Not All That Way Christians and Lent

by - Monday, March 14, 2011

When it's time to start writing papers, I suddenly remember all these fun things to read which conveniently divert my attention. One of my favorite of these is Dan Savage; this week when I was poking around old articles on Savage Love, I came across one where he talked about NATW (Not All That Way) Christians; basically, he claims these are Christians who have to constantly assert they are not Pat Robertson, Sarah Palin, or in any way affiliated to Westboro Baptist Church. They are those sneaky liberal Christians who still believe in Gay Marriage, Rights for women, etc. Basically, he said that if we exist, we should stop telling people that's what we are and start writing angry letters to the Pope (I am harshly paraphrasing, obviously).

Despite the harsh gloss, in some ways I agree with him. As a teenager, whose feminist tendencies were still somewhat buried under my desire to be a good girl (whatever that means), I figured out that the Baptist Church I attended with my Grandparents had some politics I just didn't believe in. I headed down the street to the Episcopal Church, not long after they had elected their first Gay bishop. This, to me, is step number one; the Christian Church in a many, many-headed monster, and there is no reason to stay a member of a church where they think "Christian" and "COnservative" mean the same thing. I know as a person I am loaded with contradictions; being a Christians and thinking everyone deserves to be treated with love and respect is not one of them. The Methodist Church has also taken a pretty progressive stance toward social politics (as well as a willingness to work in tandem with people of other faiths).

At the same time, I worry a lot about the connotations people will put on me being a Christian, especially living in Northern California. This week I debated getting ashes on ash Wednesday, but I did it, because I hope this is a weird way to claim Christianity back from people who think Jesus loves big business and war for oil (also because I am not a huge wuss). I think there have to be Christians out there who really treat people with real kindness, to slowly change people's opinions. One great example of this is the pastor in Colorado who responded to acts of censorship against Enrique Chagoya's art (which reflectively critiqued the church) by making friends with Enrique and inviting him to paint a mural at his church. (You can read more about this here-http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-opinion/finer-things/2011-03-01/enrique-chagoya-jonathan-wiggins/ ).

Proverbs 10:12
Hatred stirs up dissension, but love covers over all wrongs.

This story is my goal this Lenten season (other than giving up snacks, which is currently killing me): I would like to be a Christian who never has to say "We're not all that way," but backs it up by standing up for others, by treating them with love, and by never hiding that I am a Christian while being totally open to anything anyone else believes. Also, somehow figuring out how pineapple can be a brain food when I'm drowning in the theories of Photography.

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