Sunday, 28 July 2013

Atheist at Bible Camp

So I am not an atheist, but I did look at Christianity from much more of an outside perspective this year at camp.  I found myself concerned not with what is true, but what is beautiful.  Perhaps truth is absolute, but beauty is not.

I began to see Christianity less as a set of beliefs, or as a way of life, but as a loosely fitting label some people take upon themselves.  It no longer seems to be an entity, rather it is a somewhat meaningless distinction...  or so it seems to me.

Christianity can be beautiful.  It can be inspiring.  I think that Jesus lived a beautiful life, but the things that he did are not beautiful because he did them, rather they were beautiful before he did them.  Christianity is beautiful when it is selfless.  When it puts others first.  When it focuses on loving people, really loving people.

But Christianity can also be ugly.  it can be selfish, self focused and experience based.  my experience becomes the thing that matters.  I don't like Christianity.

There are extremes in Christianity.  On one hand we could look at Shane Claiborne, and on the other we could consider Bethal Church in Redding.  Claibornes way of life and of thinking seems quite beautiful.  Bethal does not.  The God of Bethal seems to care about making rich people happier while forgetting about the poor.  I saw the influence of both Bethal and Claiborne at camp.  Christianity seems to be fluid, easily swayed by emotional speakers or experiences. 

Christianity can be beautiful.  Selfless, other focused servanthood. But people can live their lives beautifully apart from Christianity.

I wonder about Jesus.  The Gospels contain stories about him that can inspire beautiful lives.  For that, maybe I will read them, maybe I will share them and be excited by them.  They are stories that I'd like to shape my life around, but Christianity...  I don't need it.  Jesus never told his followers to accept a religion.  He asked them to accept him.  I think I can accept the things that he did, most of them anyhow, and try to shape my life around them.

1 comment:

  1. People can go to the extreme on either side, yes. But people can also be prideful on either side too. One one hand, there's nothing wrong with having money - it's how you use it and view it. Rich people need Jesus too. And it's easy for poor believers to think they're better than wealthy ones because of the fact that they're poor. Both the rich and the poor, believers and non can idolize money. Shaine Claiborne and Bethel serve the same God; they're saved by the same Jesus. Should wealthy churches do more for the poor? Yes...but so should not-so-wealthy churches. It's also important to remember that different people have different calls of God on their lives, and so do different churches. Some churches might be called to be large churches and do the things and have the ministries they have; others may called to be and do ministry differently. Yes, as believers we all have been given the same commands, but God still has different things for us each to do within that. We need to remember that we are one church at the end of the day, and we as believers are all - whether we have money or not - brothers and sisters in Christ. As for "Christianity," my advice would be to not get so hung up on it as an entity. It's just a word used to describe followers of Christ - that's all. Yes, it has a culture to it, but oh well. I think sometimes when we try to disassociate ourselves from a "label," it leads to another "label" and so forth. We don't want to be associated with one thing or person, so we try to associate ourselves with another, often whether we realize it or not. Personally, I've learned to stop trying to fight the label and honestly, I've just embraced it. It's made everything in my life a lot better and a whole lot more simple. Just follow Christ. Focus on Him. There's no such thing as a perfect church, but we as THE Church are made perfect in Him. :)