Tuesday, February 28, 2012

What I Believe

I enjoy Facebook. In fact, I probably enjoy it too much. I spend far too much time reading status updates and trying to come up with clever ones of my own. I think it's an interesting form of expression. Some people use it to express their political beliefs (my friends range from extreme socialists to extreme capitalists, from strong liberals to strong conservatives, and everything in between), some their religious beliefs (evangelical Christians, Muslims, atheists, Jews). Some people just use it to catch up with old friends or to see pictures of their grandkids. It's a pretty interesting tool of self expression in the 21st century.

But my issue is this: If one of my friends posts something I don't agree with, be it a religious (or anti-religious) statement or a socialist statement or anything else, and I comment about why they're wrong, then I am labelled a judgmental, conservative, Christian who doesn't think for herself. But if I post something that I believe in, it's okay to tell me why I am wrong. It's okay to pass judgment on the conservative, evangelical Christian. It's okay to clutter up my page with reasons why I am wrong and I shouldn't express my beliefs. I find this interesting and a little frustrating.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that I want the right to run around telling people that they're wrong. That's not my style. I suppose I could, there's nothing stopping me from doing it, other than my own sense of what is decent. Facebook is self-expression and if my friends want to express their beliefs and ideas, then that's okay. It's the forum to do it in. Express away. Post all you want. If I agree, great! I'll give you a 'like', if I don't then that's okay, too...I'll just keep scrolling. I respect my friends enough to do that. I don't feel the need to insert my two cents whenever I see something I don't agree with. So what I'm saying is, if you don't agree with me, then don't agree with me, but don't tell me why I'm wrong. Don't try to correct beliefs that I've spent a lifetime forming. Not on Facebook, that's not the place.

So here's my thing.I figure I'm going to get it all out there in one big burst. This is who I am and what I believe.

I am a conservative, evangelical Christian who mostly votes Republican except for when I think the Democrat is the better candidate. I don't believe in 'half-way' Christianity where we want to take God's love and protection but throw out His standards and expectations. I think God loves us enough to change us from the hot messes we are into something beautiful, something more like Him and less like the world around us. I believe that the Bible is God-breathed and inerrant. I believe in Creationism, the Flood, the  Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, and that the end-times will come as the Bible foretells it. I believe that we are all fallen, we're all broken, we're all screwed up, and that the ONLY answer is giving our lives over to Jesus Christ. I believe that while I have choices and free will that it is God's plan that ultimately comes to fruition and that my life is exponentially better when I am seeking to align my will with His. I believe that it is necessary to be controversial sometimes but to temper that always with love and compassion. I believe that's why the world hates people like Tim Tebow who doesn't get hot-headed and judgmental as the world expects Christians to be--He is like Jesus, certain of his beliefs but expressing them with a level-head and an open heart. I believe that the world was better when we were allowed to talk about God in the schools. I believe that the world was better before TV and the internet came along to numb our minds and turn off critical thinking skills. I believe that I am different than most of my peers. I believe that this post will offend some people and they will want to comment about how I am close-minded or wrong. Or how I believe in a mythological God but that's not supposed to offend me. I'm supposed to just be okay with it when people call the One I put all my trust in, the One who lived and died and rose again for me, the One who moved Heaven and Earth for me, the One who loved me when I was unlovable, the One who cleaned me up when I was a filthy mess, the One who saved me from myself...when people call Him a myth, or just a nice guy, or an impossibility, I'm supposed to be okay with that. I believe that I can't be okay with that and be a real Christian.

I believe that I've probably said enough or maybe too much. We, Christians, were promised this frustration and this double standard. Jesus was called the Prince of Demons, how could we expect to be embraced? No, we were promised controversy and rejection. But we were given a blessing...

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn, 
   for they will be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek, 
   for they will inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, 
   for they will be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful, 
   for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, 
   for they will see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers, 
   for they will be called children of God. 
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, 
   for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

   “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
--The Beatitudes, Matthew 5:3-12

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