Eat/Love/Pray: Jesus and Christians

I love Jesus. I love him because he knew how to love, I love him because he hung out with ordinary people rather than the religious crew, I love him because he had an awesome connection with his father, I love him because I believe he gave his life for me and I love him because he isn't a phonie.

But sometimes I really dislike christians...

Now you might be thinking, hold up a sec Ellie, you're a christian, what gives you the right to 'diss your own peeps? So, before I go any further I must state that I know plenty of awesome christians and many of them are like family to me. However, I can understand why people are so disillusioned with us. For example, this week, a church in America decided to have a 'Burn the Quran' Day - how does this show love for our neighbor? Not only is it incredibly disrespectful but it is also unkind and, in my opinion, ungodly. I know christians who help out at soup kitchens but won't invite a homeless person round for dinner, I know christians who oppose a National Health Service that will provide free health care to some of the poorest families in the United States, simply because it will allow abortions and treat homosexuals. There are christians who still get hot under the collar about mixed-raced marriages.

And it's not just in America, I see a lack of love in my own home church. Many people will give generously to outreaches in Africa but insult and judge the poor on their doorstep, I see us smother vulnerable non-christians with jargon and resources, essentially bible-bashing them into the kingdom without attempting to befriend them. I see us preach love from the platform but send bitchy texts late on a Sunday evening, I see teenagers being dissuaded from attending university and certain sixth-form colleges because they will be mixing with people who drink and sleep around without thinking that it's in those situations that Jesus, the man we all want to be like, thrived. I see people becoming so consumed with church life that they have become irrelevant in the real world. I know people who no longer socialise with people who aren't christians and prefer to dwell in the safe christian bubble rather than face the challenges of our secular society.

Before you go away thinking that my experience of church and christians conforms to the typical stereotype, I must insist that many of us are aware of these issues and are doing what we can to change them. My friend Liam recently talked about loving people rather than consistently trying to convert them. He really spoke what was on my heart. I know there are times when I mess up too but I'm confident that God is gracious and that my heart is generally pointed in the right direction. I'm pretty sure that most of my non-church friends will tell you that I have never forced my faith onto any of them and I hope they would say that I have loved them with every fibre in my being, not because I was told to, but because I wanted to. In that way, I believe I can be Jesus to them. I often say that I have a faith rather than I'm religious because I can't stand religiosity. I am more concerned about a person's soul than their sexual orientation, I would rather a person got drunk every saturday but was deeply passionate about loving Jesus than them be teetotal and completely heartless.

I am proud of my relationship with Jesus but I am not always proud to be a christian. But I guess at the end of the day, christians are, like everyone else, human. They make mistakes, I make mistakes, we all make mistakes; everyone strays from their moral compasses from time to time and, as you can see from this post, I tend to judge christians more than I judge any other group of people. That in itself isn't a particularly positive character trait of mine. In some ways I'm rather like the protagonist in The Catcher in the Rye: I'll put up with any sort of crap as long as it's genuine, but I really don't want to associate myself with phonies.


  1. This is something we've been talking about amongst my friends- because we've noticed a lot of people around who claim to love Jesus but then deny him with their lifestyle or their attitudes to others.

    It's quite difficult because it's hard to tell when someone is genuine and when they're being a phony! I guess it's just important to remember that the phonies need as much support and love as the people who perhaps love Jesus passionately yet also deal drugs to kids on the side! Because at least the drug dealers have Jesus there to make the changes in their lives as only He can!

    I completely agree that we need to love people, not because we want to convert them but because it's what we're called to do and what Jesus inspires us to do, and because people need love! In the end, it's Jesus that draws people to him- we can only show people who He is through our love for him and for our love for them.

    I've heard of people with bumper stickers that say: "Lord, save me from your followers" which is quite funny but also very sad- we're the people who can show God's love to the world as best as we can and yet we so often fail to do that- just as well we have an awesome God who won't let us weaknesses get in the way of Him being around!

    Ok, ramble over!

  2. I must confess, I have been a Bible Basher sometimes and found it frustrating why people wouldn't get saved. Then I heard a preach that said, it's not about saving people, but drawing them closer to the point where they make a commitment to follow Christ.

    To comment on what you said about the soup kitchen worker not inviting a homeless person home, this may be a fear issue regarding personal security.

    Liam's sermon was quite releasing when he said it's about loving people.
    Sometime ago, I really serisouly took the Great Commission onboard for myself, but now I'm someone who's just available to talk to about Jesus if someone wants to know. At the same time I do think it's vital to tell people the Gospel of Jesus Christ - YouTube and Facebook are great for this! Virtually all my non-Christian friends know I'm a Christian and Jesus does sometimes sneak into a conversation. Often, it's the non-Christians who mention the subject first!

    I think the best thing, is that I have a Muslim friend who calls me Brother. Why? Because he recognises we all came from Abraham. I think that's good.
    I once had a Sikh friend who I would often have lunch with at work. We got so close in our conversations about God, that when he left the company, we hugged in the middle of the corridor at work. That's what happens when you truly love people like Jesus does.
    Just one more - I once held hands with a Swedish man on an aeroplane because he was terrified of flying. I wanted to be Jesus to him! We had to keep letting go to let the drinks trolley pass.