I'm a giver. I give. As long as you don’t hijack me at the register and guilt me into donating to your cause, as long as I don’t feel manipulated into donating, you can count on a buck or two from me. If your kids are selling lemonade, I’ll never pass them up. If your selling candy so your team can afford to take a trip to play in some tournament, I’ll get my sugar fix from you. If you’re collecting for Miseracordia or Firemen’s Charity or whatever on the street corner, I’m happy to help.
So I was reaching for a dollar bill in the center counsel of my car today when I read the name of the charity the girl was collecting for and I stopped. PLEASE HELP OUR CHRISTIAN MISSON TO AFRICA. Hmmm. I closed the hatch, left the dollar bill where it was and politely shook my head no. Sad, considering I’m a Christian huh?
That’s the problem though. These people are going to go out into the world and do “good” in the name of Christians. Only I don’t trust those people. They hijacked my faith. In fairness, not all of them have. Maybe it’s even fair to say that most Christians are still good, but it seems like the loudest, most visible, most vocal ones give the rest of us a bad name. I didn’t donate because I wasn’t sure which kind these were—would they make me proud or make me ashamed of them?
On their mission, will they teach love forgiveness and compassion or judgment, self-righteousness and intolerance? Will they be so backward thinking that they refuse to acknowledge science? Will they insist that dinosaurs walked the Earth 3,000 years ago to accommodate their biblical timeline? Or will they understand that science is the greatest proof of God’s existence? Will they embrace the fact that God is more than a book which was never meant to be taken literally in every single instance?
I was at a stop light when this all happened. I only had a few seconds to make up my mind. My typical, usual, normal reaction is just to give. I can always spare a buck or some spare change. I certainly could have in this instance too. And either way, my dollar isn’t going to make much difference. It’s just a dollar. It’s just spare change. My little stand doesn’t really mean much.
But I’ve always believed that the way you change the world is by not letting the world change you. And today, I wonder, did change the world by not giving without knowing exactly what those people believed in, stood for and represented, or did I let the world change me by not doing something that normally comes natural? I’m not sure. What I do know is that I have a growing resentment for many of those who fall under the title of Christian. I find myself apologizing for them, disassociating from them, distancing myself from that title.
How sad. But true; And now I want a new title. When I stand up to be counted, I want people to know on which side I stand. I’m tired of being lopped in with the intolerant and self-righteous. I’m tired of apologizing for what I believe, because others who read the same book I do twist it to their own agendas.
Maybe those kids out there collecting money were the good guys. Maybe they weren’t. I don’t know. But I couldn’t take the chance of supporting that which I so fully resent. What a complete shame.