Prompt for today is: Walk.
“I am weak, but Thou art strong,
Jesus, keep me from all wrong,
I’ll be satisfied as long
As I walk, let me walk close to Thee.”
~~Just a Closer Walk, Traditional Gospel Song
“Woulda, shoulda, coulda but you never learn
To keep me in the center of things
I’ll be there for you just show me some faith in return
You’re quick to say you can do it your way
But now look who keeps gettin’ burned
You can rely on me
To be your friend”
~~You Can Rely on Me, Bryan Duncan
My first question is: How close do I have to walk with Jesus to get the benefits the Christian religion often promises?
I ask this question because 1) I have been in the church my whole life. and 2) Of course, because it doesn’t matter how many times I try to “follow the rules”of whichever Christian group I’m in, my life has been one long curse.
When the songwriter wrote the first song, was he implying that Jesus would keep us from doing wrong, or that He would keep wrong away from us? Or was it both. Anyway you look at it, it’s not happening, regardless how close we walk with Jesus. We should just be honest about that.
In the second song it seems implied that if we’d just walk closer to Jesus things wouldn’t keep going badly for us. This song had a huge influence on me when I was younger. I strove so hard to do what the church told me God wanted me to do. Yet, somehow I ended up married to a porn-addicted deceiver. I prayed, I went to church, I did the bible studies, I went to Christian pre-marriage counseling, I went to the Christian pre-marriage class. I kept my eyes wide open before I was married. Didn’t matter. Zelena lied from the day I met him. Loving God, going to church, studying the bible, praying. Not one of those things kept me safe from the evil person I married.
I’m not the only one. There are so many abused women in the church. These women love God, they pray to Him, they are a hella lot holier than me (obviously) and yet their husbands, almost 100% of them claiming to be Christian and attending church themselves–oftentimes as pastors, abuse them and their children.
And what of the saints around the world? The pastors beaten and left for dead by the side of the road? The villages of Christians destroyed and the men killed, their wives and children carried off into slavery? The children murdered simply because their parents refused to renounce their faith…or sometimes even if they did, just because?
Look I know what the bible says about these things. But it’s not what the church is saying. It doesn’t matter if I sit in a church where the pastor promises that if I’m just consistent in my tithing, God will bless me, or if I’m sitting in a church that tells me if I just have right theology I will finally understand all the suffering. It’s all wrong.
Worse than that, when a person comes into the faith under these false pretenses of finally having everything they ever wanted (love, peace, joy, etc) if they just (insert the pastor’s current interest…tithing, theology, etc) right, then more and more people will walk away when they find out that it was all a lie.
I don’t ask why bad things happen. I ask why the religion that is Christianity tells us there is a way to avoid these things. Why am I constantly told that if I just walked closer to Jesus, my life would be better? Many of us have. We’ve pleaded with God for mercy, we’ve begged God to stop the cruelty (insert image of me at the age of three praying to God that He will make me a better girl so my Christian mom won’t break toys over my head). Nothing works. So, why are we selling our religion as if it is the fix when it never has been, nor ever will be, at least if we believe Scripture?
Disclaimer: I am fully aware that Christians do not like to have their beliefs questioned. We are not raised to respond to questions, most of us were raised to view these sorts of questions as persecution. Personally, I think this view is what makes our faith anemic. As I talk with other people who are outside the church or who have been hurt and abused by the church, these are the questions they ask me. And these are the questions I have no answer to. We need to engage the questions, not take the defensive.
So, how would you answer this question of mine, which is also the question of thousands of others who feel shut out of religion because we live in constant pain? Jesus actually mentions several times during His walk on earth that our lives will not be necessarily better because we follow Him. Why do the pastors and the books and the songs say otherwise?
Linking up (very hesitantly) with 31 days of Five Minute Writes at Creative and Free.
See my menu for the month here.
(Image found here. Link is related to my post.)
Disclaimer 2: I forgot to set my timer so I wrote for at least a minute longer than five. 😛