Christians: The Family I Never Wanted

The leaves are falling gracefully, a slow sonnet that paradoxically represents a grim death with splendid beauty, marking the change in seasons and a hope for rebirth. The winds dance to the music, scattering the leaves as notes on a barren page, messaging to the living that the symphony is nearing its denouement. The living gather to rest, trying to forget the melody that haunts their spirits, awaiting the loving embrace of leaves of green and rays of light from the sun’s face. They all come together to speak of the past and the future, but more importantly, they come for each other. In the end, the warmth of human hearts replaces the chilling cold of nature and the seasons become but images of the same reality.

Thanksgiving is upon us; the time to be venerated as one where people come together in peace and love to cherish the truly valuable gifts of life, but most importantly the gift of family. In this essay I wish to talk about my own family; a family that I do not consider one by blood, but one by nature of shared belief.

As a Christian, I am thankful for many within my faith. I consider many of the people that share my faith-- in one way or another--to be brothers and sisters in the very real sense of the terms. But there are those I also consider to be the outcasts of our family. As much as I try to love them, I am angry: angry because they are not angry of themselves. I cannot deny them the title of “Christian” either, no more than I can deny my own blood-line their titles. For these members of the family call themselves “Christian” and follow what they think to be true, so I am left to bear the same name as they, though I do not endorse those things they believe or act on. What I can only really judge are whether or not these individuals are good or bad in light of the things they claim to follow, but even then I am no judge of their ultimate salvation nor if I am the better. So I have a difficulty. Is my anger justified or am I simply being self-righteous? It is vexing to not be able to judge certain things without being labeled the hypocrite. Perhaps, though, I am the hypocrite, and the reason I can judge is because I realize that more than those I am judging. If the reader is willing to accept this criterion for my judgment then I would be appreciative so as to be allowed to explain my anger.

My anger stems from what I see and hear. My anger stems from what I experience. I have felt an animosity towards non-believers for some time because of their skepticism that seems to be riddled more with emotional outrage than actual argument. In a sense, I have always thought them to be simple in their thinking (for the most part), while playing on the immoralities performed by those within my family; all so as to cover up for the shallowness. In a way, I suppose that I merely defended my belief as an older brother does with his younger siblings, no matter who was truly wronged. “It is the nature of loyalty”, I was told and had come to believe. Now, I feel as though I have wronged myself by being angry towards those outside of my family, because the true blame lies with my own. While the Faith may be firm and consistent, it is true that the majority of its members are not.

We live in a time where Christianity is being opposed more and more and the blame is being laid at the feet of its followers. For this, I am thankful. For many centuries, individuals that would prefer to uplift themselves rather than the faith have persecuted Christianity from within; they have made a whore out of my Mother, the Church, for far too long. Those I speak of are the anti-intellectuals, the bigots, the fornicators, the greedy, the power hungry, and the lustful for blood. Their greatest sin is not that they commit these thoughts or actions, but that they think these things not to be sins at all. These individuals are those that put a stain to the family name; they are those I do not wish to be represented by.

As I read through history, a feeling of nostalgia comes over me as I desire to have those days once again; the days when Christians were the leading scientists, helping to achieve the enlightenment model of scientific inquiry. I desire to be there when Christians were of one Church, before the great schisms of 1054 and the 1500s. I desire to be there when the Christian Church was the first, before any irreligious enlightenment thinker, to start the abolition of slavery. I desire to be there, when St. Paul first announced that all men were created equal before the writing of the Declaration of Independence. I desire to be there, when the Lord Jesus scolded St. Peter for attacking a guard with a sword and cutting his ear off, only then to mend the wound and revive the lost organ. I desire these times when Christianity was respected with good reason and bad Christians were rejected for good reason. But it seems those days are gone and the few that remain simply do not outweigh those that do the family no favor. The secular idealism of the new world has taken over many Christian minds and hearts and has only led them astray more to the point that now, Christianity is not even noticeable.

It would be awful of me to leave on such a sad note, however. It seems that I at least owe the reader some measure of hope and goodness with the coming of Thanksgiving. To this I believe you are correct. But rather than try to glance over the harsh realities, I would prefer to give a much different message that I feel is adequate to fill the void. I feel there is hope in Christianity. I feel that those that stain the family name will soon enough leave the Faith, as they are already doing due to their ignorance and profound lack of intellectual integrity. I would prefer if they would simply come to notice what they have done before leaving, but that is a rarity in itself. I feel that those that are truly part of the faith, hypocrites they may be, will push the faith forward in self-reflection, humility, and a desire to better them selves. I feel that the Church will become more and more persecuted and more disrespected. I feel these things will continue to grow and multiply. The irony is that I am thankful for it, thankful that the salt might one day become salty again and that the light might shine through the cloth.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, I love you all, but you are the family that I never wanted, which maybe isn’t so bad after all.


Anonymous said…

Very thoughtful, insightful and nice written.

Jason Pratt said…
I could quibble with a few of the details; but I won't because I agree with the spirit in which it is offered. {s} Thanks, M.

Anonymous said…
Yeah, I know there are some grammatical errors. I need to edit it later when I have the time :p
Jason Pratt said…
I was thinking of something other than grammar. {wry g!} But pointing out the context would distract from the gist of the post for no relevant gain, and I don't want to do that. {s!}

Anonymous said…
Ahhh, I understand ;)

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