Maybe I Haven’t Really Tried Christianity Yet (Edited and Expanded )

I have struggled off and on throughout my life with the statement: “Christianity hasn’t failed. It just hasn’t been tried yet.”
Because over the centuries there have been individuals that took Jesus literally about not killing, even in self-defense. Many more have been willing to lay down their own lives by serving others. In my own times, I remember Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Corrie Ten Boom and her family, the lone unarmed Chinese student standing in front of a line of tanks, the students killed while protesting at Kent State.

There are unsung heroes that have given their lives in different ways for others in every century, of every gender, from every nation, religion and walk of life.  In the 13th century when the church with the help of the King of France began a crusade to wipe out the Cathars, a  heretical group in the Southwest of France, the Cathars’ Christian neighbors and friends tried to protect them by joining them when they sought sanctuary in the Cathedral at Beziers. Unfortunately, the “Christian” military leader decided to let God sort them out and burned the Cathedral down with both heretics and Christians inside it.

On the public stage three people come to mind immediately who changed governments by putting their lives on the line for justice and mercy without counting the cost.  They inspired others to do the same. One, Gandhi, admired Jesus, but didn’t claim to follow him, though his actions spoke louder than his words. The other two, Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela did claim to follow Jesus. None were perfect, but they all were willing to lay down their lives for others and not to return evil for evil. And they changed their worlds.

Frankly, when I look at history and listen to Jesus Christ, this is what true Christianity looks like to me.  Yet most Christians cannot seem to accept the reality that not only was Jesus non-violent,  but throughout history violence has never put an end to violence.

The main difference between Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and militia protest groups now on our front pages is that the first three didn’t come to confrontations armed and Mandela came out of prison determined to lead people to forgive and reconcile.

The difference between Jesus and some of our loudest nominal Christians is that he invites, “Come and follow me.” He was never deluded, as centuries of Crusader Christians continue to be, that people can be forced to truly follow Him by law or fear or discrimination.

Who are the “bad” guys in your eyes? ISIS?  Obama?  Militia Groups?  Gays who want to get married?  Donald Trump? Muslims? Immigrants who take our jobs. American companies who out-source American jobs to foreign countries? Christians who want to deny other Americans religious freedom. Tea party members?  Liberals who risk putting compassion for foreigners above Americans’ safety?  Billionaire CEO’s of Conglomerates whose greed threatens America’s economic survival? Gun toting Christians who think violence is the answer to conflict of opinion? All of these are the “bad” guys in someone’s eyes.

As a follower of Jesus  I’d like to think I’d risk my life at least for those I love or admire and hopefully for a helpless child.  But Jesus died for the bad guys, everybody’s “bad” guys.  Isn’t that a bummer?

I admit that I’m not there yet. But, I’m not comfortable with just accepting that. My struggle isn’t over. Maybe I haven’t really tried Christianity yet.

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About Eileen

Mother of five, grandmother of eleven, great-grandmother of seven, 1955 -1959 Rice University in Houston, TX. Taught primary grades; Was Associate Post Director of Religious Education at Ft. Campbell, KY; Consultant on the Myers/Briggs Type Indicator; Presently part time Administrative Assistant/Bookkeeper for Architect husband of fifty-seven years. Blog: Laughter: Carbonated Grace

Posted on January 17, 2016, in B4Peace, Death, faith, fear, forcing Christianity on others., Forgiveness, Gay marriage, historical perspective, homosexuality, Jesus, Judging, Love, Political, Saved by grace and not by law, spirituality and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. “The main difference between Jesus, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and militia protest groups now on our front pages is that the first four didn’t come to confrontations armed.”

    When you read his autobiography, you see that at a point, Mandela considered armed resistance necessary and headed the military wing of the ANC. He travelled out of South Africa for military training, which he fully intended to execute when he returned…

    Yes, Mandela was willing to die for the struggle.

    • Thank you so much for pointing this out!!! This is the disadvantage of old age and memory loss….I did know that at one time. I don’t want to leave him out of this, so I need to relearn that part of his journey……But he obviously progressed past violence to forgiveness and reconciliation. Do you have information and insight into that process for him? Does his autobiography describe that part of his journey?

      • He advocated non-violence until he realized it wasn’t working because of the brutal opposition that they were dealing with.

        He wasn’t given the Nobel Peace prize for nothing … 🙂

        I read his autobiography, A Long Walk to Freedom, but you can google Mandela and get summarized information about his life and work.

        • I think I’ll do the Google first to see how I may need to change my post, then follow through with reading the Autobiography. Thanks. You are such a blessing to me!!

          • You’re welcome. The autobiography is long over 600 words, but I learnt plenty about his journey to conviction and the resilience of a human spirit that is sold out to a cause.

          • I have been undergoing a crisis of conscience of sorts. My daughter-in-law with the four daughters is very active politically.
            When young, I was, but have focused more on family and church in my later years. But frankly most of our American mainstream denominations seem bogged down in the status quo. I really feel called to be more vocal and active in trying to find a way to turn my faith into action in the public arena. America seems to be having a mid-life crises. I think we have lost our collective minds! Right now I am writing politicians, writing more controversial blog posts, and either going to baby sit the granddaughters while Heather goes to protests at the state capitol or go with them all and be ready to get between them and any crazies.

  2. Thanks for visiting my blog and following. I like your post on “untried Christianity”. 🙂

  3. I live in the heart of Cathar country. Despite the genocide perpetrated by the church, the Cathars are still here. Your average tourist may not notice but I’ve had the privilege of living among them for nearly nine years.

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