Saturday, July 21, 2012

A CHRISTIAN SPEAKS OUT


I NEED TO SAY THIS…

I'm going to say it once, so read this closely. If you do, I can promise you revelation and understanding. You will have knowledge, good knowledge, foundational knowledge to form your opinions with instead of speaking or talking without knowing.

Good? Here we go.

I am a "born again", evangelical Christian, totally sold out Jesus Freak. I believe that God is real and loves all of us desperately more than we can possibly comprehend and wants to have a one to one relationship with each of us.

Contrary to the popular stereotype foisted upon "Christians", "the radical right" or whatever else other people tend to call people that believe as I do,  I'm well educated (two degrees, one in Business Administration and one in Computer Science), I was raised in the bastion of liberality called the North East, I'm a self confessed "Progressive Libertarian" and I work in technology and design.

I have been a Jesus Freak for 30 years. I stopped counting how many times I've read the Bible cover to cover after the 35th time. I have studied the scripture and read commentaries. I have taught Children's Church, youth groups, Adult Sunday School and have preached from a pulpit more times than I can recount. I've lead worship, sung and testified to the goodness of God in front thousands of people.

In all that time never once did I ever read, hear anyone say or preach or teach myself that God tells Christians to HATE anyone. In fact, the two core commandments that Jesus taught when he was asked were to LOVE the Lord your God, and to LOVE your neighbor as yourself.

NOT HATE - LOVE.

Let me say that again.

LOVE.

Make a note here. Important. That INCLUDES people that have a homosexual sexual preference - otherwise known as gays and lesbians.

GOT IT?  We're commanded to LOVE. Everybody. Without exception.  And if in theory they're our "enemy" - we're told to LOVE them more.  Not hate, LOVE.

Now, I know this is crazy and you'll be amazed when you hear this, but I love gay people. I have friends, DEAR friends that are gay.

CRAZY MAN - yup that's me.

OK. I know what's coming next. BUT you think that being Gay is a sin!

Let me clarify for you, I think that sex outside of marriage is a sin. In the Bible, it's called fornication.  That's anyone. PERIOD.

Let me ask you - do think I'm going off on a tirade every time I run in someone that is having sex?

NO.

Nor do I go off on people that are sinning in any other way. Whether it's pride, lack of self control, anger, greed, covetousness  or any other popular sin.

WHY?  

Cause I'm a sinner too. The only difference between me an you (according to the Bible - read: what I believe) is that Jesus died to take away my sin.  It doesn't make me perfect, it doesn't make me morally superior. It just means that I'm forgiven and that every morning I have God's mercy anew.

WAIT A MINUTE! You're probably asking how I can LOVE anyone that I think is in "sin" right?  Easy. I love myself, I love my wife, I love my kids. And you guessed it... they all sin too! Crazy.  And I still love them. 

I do hold Christians to a higher standard, because that's what the Bible tells me to do - BUT - that's other Christians only. Not anybody else. 

UNDERSTAND?

Christianity is not about hate, it's about love. It says in that crazy Bible (that all of you think is filled with all that hate speech) that...

"God so LOVED the world that he gave his only begotten son so that all who believe in him might not perish but have eternal life."

What does it say there?  That God so loved only the people that identify themselves as Christians that he gave... NOOOOO. It says that God so LOVED the WORLD.

In southern talk - that means "all y'all"

Earlier I mentioned that our command was to LOVE our neighbor as ourself.  Right, that means ALL Y'ALL too.

I can go through a lot of other scriptures with you if you'd like (though I doubt you'd really want to go through them all - but you know - that's what Google Hangouts are for if you really want to discuss this) but I think you have the gist.

So please, let's end the foolishness. Stop pointing at Christians and saying we're haters. We're not.  

Are there some idiots that are Christians?  Damn straight there are.  Heck, being a self admitted sinner, bone head, goof ball and moron is the qualification to get INTO the club for goodness sake.

Do Christians sometimes say the STUPIDEST things? Oh yes.  You know why?

WE (Christians) suffer from the exact same condition (humanity) that all YOU do. 

Now you know why we do such silly things too.  

I HOPE that I've been able to entertain and inform you.

I HOPE that you have a better understanding about what the scripture says.

I HOPE that you understand that even if you completely disagree with me, vilify me, call me names and other such things that 

I LOVE YOU TOO

Why? Because that's what my leader - Jesus Christ - has taught me to do. Just like he loved everyone that spit on him, whipped him and then put him on a cross to kill him.

The GOOD NEWS? The gospel truth? Jesus rose from the grave three days later. He appeared to over 500 witnesses. Yes 500!

He did that so that I - that's right.. me - could share eternal life in paradise with him. I got the same promise and same offer as he gave the thief that was hanging on the cross with him.  Just like that thief - a man who was being put to death because he deserved it (yes, the thief himself said that)  - I took the offer.

You know what? You can too.  All because of

LOVE

Thanks for reading.

PS Share this (or the link to this) with your social network if you think you know someone that might benefit.

2 comments:

Joe C said...

Phil, I've known you long enough to know you're a good, loving person and I'm sure you would be just as good a person without religion. So thinketh this atheist.

Phillip Zannini said...

Hey Joe. Thanks for both the comment, and that it's a kind comment.

Alas, I know myself too well. I do know that without the love of Christ that saved me, I would indeed be a different person - if I was even alive today to be a person.

When I use the term "Jesus saved me" (on the few occasions in conversation that I do) I don't just mean the spiritual salvation or for eternal life - I mean that he saved me in this life as well.

When God's love aprehended me I was a desperately ruined individual trying to drown out my misery. My path had already seen me at the jail house once and I have no doubt that the feeling of cuffs going on me with my hands behind my back would have been repeated before my life (as it was) ended.

I admire people that can be "good" without the love of God in their hearts - it must require exhausting constitution. I alas require every bit of help that the Holy Spirit can provide to me. :-D