I listen to a Christian radio station in my car. I like the DJ’s, and the songs are upbeat, catchy, no commercials. Sometimes I cringe at the lyrics, sometimes at the statements callers or the DJ’s make, but I overlook what I do not agree with. We aren’t all going to agree on everything, are we? Take yesterday, for instance. I was toodling down the interstate and the DJ’s were discussing a pop singer who apparently described their secular song as having been written while thinking about God. A long discussion ensues. I missed who the artist was and the name of the song; no matter. Is this person a Christian now? Will said person move into the Christian genre of music? Who cares? I mean really, I don’t mean to be rude, but does it matter?
Christianity isn’t the end all, be all. Shocking, I know. Seriously, though, it is concerning on many levels. Is it a stretch to believe Christianity is one of many spiritual paths? On the same radio station, there was a discussion about young people; college age, young adults leaving and/or not joining the church as their parents did. How was the church to address this problem? The research showed the young people felt “judged” by those in the church and did not want to be subject to others judging their lives. Who does? I would wager no one wants to be judged regardless of their age. But, I thought Christians weren’t supposed to judge? Well, to be fair, everyone judges on some level because we are human and imperfect beings, so why would Christians be held to a higher standard? I witnessed tons of fear of judgment from others in the church when someone’s kid got pregnant outside of marriage, someone else’s kid came out declaring their homosexuality, and when people divorced. I’m just going to say it; there is a collective attitude of holier than thou by virtue of church attendance, the prayer of salvation or whatever criterion makes one a “Christian, and the young people are not willing to be held captive to the attitude. Neither am I.
The DJ’s went on to explain they were willing to accept a secular pop singer’s reference to God even though the song wasn’t a “Christian” song. One went so far as to say Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS had come out of the “Christian” closet. Close, but no cigar; they are both Jewish and have embraced their Jewish heritage, and last I checked Judaism isn’t exactly the same as Christianity. The whole discussion was unsettling, at best. But, everything said were the opinions of the people hosting or calling in, and I had my opinion, too, as I toodled down the interstate. Differing opinions elicit discussion and we all benefit from discussions because we have the opportunity to learn and grow. Differences of opinion are not a bad thing.
I am all in favor of a spiritual journey with God in whatever way makes the most sense to each one of us, and each journey need not look alike. Are we so naive to believe God will reject a journey other than through organized religion? If we can be totally honest, western Christianity doesn’t look like Christianity in other parts of the world, so they all cannot be right unless we are not looking at the way it is practiced, rather we are only recognizing belief in Jesus as the criteria. Isn’t Jesus what separates Judaism from Christianity, essentially, so we would need to throw out Judaism as a valid path.
Christians reject other spiritual paths because of the belief those outside the church do not worship or at least acknowledge Jesus in the way acceptable to them. Well, if Jesus is the criteria by which our journeys are judged acceptable, did you know many who seek a spiritual journey outside the church walls also acknowledge Jesus? People who believe in Karma, practice energy healing modalities, people who meditate, who read oracle cards, are mediums and practice angelology. Christianity does not have a monopoly on Jesus, so is everyone who acknowledges Jesus considered a Christian? No, we are not, nor do many of us want to be simply because of the negative connotations associated with the label. At the risk of sounding harsh, my point is we cannot reject others whose spiritual journeys are not sought within the church walls. I do not believe Jesus would have when he walked the earth, nor do I believe he rejects any now. So what about those who don’t speak much or any about Jesus but believe in and journey with God, the Divine, Source, or the Universe? In the end, we are playing a semantics game and ignoring the fact we are all on spiritual journeys. Our journeys and how we go about them is unique to us. We are all unique so why shouldn’t the journey reflect our uniqueness…..?
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