Being a ‘Christian’ certainly has its upsides: endless potluck dinners, weekly concert experiences, the incessant charade of shiny, happy people.
Wait, that last one isn’t really an upside, but rather, another reason why I’m grateful I have removed my Christianity mask.
Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Christianity as ‘the religion derived from Jesus Christ, based on the Bible as sacred scripture, and professed by Eastern, Roman Catholic, and Protestant bodies’ and for all intents and purposes, I’d be labeled as a ‘progressive Christian’ meaning I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, but I also view the Bible as a fallible work of man, not God.
That being said, I have taken my Christianity mask off, and I am sensing a whole new God that part of Christianity likes to hide under a rug as if it’s a red-haired step child.
Before taking off my Christianity mask, if one didn’t believe in Jesus Christ or chose any other religious system, I would deem them unworthy even if I never said it, I felt it.
Atheists, Theists, Pagans, Muslims – the actual religion didn’t matter as much as their religion wasn’t as good as Christianity — this IS what traditional, bible-thumping, Evangelical Christianity teaches its members.
Since taking off my Christianity mask, I’ve experienced religious and spiritual freedom, I couldn’t find that labeled as a ‘Christian” and in the process, I put God (and Jesus) in a box.
I limited them and their capabilities and their divine abilities.
I limited their love.
I limited their grace.
I limited their knowledge.
I limited their character.
I limited their kindness.
I limited their compassion.
Since, taking off my Christianity mask, I’m unlearning a bunch of Christian garble such as “the Bible is God’s Word” – No, the Bible was written by fallible men and are written (in that culture) in parable (story) form (which means the story stands for something else like “Jonah wasn’t really swallowed by a whale, but it represented him being swallowed by life, addiction, toxicity”) to represent something larger.
The popular, “You have to love Jesus first before He will extend His love to you” which is the biggest marketing tactic for the modern-day church, would a dad say to his child, “Before I give you my love, you have to love and do what I say first?” Of course not. Unlearning that you “have to give 10% to the church to receive God’s blessing” after all, would a loving God make his love conditional based on how much you gave “His children”?? I don’t think he would.
There are so many things, I have unlearned, and that’s been the greatest victory in taking off my Christianity mask.
I’ve seen God granting me peace.
I’ve felt God in the warm sun as he warms my face as I hike north on Clear Creek Trail.
I’ve seen God and this unconditional love as I observe a homeless man rescuing a lost puppy and carefully feeding him with a used bottle.
I’ve observed God’s patience as my shaky hands have hand wove a belt for my daughter.
I’ve seen God in so many beautiful places from the way a fellow human being (an Atheist) carefully shows a boy how to shoot a basketball to how a wonderful old soul (a Buddhist) shows me how to meditate properly.
If I still had on my Christianity mask, I would be too busy trying to “save their souls” to really experience this life — the way, I feel, Jesus (and God) yearned for us to experience.
Not living this life for the premise of a divine reward, but living this life to change humanity.
After all, isn’t that the whole purpose of a belief system? To attain a higher knowledge that we all have this enshrined ability to change the world with our own internal light?
If I still had on my Christianity mask, I wouldn’t be this enlightened. If I still had on that erroneous mask, I wouldn’t feel this contentment and peace; If I still had that mask on, I wouldn’t know how I could start a revolution like one man you may know.
Jesus freakin’ Christ.
He didn’t start a revolution based on religion, did he?
He didn’t start a revolution about segregation, did he?
He didn’t start a revolution based on condemnation, did he?
He didn’t start a revolution based on an anti-gay agenda, did he?
He did, however, start a revolution based on love, respect, and tolerance.
He never wore a Christianity mask…..Jesus would abhor those that are so willingly to use His name to inflict hate and maliciousness.
Jesus Christ would celebrate those that took off their Christianity mask.
It’s freeing. It’s lovely. It’s wonderful.
‘Church’ isn’t a gathering place to “feel God’s love” it’s a gathering place to pat ourselves on the back for being punctual one day a week. ‘Church’ is a gathering place for others to shame those they deem inadequate in their time and deeds. ‘Church’ has become a country club to segregate people based on socioeconomic status, spirituality levels, race, creed, and sexual orientation. ‘Church’ has become another way for humans to construct oppression.
‘Church’ has been evolving – and while there are good churches filled with good people, there are many more that are not. These ‘churches’ are not God’s love, but man’s love of self.
Damn, I’m so thankful I finally removed that Christianity mask.
It’s refreshing. It’s revitalizing.
This is God.