Monday, March 19, 2012

The Christian Snub

I was standing in line at a cafe this morning, holding a medium size, 1000+ calorie, coconut frozen mocha, when it happened. I got the Christian snub.

This isn't the first time, either. It actually happened earlier this week catching up with a former co-worker. She quietly and, rather innocently I believe, snubbed me.

The most egregious snub, by far, occurred,  while I was getting a test done on my legs by a tech last December. The tech- I'll call him Mr. Lovejoy- and I struck up a convo about churches and being Christian. I was asked what church I attend, and when I responded that it was part of the Anglican Communion, the friendly mood quickly soured.

"So, " he asked quite seriously, "if you died tonight..." (uh-oh, no sentence can have a strong finish with THAT opening) "...why would God let you into Heaven? What have you done to make you worthy of eternal life?"

Let's pause here. Maybe those outside of the Sinner's Prayer/ Come to Jesus/ Get Saved/ Evangelical movement are unfamiliar with this line of questioning, but I'm not. I know when I'm being proselytized, darn it! I know because I was taught those lines in years of Christian school, Vacation Bible School and a little class held for 5 hours straight on a random Saturday called "Becoming a Contagious Christian".

I speak Christianese.

But to Mr. LoveJoy, my former co-worker and the girl at the cafe, it was assumed I didn't. Why? Because I'm in the wrong group.

Mainline.

Dying. Dead.

Apostate.

Kind of Catholic.

Non-Bible-believers.

Truth-haters.

Sigh.

I'm this:



Priestesses, Gay folks and... well, okay I don't know what the guy in the last square represents, but I guess that martini glass represents something devious.

So very many assumptions. The worse for me, though, is that I'm not a truly-true Christian and that I need to walk the Romans Road to salvation quicker than I can yell "Saul on the way to Damascus" or else...


I can't lie. It's annoying. And a little hurtful. I believe it comes from a good place, but it still sucks that so many of my Brothers and Sisters in Christ view me as a wicked step-child.

This has been a lesson to me. One, that my brief stint in dipping my toe in the pools of Fundamentalism 7 or 8 years ago probably pissed off a few people. If so and you're reading this, I'm sorry. Two, that we Christians should learn our best witness is not something off a Jack Chick tract, or any tract, but our lives. Making speeches about Hell or assumptions about others knowledge of the Faith is off-putting if not downright offensive. 

If I'm a Christian (and I AM A CHRISTIAN) and I get snubbed, how are non-Christians treated??? I shudder to think.

5 comments:

Jesus-in-the-city said...

Hey there!

I really liked this post! Both my hubby and I have been guilty of making denominational judgement calls (hmmm... She goes to that church and they think it's ok for gays to be in ministry... Or, I thought she was a Christian, but she's Catholic... Etc etc).

Within the past few weeks, I've noticed that A LOT of the messages I've been listening to (and I listen to a lot, from myriad different churches) as well as casual conversations with my Christian friends have had to do with the topic of inclusiveness, or rather, a tendency towards exclusivity within the faith. Whenever that happens, I get the feeling that the Holy Spirit is trying to tell us something.

Believing that someone is a wolf in sheep's clothing because they are ok with tattoos or that I heard a negative sound bite from this pastor saying he used to not believe in the trinity or that I have a closer relationship to God because I'm not Catholic are all slippery slopes. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that I still have my personal opinions and biases, but as my pastor said in a message a few weeks ago, the world is supposed to know us by our LOVE for our brothers. If I can speak in tongues and discern the future and have faith that can move mountains, but don't have love, I HAVE NOTHING! It's the most important commandment and the hardest to live by... Heck, I had the thought this morning, after a lot of back talking to my husband over the weekend that, in Jesus' terms, I've MURDERED my spouse in just a few short days more times than I can count on one hand, and that's just out loud! Don't ask how many times I've called the poor guy a fool in my own head! Does anyone question my Christianity for that? They shouldn't, because I'm not perfect, only Jesus is, but I know I love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength and I, like others, need to trust Him to give me the heart for people, even including my own husband, that He has.

Funny enough, it was a sermon by pastor Mark Driscoll, one of my faves and one who is known at times to be a stickler for doctrine, that helped free my husband and I from some of our judgements regarding Catholics, episcopalians and other denominations. If someone loves Jesus and knows Him, they are a Christian, they are on the same team, they are my brother. I really need to put the rest of my biases down and if I have a heart felt concern for them and their denominational beliefs, I can bring it up to them, gently, in one-on-one fashion, cast my cares upon Jesus, and pray for them. I really think we need to be sure we are on alert for the accuser of the brethren, diablo, the slanderer, the one who seeks to kill and destroy us and make sure that the foothold in our minds is not his but that of Jesus, who knows all things, is concerned for our good and challenges us to love what we do not necessarily understand.

Thanks for this post, Alisha. Sorry you got snubbed and a heartfelt apology for any small judgements I may have made of you in the past (and if I did make any, they were tiny, like, 5% judgements, but they still count and I'm sorry :)

God bless!
Love,
Aja

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hey Aja,

I think almost everyone I know makes such calls. I did without realizing it. Sometimes, I still do. But I've found being on the other side is quite uncomfortable and has taught me a real lesson. I cringe when people make assumptions about me solely based on my race, my gender or where I live. So why is it okay to typecast based on what church I go to?

And ultimately, you're right on point with prayer! Just pray and leave it to God.

I never felt you judging me, more like questioning, and there's nothing wrong with that. You've been such a sweetie.

Mark said...

I think being an atheist makes it harder for proselytizers to give us the hard sell, as their script often presumes an unmet spiritual need. One person at work was quite successful when she tried to convert lapsed Christians or Christians-In-Name-Only, but seemed frustrated when I wouldn’t give the expected answers.
“So Mark, are you aware of how much Jesus loves you?”
“I don’t believe in the divinity of Jesus, Selena. I’m an atheist.”
“Oh.....but you must believe in something, right?”
“Not in the sense that you mean”.

After that 30 second exchange, it didn’t come up again. The poor other quasi-religious co-workers got it much worse than I did. Also once a guy with a religious placard asked me if I thought I was a good man, then asked me if I had ever told a lie. When I said yes, he then told me that according to the Bible I was a sinner. I’ve seen this technique on Youtube, so I assume it’s a common proselytizing tactic. It brings to mind that awesome song Poison by the Prodigy: “I’ve got the poison...I’ve got the remedy.....I’ve got the pulsating rhythmical remedy”

One time, when I was in my first year out of university, I was sent to work for a month in a small town of 1500. The local GP took me out to dinner one Saturday night, along with a group of 20 others. I was seated at one end of the table with an Anglican priest, his wife and one of my supervising doctors. I was having a good time chatting, and was caught up in two conversations, and was vaguely aware of the priest and the doctor making plans for the next morning. Then the doctor interrupted me, and asked me what my plans were for the morrow. Without guile, I truthfully answered that I planned to watch music videos until 5 in the morning, then sleep into midday. There was a stunned pause, so I tried to explain that my favourite bands would be playing. Then the priest loudly exclaimed “Sunday morning isn’t for music, it’s for praising the Lord!” That was a whole new level of awkward for me.

Apart from that handful of times, there hasn’t been any other proselytizing attempts. Perhaps, if they were subtle, I might not have recognized them.

Mark said...

By the way, I'd be interested to know how the cafe clerk and co-worker snubbed you.

Alisha De Freitas said...

Hey Mark,

Hope all is well. How did they snub me? By assuming I'm not a truly true truthy (in Colbert-speak) Christian because I'm not part of their brand of Christianity.I got snubbed for being part of the wrong club.

Now it might seem harsh, but sometimes we Christians turn on our own inadvertently. Like your co-worker who went after the nominal Christians. This might have been good. It might have inspired them to crack open the Bible, pray or refocus on the Lord. OR, it might have been what happened to me, mistaken identity because of membership in a mainline denomination.

Mark, I'm just taking a stab at this, but are you British? Or from a country with strong UK ties? You're English is very nice. Plus you wrote, "on the morrow". Too classy! :-)

As for music not being for Sunday morning... eww! Glad my Anglican priest thinks the exact opposite!

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