The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.
(Quoted in dc Talk's 'What If I Stumble?,' 1995.)
Lately, as I navigate my calling as an artist (and all it entails), coming to terms with the trauma in my past, the faith community that has by-and-large told me God can't love me because (any number of stupid self-centered reasons but mostly because God made me an artist), and the loss of several friends because I'm 'too depressed,' I'm becoming increasingly disillusioned with the whole thing.
I grew up in the Christian bubble. I freely admit that. In a lot of ways, I'm still in it. But I don't like what I'm seeing. It doesn't make sense. And it's not necessarily God that I have a problem with (although I do still have trust issues with Him due to my cousin's entirely unnecessary death in 2015). It's the people.
The people of God -- oh, that's a lofty title. The people who reflect God -- all His love and compassion and kindness and joy and wisdom and justice and gentleness and patience. The people entrusted with His work of restoring broken people and reminding them they are valuable. The people originally called 'little Christs' because they were so much like Him.
You know who the people of God really are, on an individual level?
They are that person at church who tells you you are too negative and that you need to be more happy or else you can't be friends anymore.
They are that church leadership figure that actively stifles your gift (and no-one else's) because they have a 'feeling' that 'people might not like it.' (Not 'is this a direction God wants us to go?' not 'is this gift forbidden or approved in Scripture?' not even 'does God have something to teach us through this person's use of this gift?')
They are that other church leadership figure that talks behind your back -- telling your friends not to associate with you because you're 'too negative.'
They are that friend who's been through darker valleys than you have, who literally stops talking to you BECAUSE you're 'too depressed' -- then gets upset when you go to someone else for support.
They are that friend who, even after learning you're in therapy following a suicide attempt, keeps telling you to 'get over it.'
They are that best friend who basically cuts off the friendship -- hoping you won't notice -- and when questioned, their excuse is 'you're too personal.'
They are that person who told you they cared about you and then began literally grading every email you sent them, based on 1. whether they were 'too long' or not, and 2. whether or not they had a 'good balance of positive and negative.' Without addressing anything you actually said in the email.
I sense a theme. God's ambassadors are consistently telling me that I'm annoying and too talkative and too deep and too negative. Ergo, this must be the way God feels about me too. I mean, that's what His representatives are telling me.
You know what's really stupid?
All these same people keep telling me 'God loves you...'