Confessions of a Religious Asshole

Yesterday I got one of those comments on my blog.

You know, one of the ones where horror turns to unintentional hilarity and then disbelief. One of those comments so bizarrely WRONG that you don’t know quite how to respond to it. I cringed, then I laughed, then I tore it up into a dozen digital pieces and scattered them onto the internet.

With the smug superiority that comes with assurance of the moral high ground, I held it up for ridicule: “Look at this, my friends. Can you believe anyone could be so WRONG?”

///

Internet commenters are the worst.

It’s like they forget that there’s actually a person behind the name on their screens while their fingers pour out judgment all over their keyboards. To them, I’m not a Christian,  a writer, a human. I’m just a point to be argued, a scarecrow to be defeated, a battle to be won.

Internet commenters are the worst, and yesterday I was one of them.

For all my talk of a better Gospel and a meaningful spirituality, sometimes I’m just a religious asshole.

///

I believe in grace, but I don’t know the first thing about it.

I don’t know what it means, or how it works. I don’t know how to receive it for myself, or offer it to others.

///

I believe in love, but I don’t know the first thing about letting it flow through my life.

Love is patient and kind and humble, and I am none of those things. Love covers a multitude of sins, while I retweet them for a laugh.

///

I believe in Jesus, but I don’t know the first thing about following his teachings.

Sure, I’ll throw his name around like a magic trump card, whip out a few handy phrases carefully selected to win arguments. But when I’m quiet long enough to listen for a voice that’s not my own, I can hear him again

“If you love your friends and hate your enemies, how are you any better than anyone else?”

///

They say the Bible is like a mirror, and when I catch a glimpse of myself in its scattered fragments I realize I’m just the same as the people I’m so quick to denouce.

I speak out against shame, but I shame those who disagree with me.

I speak out against borders and walls, but I’m quick to turn “us” against “them” when “them” make me angry.

I speak of love, but only when it’s easy.

I speak of Jesus, but I’m just like Jesus’ sidekick – pulling out a sword to slash off somebody’s ear, then cutting off my own ears while I’m at it so that I can’t hear Jesus saying what I know he will:

“Put away the sword. Mine is a Kingdom of Peace.”

///

Blessed are the peacemakers, but I’m not one of them. Sometimes I’m just a religious asshole with a loud mouth and a quick trigger-finger.

I’m grateful for grace, though I don’t yet know what it is.

I’m grateful for those friends who whisper in my ears the words of Jesus: “Put the sword down, Micah.” 

I’m grateful that Jesus has a place in his heart for assholes like me. I’m grateful that he lets us walk by his side, that he calls us his friends, that he shows us a better way to live.

[ image: Adrien Leguay ]

Confessions of a Religious Asshole

May 7, 2014 | 3 minute read

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Yesterday I got one of those comments on my blog.

You know, one of the ones where horror turns to unintentional hilarity and then disbelief. One of those comments so bizarrely WRONG that you don’t know quite how to respond to it. I cringed, then I laughed, then I tore it up into a dozen digital pieces and scattered them onto the internet.

With the smug superiority that comes with assurance of the moral high ground, I held it up for ridicule: “Look at this, my friends. Can you believe anyone could be so WRONG?”

///

Internet commenters are the worst.

It’s like they forget that there’s actually a person behind the name on their screens while their fingers pour out judgment all over their keyboards. To them, I’m not a Christian,  a writer, a human. I’m just a point to be argued, a scarecrow to be defeated, a battle to be won.

Internet commenters are the worst, and yesterday I was one of them.

For all my talk of a better Gospel and a meaningful spirituality, sometimes I’m just a religious asshole.

///

I believe in grace, but I don’t know the first thing about it.

I don’t know what it means, or how it works. I don’t know how to receive it for myself, or offer it to others.

///

I believe in love, but I don’t know the first thing about letting it flow through my life.

Love is patient and kind and humble, and I am none of those things. Love covers a multitude of sins, while I retweet them for a laugh.

///

I believe in Jesus, but I don’t know the first thing about following his teachings.

Sure, I’ll throw his name around like a magic trump card, whip out a few handy phrases carefully selected to win arguments. But when I’m quiet long enough to listen for a voice that’s not my own, I can hear him again

“If you love your friends and hate your enemies, how are you any better than anyone else?”

///

They say the Bible is like a mirror, and when I catch a glimpse of myself in its scattered fragments I realize I’m just the same as the people I’m so quick to denouce.

I speak out against shame, but I shame those who disagree with me.

I speak out against borders and walls, but I’m quick to turn “us” against “them” when “them” make me angry.

I speak of love, but only when it’s easy.

I speak of Jesus, but I’m just like Jesus’ sidekick – pulling out a sword to slash off somebody’s ear, then cutting off my own ears while I’m at it so that I can’t hear Jesus saying what I know he will:

“Put away the sword. Mine is a Kingdom of Peace.”

///

Blessed are the peacemakers, but I’m not one of them. Sometimes I’m just a religious asshole with a loud mouth and a quick trigger-finger.

I’m grateful for grace, though I don’t yet know what it is.

I’m grateful for those friends who whisper in my ears the words of Jesus: “Put the sword down, Micah.” 

I’m grateful that Jesus has a place in his heart for assholes like me. I’m grateful that he lets us walk by his side, that he calls us his friends, that he shows us a better way to live.

[ image: Adrien Leguay ]

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