Sunday, 10 January 2021

Thou Shall Not Judge

Sharing my faith has never been “in your face".

I share events like Christingle or William's Harvest “Chef” offering; I don’t, however, preach and try to convert those around me.

Over the years its surprised many that I’m a practicing Christian. My faith is centred in every aspect of my day to day life.

However, I'm not a “normal Christian”. Not because I’m part of some “cult" branch of Christianity but because of how I act.
Many Christians have the “holier than thou" attitude. Those who preach and push their beliefs on others. They make standardised statements in the pretence of “saving those from eternal judgement" but in reality they ostracise and condemn instead.

For example, being gay. I’ve seen many tell those who are gay that they are “sinning”, an “abomination of society” and “hideous” in the eyes of God.

Nope. Not at all. The Bible is very clear on a few things but it doesn’t say that. Anyone who would have read the real context would know that. Instead many misquote and use it as a weapon of condemnation.

These people do NOT represent me, my faith or my God.

Those closest to me know this. They’ve had conversations with me and seen me defend those minorities.

For many Christians I am not “normal".

At church I am known for singing loudly at the back, 'being on my phone,' being 'controversial' and 'argumentative'. Surprised right?

Although they see me on my phone they assume I’m not listening. What I’m actually doing is checking my bible app, making notes or Googling points of interest but, yes, sometimes I’m on social media but that doesn’t mean I’m not listening. I, like many, have the ability of seeing AND hearing. I subsequently listen to every word and reflect on what is said.

Yes, I am controversial. I wear engaging t-shirts like the ones below.


This isn’t to mock but to engage.

Those without faith find them funny but they also do 2 things; 1. They show I’m approachable and not a stereotypical Christian and 2. They get them talking.

This sometimes creates a pre-judgement by those who share my faith; “We should be serious and not make light of Jesus’ existence".

The argumentative side isn’t to cause trouble but to show my moral conviction.

I do NOT agree with everything the church, or those in it, do or say. If I think it’s wrong then I speak out. The bible actually says to do that very thing: Matthew 18:15-17 and Galatians 6:1 but like most of us, no one likes hearing criticism.

My behaviour, attitude and even my clothing has allowed others to make assumptions from those who shouldn’t be judging at all (Check Matthem 7)
In contrast however I’m the man who listens to worship music, has bookshelves full of Christian books which strengthen, question and guides. I am the man who has a family designated prayer wall and who does everything through prayer and biblical guidance. I am someone who listens and watches “daily devotionals" and reads the bible every day. I am the man who serves by doing bible readings, leading the older youth group, running a small bible study/house group, creating and hosting a quiz and helping individuals through prayer and understanding.

I don’t list this as evidence that I’m an “amazing Christian” because I’m not. I’ve already listed why I’m not. However, it shows that what people see doesn’t represent the internal truth.

So why is this a problem?

9.5 years ago I had a spiritual moment. I felt that I was called to train, serve and work in faith.

It was a feeling that’s never left or changed.

Yet, I’m not exactly the model stereotype of a Vicar (or whatever role I undertake further).

I didn’t start my path early on because I ended up separating from the boys mum, then I got a divorce and other things unfortunately happened in my life that are frowned upon.

For example, I’ve ended up in a relationship with a 'married woman', we live together and have a “sinful relationship” through our personal activities. The fact that Hannah was separated from her husband at the time doesn’t count as her divorce hadn’t gone through so “technically” she was still married.

These point are not exactly met with glee within Church guidelines!

From my point of view I’m a good example of a Christian. All the things that I’m not meant to be like (mentioned in this entire post) are things that make me human, approachable and like the world around me.

Having faith, showing it so others can happily turn to you and discuss things without feeling judged is important to me.

I’m just not sure those Christians around me or the Diocese will ever see me differently to the “Controversial and argumentative guy" image without me morally compromising myself and pretending to be someone I’m not.

I would just hope that the balance that my friends and family like about me would be something that’s deemed worthy to pursue.

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