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I Don’t Want to be a “Christian”

April 24, 2015

I ran across this video on Facebook Friday night. Around 11:30. I had just posted a status update about finally clearing out my inbox…managed to answer and reply to all of my email, file what needed filing and finally delete some things that were just taking up space. I’m down to two remaining emails, y’all. I feel liberated.

I was headed to bed, but I got sidetracked looking at one of my college roommates recent wedding photos. Don’t you love how Facebook allows us to see glimpses into people’s lives when we can’t be near the people we love? Anyway…as with any social media site, I somehow started jumping around from profile to profile; reading stalking and looking at photos, when a video caught my eye. I don’t do YouTube videos too terribly often, but this one got my attention. I’ve placed it below. Take a second to watch (it’s 3:00-ish minutes…I’m sure you can spare it and it’s worth it).

Preach.

Josh and I have talked about this very thing time and time again in our lives. This is a topic that gets me fired up and ready to start shouting. If I’d been in the room when someone started talking about this, I’d have been one of those women shouting hearty “Amens” and “Praise Jesus!”

I’ve been part of places where the moment you let your weakness show…admit to your shortcomings…let on that you aren’t perfect like Christian’s are “supposed” to be…everything changes. I’ve been on the receiving end of those judgmental stares. On the other side of the room when the whispers start. Been the brunt of an indirect but oh-so-obvious Facebook status.

It hurts.

And it’s wrong.

If you don’t know my story, let me give you a quick rundown:

I drank myself to the point in college where I should have ended up dead. Not only did I drink to an extent that I was an alcoholic at not even 20 years old, waking up hungover and spending the day itching for the evening when I’d party it up again, but I was also foolish with my choices…looking to hookup with whoever I could, whenever I could. Trying to find acceptance through popularity and doing what the “popular” girls did.

How I didn’t end up dead in an alcohol related car wreck or pregnant with an illegitimate child, is by God’s grace only. And it’s only by God’s grace that I’m still here and have reached the point in my life where I am comfortable sharing my mistakes and hoping that others learn from them.

But you know what? Those mistakes? Those stupid choices?

They don’t make me any less SAVED than anyone else.

We ALL have baggage. We all need grace.

If we didn’t, then the cross? The cross is meaningless.

I’m not bashing the church or saying we don’t need the church. God gave us the church-the body of believers we are supposed to come together with to worship and fellowship-as a gift. But, it’s been the church-the building, the body of believers thumping the scripture over people’s heads-that has led people away.

It’s the church that’s left me feeling many times over like I don’t want to be a Christian anymore.

idontwanttobeachristian

Because as unfortunate as it is, “christianity” isn’t the same today as it was when Jesus Christ walked this earth.

Christianity isn’t a once a week (twice if you go on Wednesday’s) thing to just check off your list.

It’s not driving  the most expensive car, to the most prestigious building, wearing the top of the line name brand clothes and sitting in the front row singing louder than anyone else, interjecting the “amen” in the right spot.

It’s not knowing or memorizing the most scripture or being able to understand Hebrew.

It’s not knowing the Books of the Bible or having the most verses highlighted on those tissue paper thin pages (Bonus points if you use something like the inductive method with all kinds of different colors, all coordinated in accordance to subject matter.)

It’s not looking the other direction when a brother or sister in Christ is struggling and needs your help. It’s not passing judgement or condemning someone over a bad choice or even a series of bad choices. Last time I read the Easter story, I’m pretty sure Peter denied Christ…not once, not twice, but three times.

Jesus rode a donkey. Not a Porsche. He wore a robe and sandals. Not Chanel and Jimmy Choo’s. He carried with Him the presence of the Almighty. Not a Michael Kors bag.

Jesus associated with the least of these so that we could have the greatest of his grace.

In fact Jesus was the least of these. Dig your Bible out and read-really read– about who Jesus was. Because he wasn’t who the churches seem be depicting him to be these days.

A church is fine. Going to church is fantastic. My family and I go every week.

But, who do you see in church? Your friends? Family members? People you associate with? Families that are part of the school attached to the church? Upstanding citizens of your city?

Do you see the least of these? Do you see the barstool type people? Do you see the broken, beaten and bruised souls that are all around us? Do you see the Vets holding the signs outside your local fast food place? Do you see the homeless man you always pass by, but manage to “turn the other cheek” to?

We aren’t too good to reach them. We aren’t too good to associate with them.

When did becoming a Christian…becoming a church member…take us from being ONE of the least of these, to thinking we were the BETTER of these?

The Bible tells us in the book of 1 John that all wrongdoing is sin (src).

Not some of it.
Not just a little bit of it.
ALL of it.

There’s no good sin and bad sin.
No right sin or wrong sin.
No little sin or big sin.
It’s ALL sin.

From that little white lie to the adultery. From stealing a pencil from your office (that wasn’t yours!) to murdering half a dozen people.

It all put Christ on the cross.
It all kept Christ on the cross.

And at the end of the day, when I stand before God at those pearly gates, I know that I will answer for the mistakes that I have made (and heaven knows there’s been a lot of them). I know that I will have to give an account of all the wrong doing in my life.

But when all of my transgressions are counted and the great and mighty Lord of Lords gets ready to place his verdict? I want to be sure that I hear him say, “Well done my good and faithful servant.”

If I have to be the “too good of these” to engage with the least of these, then how much like Jesus am I really?

Prostitutes.
Adulterers.
Tax collectors.
Lowly fishermen.
Shepherds who shot slingshots.
Blasphemers.
Thieves.
Murderers.

These don’t sound like the high society type to me.

And if associating with them makes me more like HIM…then that’s right where I want to be.

Because when Christianity becomes about being better than the ones who need to hear the good news of Jesus Christ, then I don’t want to be a Christian anymore.


Have you ever been on the receiving end of a church’s (or Christians) criticism and judgment? How did you feel? Are you under the impression that that’s what Jesus Christ is like? If it is, I’d love talk to you more about who my God is and what he is really like!

Because so many people are visiting from all over and landing on this post, I thought it was important to include the follow up posts for those who aren’t subscribing, sticking around or getting to know me, but reading this and then going on their way. This post was one of three so be sure to also check out I Don’t Do Religion and Jesus > Religion before you leave!
  1. Reggie Brookins says:

    I am sorry that you have lumped church and Christian into the same generalization. You will never find a perfect church but in most churches you will find some pretty good Christians. You will find good people and not so good people sitting side by side in the pews.
    I don’t own a luxury or fancy sport’s car, but I know some pretty good Christian people who do.
    I don’t know you but I am a counselor who has worked with substance abuse for many years and the one thing I always told my clients is don’t expect everyone to understand you and what you are battling in recovery. Please don’t confuse Christian with church member. A true Christian might make a judgment about a persons behavior, but will not judge the person.
    There are also good churches and not so good churches. Look for the heart of the church you are attending and if you find it is not adhering to the teachings of Christ and the body is sick, find another church.

    • You definitely said what I know to be a truth for me. Judge ye not..a REAL Christian will not judge you, they will not hate you or scorn you for your sins …you will be loved by a real Christian…as we love one another. The thing a Christian does not like is the SIN..not the SINNER. We will pray for you and ask God to present Himself to you, and fill you with the TRUTH and with LOVE and your eyes and ears will be opened to the teachings of Jesus Christ, His SON. …and The WORD OF GOD.. ..Just like our country goes so go the “churches”..There is corruption in our government and there is corruption in the churches…The most important words ever said on this EARTH are “LOVE ONE ANOTHER”.

    • Trisha says:

      Well said.

    • jeff martin says:

      Agreed wright on point! Well said!

    • Daffy says:

      Thank you, Reggie, my thoughts exactly

  2. Amy B says:

    wow…just wow…this post is an awakening to the church for sure !!! This has been so heavy on my heart. Thank you.

  3. Leila says:

    Be careful in your zealous judgement that you aren’t doing the same thing but from the other end of the spectrum. There are only 2 kind of people… Lost and saved. No gray here.

    • Judy Hall says:

      There is always “grey”! There are the “Lost” waiting to be loved and saved. Then there are the “Saved”, many who claim the title but don’t live the life! Jesus gave his life for ALL of us, not the ones who go to church. There are many Christians who love the Lord, and live their life according to the will of God, but don’t choose to go to church because it has become a fashion show and meeting place for many “pretenders”. there was no zealous judgement here… only eye opening facts, that evidently hit home to you. And there is NEVER only 2 kind of people. That statement would only come from a person that only thinks in “Me and Them” as was discussed is the video. I pray you are able to realize how bias your thinking is and ask God to show you the way to be more like Him.

      • Mike says:

        There are two kinds of people in the world. Those that are absolutely perfect, and those in need of a Savior. Exactly one fulfilled the first category. He’s the a Savior of all the rest.

      • Dave McPherson says:

        Hi: Well, you definitely have passion! Excellent. And some very good points. I do wonder if you and Leila may actually be on the same page. I do believe that there are only two kinds of people, saved and unsaved. Those who are truly saved are saved because of what Jesus has done for them, not because of how they feel or what they have done themselves. It think the difference in this discussion lies in what we think of the “unsaved”. A person is only “unsaved” when they die without Christ. Up to that point, they are potentially savable. (So, I guess we could argue that there is a third category, but at any instant of time, there are only two, sort of. 🙂 ) We, as Christians, need to look at it that way. Jesus came to die for sinners, so that is excellent news for the “unsaved”. They (we) are his target audience. That amazes me everyday, when I look at myself and my ability to fail. What kind of God would die for me? Wow! So, if He did it for me, then all those “unsaved” out there have some very good news. They can be as “saved” as me. Not because I am special (believe me, I am not), but because Jesus is very special, and more than able to save anyone. Now that pumps me up. And I think you too, by the looks of your post. May God bless you and me and use us wherever He desires, that we may have some “unsaved” in our lives to reach.

        • Dave McPherson says:

          Opps, that was embarrassing. I just realized that it was someone else that responded to the first comment, not Courtney. Opps. Oh well,

  4. Kris says:

    I have never heard of you. I just stumbled upon your blog. I just finished reading “I don’t want to be a Christian Anymore” Thank you! I’ve grown up in church my entire life. I’ve served on the staff of my home church for the last 10 years as the worship leader. . I’ve come to a place where the people around me don’t look like the Jesus I know…read about…and love. Sometimes, I don’t want to be a “Christian” anymore. I have felt so compelled to LOVE the people who I would be judged for spending time with. Thank you for another push in the right direction. I hope to read more soon. THANK YOU!

  5. Susan says:

    Excellent!

  6. Courtney says:

    Ended up here because the site has my name in it and I am so glad I was led here! What an inspirational video, and an amazing blog post. Thank you for posting this.

  7. […] “I Don’t Want to be a Christian” by Courtney […]

  8. Sam Herren says:

    I remember saying once in SS when I was the teacher, “Many of today’s churches may have saved people but very few Christians.” People just looked at me with their teeth in their mouths like a wall-eyed brook trout.

  9. Voni Harris says:

    Powerful comments on a powerful video, Courtney. I think we’ve lost our ability to talk right vs. wrong without condemnation. We’ve lost compassion for those who are feeling the Holy Spirit’s conviction. Sad. But I don’t know that our generation is any different than any other generation of Christians/God-followers.

    Blessings, my friend!

  10. Margaret McKoy says:

    Courtney,

    You have a gift of expressing your thoughts into words–very beautiful & powerful! We all need to be reminded that we ARE the church, but we ARE the least of these!

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