not be able to say that I lived a perfect life.

I just don't want the Alpha and the Omega to wrap his arms around me while I bleat helpless excuses about why I was not able to have done better. I want to hear my Savior say to me, "Well done thy good and faithful servant."

What about you? What embarrasses you about being a Christian?  And what is your personal vision of the kind of stereotype busting follower of Christ that you want to be?  Leave a comment!

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