I Need to Apologize

Thanks to a Facebook comment from a friend, I realized I need to make an apology about my negative attitude towards Christians and The Church, particularly the American groups of those.

I didn't realize I had been negative, so when she called me on it, I was a little shocked. I knew that I have been disenchanted lately, and upset lately, but I didn't think I had been overly negative. I wondered how much of my negativity has been on Facebook or other public scenarios, and how much of it had been on my couch. Did it even matter? So, I began to think: Is there a deep negativity inside me towards Christians?

As I introspectively brushed my teeth, I realized, yes. Yes, there is something there. And I realized it was anger. I am angry. I am angry that I was nearly 30 years old before I realized that Jesus wasn't a Republican (that's embarrassing to admit). I didn't think that Jesus was literally a Republican, but I believed if He were alive today, He would agree with the party line (that's not less embarrassing, but maybe more understandable?). I am angry that I spent so many years thinking that the only clear way to heaven was through a Southern Baptist doctrine, and that I thought I was very progressive for thinking that other denominations could go to heaven, but they'd have to not really believe some of their doctrines (that's embarrassing to admit). I'm angry that I spent years believing that bad things happen to people because of something bad that happened, even if I never articulated it into thoughts. I'm angry that I thought myself better, more intelligent, than the Calvinist who told me that aborted babies would fulfill their predestination, but tried to shrug off my conscience when I wondered how God would send entire people groups to hell because they'd never heard of Jesus (again, embarrassing). 

I thought and thought, and while there are a few individuals I'm angry at, the first and foremost is myself. I am the one who cobbled together those beliefs. I am the one responsible for the conclusions I made. 

I thought, "What is my goal when I share things like this or say things like that?" I know that my ultimate desire is to remind Christians of our origins of loving God and loving people. I want people to see Jesus the way He represented himself - as a servant, a compassionate man, a lover of all people.When people think of Christians, I want them to think less and less of people like Pat Robertson and Phil Roberts and more and more of people like Jen Hatmaker and Pope Francis. But, do my methods match my goal? 

Very quickly, I realized, no. My methods this week were exactly the method that I find so bothersome: post something on Facebook, and pretend it tells the world something they didn't already know, that they desperately need to know (do I even need to say it? that's embarrassing to admit). Worse yet, read something quickly, think, "Yes! That's what I think, so it's obviously right!" and post it, hoping to enlighten others and bring them to your way of thinking (wow, really embarrassing).  I guess old habits die hard. 

So, I'm sorry. I'm very sorry to have acted that way. Furthermore, I'm (obviously) embarrassed that I acted like such a tool. If that post, or any other even remotely negative post of mine offended you, I apologize. That was wrong of me. I'm still going to work to promote love for all people, and a Christianity that focuses on Jesus and his methods and actions. But I will not do so with anger and negativity. 

It's exactly what irks me about many "movements." Some Christians try to reach and convert gay people by telling them that God is sending them to hell. Some Atheists try to convince Christians by humiliating them with language they don't understand. Some anti-vaccine people try to convince the mainstream by calling them "sheeple." Some medical folk try to convince anti-vaccine people by calling them "Dr. Google." Has this method ever worked? Have we completely forgotten the phrase, "You'll catch more flies with honey than with vinegar"? I'm ashamed and very sorry for playing a part in that.

As with any hurt, I can't promise I won't react out of anger or hurt or embarrassment. But I can promise to do better, to try harder. That's all I'd ask of anyone else, and that's all I'll ask of myself. I have always felt like the main reason for writing this blog is to struggle publicly. To say, "You're not alone." I've felt a need for this for mothers, for Christians, for teenagers, specifically, but really for everyone. Part of that has to be admitting my faults and wrongs, and asking for forgiveness. That goes with the territory of making the struggle more public. So, that's why I had to write this. I could have apologized to my one friend alone, but I wondered if she was just the only one to confront me about it, and I wanted to make this part of my struggle available for all to see. 

I'm sorry. Please forgive me. I'll do better.