A Disheartened Christian

doubtI wanted this post to be about all the great things I’ve found in progressive Christianity — all the wonderful, life-changing things that set us free from the bondage of pseudo-religious hegemony. I wanted to be hopeful and helpful to people seeking truth in a landscape full of lies.

That post may come, but I just have to say… I’m tired. I’m tired and frustrated and maybe even a bit bitter. I see hatred among Christians time and time again, even from people close to me. I see people patting themselves on the back for abandoning their friends, reassuring themselves with out-of-context verses. I see people ruining their lives with religion, headstrong in their belief that the terrible things they do are God’s will.

I’ve seen progressive Christians throwing insults like poison darts at the people who don’t live up to their standards. I’ve probably thrown a few of my own. And I must admit, after so long of having been abandoned by friend after friend after friend over issues of belief, I just want it to be over, and sometimes dismissal is a welcome alternative to engaging those who act as my ideological enemies. Sometimes, I fail to love.

“You will know them by their love for one another,” the Bible says. What love? Tribalism is not love — of course we love the people like us, or we would hate ourselves. Sometimes we think we’ve come so far with our technology and culture, but if you break down the pretense, so many of us are still throwing pointy sticks at each other and fighting over territory.

“You will know them by their love for one another.” That is such a haunting verse when there is so little love. This Christian is worn down. Will there ever be rest?

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About Chris Attaway

Raised in the digital wilderness of the pre-Internet 2.0 era, Chris Attaway is a true gamer and Internet citizen. After a stint studying computer science, his life got flipped turned upside down, and he ended up studying philosophy to help him sort out his life. Now the black sheep in a family of engineers, he has set out to get his footing in the world of freelance journalism. With interests ranging from gaming and technology to LGBT rights, race and politics, Chris is a diverse and skilled writer who always tries to give a fair shake to his subjects.
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3 Responses to A Disheartened Christian

  1. Lauren Attaway says:

    Chris, I don’t normally leave comments on your blog. It’s your hobby and I try to leave you to it unless you really want to talk about it with me. But let me just say–as your wife–that I’m sorry you feel this way. I’ve felt this way before too. I know it feels like no one cares to change and that you must be alone in your pursuit of truth and love. But you aren’t alone. The truth is: Every sect of religion will have some flaw of its own. I suppose that comes with the territory of living in a world that hasn’t been fully redeemed yet. But that shouldn’t be a cause for despair. Things can still get better and maybe they are getting better in places you aren’t even aware of.
    I had someone tell me once not to give up on other people. I too was sad and frustrated and felt like no one wanted to really love one another. He wrote a note to me to ask me not to give up on them because like it or not, its not easy figuring out how to live and how to be in this world. We make a lot of mistakes and hurt a lot of people sometimes. But that doesn’t mean we give up and lose all hope.
    Maybe you can focus your hope on God instead of relying on those religious systems. I’m not saying you shouldn’t hope that others will change. By all means, keep hoping. But maybe your strength will be renewed by just fixing your eyes on God. He knows and understands what you are experiencing. I think it’s important that we don’t put all of our hope in other people alone. This might give you some space to reflect and have your hope grounded for a time.
    I love you.

  2. Ken Nichols says:

    Chin up, little buddy. đŸ™‚

    I think you’ve been spending too much time dwelling on the negative. Instead of thinking of all the crap that still goes on out there (and in our own hearts) we need to focus on Christ and His goodness. The things we want to change about ourselves and Christianity in general won’t be changed by US. Only the Spirit brings true change. So pray for more Spirit, and more of the Spirit accepted in hearts. Remember the times you DID love, or DID successfully share the “despised” worldview. And remember that wasn’t you – but the Spirit within you using you to affect others. We tend to think “it’s all up to me/us” to love on and change hearts, but it’s really NOT. It’s up to us to be OPEN to doing that, but it truly is the Spirit who works within us to work His will in His timing (which never seems quick enough for us).

    Also be aware that outward actions do not ALWAYS mirror what is going on in a person’s heart. Just as you have had some “unloving” moments with your fellow Christians, and yet you know you heart is in the right place, so the same can be said for your brothers with differing viewpoints. We all have times when we let ego and pride get in the way of love. Stepping out of the way when we “know we are right” is not a lesson learned overnight. It is a continuous process, a spiritual dance between our spirit and His Spirit. Sometimes our spirit gets the better of us, and sometimes His Spirit brings out the BEST in us. Try to focus on the times He “won” and keep your attitude positive that He KNOWS what He’s doling (even when the situation seems nearly pointless to us).

    God bless and keep up the good work. You have been a blessing to me on my spiritual journey over the past several months. Rest assured the Spirit is using you (even if it’s in spite of yourself).

  3. Brett Sutton says:

    You are in my prayers man. I feel your pain, and your honesty. I have no sage words for you, as I to have struggled with similar things. That’s why you’re in my prayers. There is a God. He is faithful. Hide His word in your heart. Find rest in the good shepherd (Psalm 23). Find rest as you remember the times that He HAS spoken to you. (Hebrews 3:1-11). I know Hebrews 3 can be a bit of a downer, but take the whole book in context. Hebrews 10 is incredibly encouraging. Paul is speaking with a greater hope for those who call on the name of the Lord, because those are the ones who will never be put to shame. (Romans 10:11, Psalm 25:3)

    If you ever need to talk to me, for whatever reason, just ask for my number, or you might already have it. Love you man. The truth is a beautiful thing. (Romans 8:32, Galatians 5:1). But you know to continue in love as an expression of your faith (Galatians 5:6, 5:15)

    I encourage you to continue pursuing truth and love, as it sounds there are those that believe God’s glory to be at work in you in such a way. I have lost touch with you, but I have confidence that this honorable pursuit for the sake of the glory of God is in your sight. So remember 1 Corinthians 15:58.

    Jesus saved us with His love, and His word holds this world together. That’s why we look to Him.

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