Monday, August 22, 2011

I Have Issues

One of the thing we do well in our culture is ruin words: Gay, bitch, cock, balls.

The Flintsones had a gay ol' time.
Our greyhound is a bitch and a great one at that.
The gun isn't automatic, you have to cock it.
Let's pickup the dodge balls, people.

Odds are that's not how you interpreted those words in the opening sentence.

And let's not leave out words like: Muslim, conservative, liberal and Christian.

These words used to be benign adjectives; descriptors. Words that helped define a picture. Now, to large groups of people, each of these is a very negative adjective. Each paints a dark picture.

Just as ball can be the toy of an innocent toddler and an anatomical noun (whew!), so too Muslim can be a person of faith or someone with terrorist ties.

For me, I'm vexed by the word Christian. Some of my best friends are Christians. Some of the people that most irritate me are also Christians. Oh yeah, I'm a pastor. Is this a problem?

This dynamic seems to ebb and flow in my life. Probably because in the first 20 years of my life the thing that most repelled me from faith was the "faithful." God seemed good. The "godly," not so much.

I'm in that mode again. Two weeks ago I attended the Global Leadership Summit, a very Christian event. And it rocked my soul, challenged my mind, strengthened relationships, revealed the Holy Spirit of God and made me so proud to be thrown into the pot with the Christian label on the outside.

Then a week later my Christian brethren (why do only Christians have brethren?) threw a great Christian friend of mine under the bus for blogging in a way that offended them.

My inner dialogue went something like this:

"&%$# Christians! Glad we can count on our people to beat up our own people. Where's the flippin' grace we LOVE to sing and preach about, peckers?! Maybe I should get out of the game...maybe I could have these same beliefs and only renounce my affiliation with Christians?..." Seriously. (This is called "I Have Issues" for a reason.)

Of all the things I have belonged to in my 4+ decades of life, Christianity is the only one I have been cautious about owning up to 100% of the time. I never hesitated to tell people what school I went to, what activities I was into, what music I was into etc. But in owning my Christianity...sometimes I play it like a hand in a poker game.

And it's funny, I'm never second guessing who God is or what He calls us too. But some days the word Christian feels like the word ______(your choice: conservative / liberal) does to you.

I hate this. I feel bad. I feel bad in the sense that as a member of Christianity I have had a part in ruining the word Christian by what I've done or not done in front of family, friends or people I don't even know.

And too, I have this hideous tendency to have the most hate for things in others that exist in me.

The thing is, if we're judging by externals, I'm mostly kind of rockin' the Christian thing. But in the less public parts of me, some moments, not so much.

So maybe my condemnation for the people who are clearly publicly botching the word Christian is my way of dysfunctionally yelling at myself for those unchristian thoughts and struggles that rear their ugly heads in my life.

Oh yeah, reared is also a ruined word. Seriously, stop snickering.

My name is Morgan Young and I have issues. And I'm trying to rock the Christian label inside and out. What say we rebuild the word Christian, one thought and one action at a time?

Now I gotta go let my bitch out...