I Don’t Care What You Think of My Christianity

Sometimes, following a certain type of post I write (the most recent being Evangelist, or Ego-Driven Meddler?), I get an email or two telling me what a shabby excuse for a Christian I am. (Though let me hasten to add that for every one message I get in the “To [Hades] with you, devil boy!!” vein, I get thirty of the sort that make me blush with faux-modesty before I consider robbing a bank so that I can afford to go to seminary and then start my own church.)

If by chance you are a person who feels that at some point you, too, might be compelled to stop your busy day long enough to write and inform me of how I could or should become a better Christian, allow me, in the hopes of saving you that time, to say that it’s virtually impossible for me to care less about what you or anyone else think Christianity is. I just don’t care. I don’t care what my neighbor thinks Christianity is. I don’t care what members of the church up the street think Christianity is. I don’t care what any Christian leader, pastor, author, or celebrity you can name thinks Christianity is.

I. Don’t. Care. Not because I’m ornery. Not because I’ve Gotta Be Me. Not because I’m so convinced of my own version of Christianity that I’m blind to the wisdom of those who came before me, or who think deeper than I, care more than I, or flat-out know more than I. Lots of people know more than I about a lot of things—including, of all things, Christianity. I mean … duh. If being dumber than others about things that mean a lot to me bothered me, I’d have killed myself years ago.

I believe in the Christianity I do because one day God clobbered me over the head with the Christianity HE wanted me to understand. My entire knowledge of the core truths of Christianity happened to me at the moment of my conversion. (An event I wrote a bit about here.) My understanding of God, and God’s nature, and the historical reality of the figure known to us as Jesus Christ, hasn’t in any substantive way changed one iota since that revelatory moment. I’ve since then learned more about what’s in the Bible—but that’s it. The truth of what I learned remains exactly as I learned it. And it always will. I know this like I know my name.

It’s wonderful that you have your own relationship with God and Christianity, and that you feel passionately about it. But that relationship is between you and God, period. It’s got nothing to do with me.

Besides, if you’re a Christian, we’re already on the same side. God has already made me your brother. That’s enough. Maybe I don’t do Christianity exactly as you do. Maybe I hear our Lord saying slightly or even greatly different things to me than you hear him saying to you. So what? I guarantee you that I can respect your understanding of God, insofar as I count as dear friends Christians of every stripe. Conservatives. Liberals. Fundamentalists. Progressives. People at every point in between. All of them, listening to God. All of them, following God according to the lights afforded them. All of them, trying to become as much like Christ as they can.

A beautiful thing! (And common, I believe, to virtually everyone—but that’s another post.)

Anyway, if you write to tell me what I should think about Christianity, and what I should do about God, and what I must feel is right and true and necessary relative to Christ, I promise you’re wasting your time. I won’t be two sentences into reading your email or comment before I’ll be bored to death by it, delete it, and then literally forget I ever saw it.

Maybe you’re right, and I am wrong about God. Maybe you’re wrong. Maybe we’re all wrong. Maybe none of us is.

Life is short. I can wait to find out what I don’t now know about God. But, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to hear it from him.

Print Friendly

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. John is a pastor ordained by The Progressive Christian Alliance. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. And don't forget to sign up for his mucho awesome monthly newsletter.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    I actually had a lurker using anonymous comments on someone else's blog tell me that I was going to(Hades) for of all things hanging out with that group of sinners.

    So I did some scripture study and reminded the dear person that the Lord, Himself, did an awful lot of hanging out with *gasp* sinners.

    But just the other day I was led to the perfect scripture to sum up the misery I feel when I am around the type of Christian that screams and yells and tells us what we must believe or we're going to (Hades).

    Ephesians 4:15 Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into him who is the Head, that is Christ.

    Foaming at the mouth is not doing it people. Speaking the truth in love is the answer, of this I am certain.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Beautiful words! Lovely, lovely. The problem, of course—and as I know you know—lies in defining the terms. If I'm screaming at you that you need to be saved, I AM doing it in love, because I'm trying to save you. What's more loving than that?

    And then, of course, there's the whole matter of what, exactly, we mean when we use the word "truth." One man's truth is another man's blasphemy—again, as you know. As we all know.

  • ed

    The problem with the premise of your argument is that if someone didn't tell someone else what it means to be a Christian, or if that someone else, upon being told, didn't care to listen then we wouldn't really have a Christianity. Romans 10:14.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Where did I say anything at all in this post about anyone telling anyone else about Christianity? When you say, "the premise of your argument," what are you TALKING about?

    See? Now there's fourteen seconds of my life I'll never get back again….

  • ed

    So, just to be clear, people telling others about Christianity, or even you telling others about Christianity, is okay but others telling you is not?

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….

    Ed. Go away. Please. I'm begging you not to make me go through the hassle of blocking you off this site. C'mon, dude. Spend your energy elsewhere. You can do it. Make an exit.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Oh, forget it. People like you never go away voluntarily. I've blocked you.

    Sigh….

  • http://www.mediocrity.us David Barach

    I don't even know why I'm bothering to comment on this post when you already told me that you don't care. Well, I'm going to anyway, because I don't care that you don't care, which is to say that I absolutely do care what you wrote otherwise I wouldn't waste my time not caring that you don't care what I care about. (Read it again—I promise it makes sense.)

    I find your pluralistic view of Christianity very refreshing. Either you are very noble, as in worship and let worship, or you are very impatient with pushy people. I guess we won't be asking Ed which one he thinks you are. HA!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Mary-W-Lukens-Goodson/100000194585042 Mary W. Lukens Goodson

      I really wish there was a LOVE button on this blog! <3

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    I DO care what you think about the post; I don't care what you think about Christianity. Actually, I DO care what you think about Christianity, a great deal: What I DON'T care about is what you think I should think about Christianity. That's … what I mean here.

    I don't think I'm impatient with pushy people. I kind of LIKE pushy people—depending, of course, upon what they're pushing. But I appreciate direct, passionate people, really. What I don't like is people telling me what I should think about my own religion. THAT … gets real old quick. But I know you know this already.

  • http://mrhackman.blogspot.com mrhackman

    Amen! Amen! Amen! Paul stated regularly this thought line in various epistles. I love it! When we can all do it, the world will change!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    See, now it's immediately clear to me that Mr. Hackman is an insightful, good-hearted genius. Oh, Ed–Ed! Why can't you be more like Mr. Hackman? Why can't we ALL be more like Mr. Hackman? David.

  • http://www.kellykirbyfisher.blogspot.com Kelly

    John,

    First, I get so stinkin' frustrated with people who tell me that my relationship with Christ is totally messed up or not up to par. I gently remind them that they are not invited to the the relationship that I have with Christ…they can have their own relationship with Him.

    Secondly, I sure wish I had such a perfect and flawless relationship with Christ that I had nothing but time to tell everyone else how to relate to Christ.

    Lastly, I am discovering that there are alot of people out there who get a little uncomfortable with people, such as yourself, who are willing to share their imperfect lives and walk with Christ in such a transparent way.

    I, for one, appreciate your candidness – it inspires me to be less fearful about being honest in where I am in my walk with God. I never cease to be amazed at how, when we truthfully share our hearts (especially when God prompts) – that it usually turns out to be an incredible opportunity to share Christ with others.

  • http://emphaticasterisk.com Lindsey

    What a breath of fresh air your blog is! If we are truly to pursue a relationship with our "personal savior!" (Conveniently packaged in individual servings!) then how can we do that with other people constantly telling us what it should or shouldn't be? If my relationship with Christ is a personal one, then by it's very definition what matters most is what I feel about it and how Christ feels about me- and if I truly am in a personal relationship with Christ, that would HAVE to mean that I'm hearing him talk about who he thinks I am. And who I should be.

    At some point I think everyone simply stopped trusting God. Stopped trusting him to speak, stopped trusting him to woo people, stopped trusting him to offer conviction when necessary. We started thinking that he truly does need us talking and wooing and convicting everyone for him.

    Certainly we should do those things when we feel God is desiring us to do them (after all Jesus said he was only doing what he saw his father doing) but we need to step back and let people have their own relationships with God, as well.

    Sorry for writing a book in your comments! :/

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Kelly and Lindsey! TWO MORE SPIRITUAL GENIUSES!!

    Seriously, where do you people COME from? It's awesome.

    DAVID.

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    John, prepare your wife beacuse after reading this I want to kiss you!!! You have finally summed up what I have been trying to say to people for years. Live it your way, I'll live it mine, we will respect each other but STOP TRYING TO TELL ME HOW TO THINK!!! Mwah xx

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    Mwah is me trying to write a kiss, don't know if it worked LOL

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    And as an after thought, if they don't like you or what you think, why exactly do they read your sight?? If I found you offensive I just wouldn't show up, seems simple enough to me

  • Candace

    By the way, Lindsay, I really think you're onto something with what you say about people not trusting God to take care of His work, and thinking (the hubris of it!) that He needs help. That really has the ring of truth to me, and I like the way you said it.

  • Candace

    Ooops, I meant Lindsey, with an "e", honest I did!

  • Yikes

    I can't wait 'til christianity.com blocks you. You're an apostate and a false teacher.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Mom? Is that you?

    (ark, ark. I left this up here because … because could I have MADE my own case any stronger?)

    (actually, it's kind of flattering to be called a teacher. And here I thought I was just some nobody with a blog…)

  • Candace

    Yeah, but you're OUR nobody with a blog, by golly!

    Played RIGHT into yer hands, they did.

    Awesome :-)

  • tavdy

    "Maybe you’re right, and I am wrong about God. Maybe you’re wrong. Maybe we’re all wrong. Maybe none of us is."

    Maybe God's forgiveness can cover all our wrongs, and it doesn't matter if we're wrong or right about Him – all that matters is his love and mercy.

  • http://www.mediocrity.us David Barach

    I get it, I get it. You care very much what people think, you just don’t care to have them tell you what you or anyone else should think. I’m with you. I feel you. I’m right there.

    Mr. Hackman, Kelly and Lindsey—John has asked me to tell him where you all come from and how it is that you are spiritual geniuses (shout out to Kelly whom I’ve met here before.) Here is my answer. You are spiritual geniuses because you are honest with yourselves. You know your truth and don’t need to validate your spirituality through others. You don’t need to convince anyone else who they should be in order to have their making the same choice quell your non-existent insecurities. You are humbled by your sense of your place in the world and before God, and don’t need to resort to arrogance and argumentativeness to cover up low self-esteem.

    As for where you came from? Out of the truth in your hearts. More power to you!

  • Candace

    AWESOME POST, John. AMEN. 1000 times, AMEN.

    And the comments! WOW. Wonderful. You have some of the best commenters on the planet, I think.

    I am soooo gonna use Kelly’s “they are not invited to the relationship that I have with Christ…they can have their own relationship with Him.” (With permission of course, and in my own words, ‘k, Kelly?)

    Why is it that some folks never ask themselves what Jesus would do before they write e-mails like that, anyway? Or why, in asking themselves what He would do, do they sometimes forget that *they* are not in fact Jesus? (I know … because we are human, right??)

  • http://thereisnogray.wordpress.com thereisnogray

    OK, I'm not trying to poke a stick in anybody's eye (or trying to remove their speck before dealing with my own plank) but there are certain absolutes in God's word. So I ask this question: Does one believer have a responsibility to another believer to rebuke and correct when they have sinned?

    2 Timothy 3:16-17: “All scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

    2 Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.” REBUKE A N D ENCOURAGE. (Most people forget that 'encourage' part.)

    I understand what John is saying in this post. I have been on the receiving end of the judgmental Christian. “You go to WHAT church?” or “You seriously believe God did that?” Oh…and the looks I get when I worship and actually raise my hand in praise to God. And at the end of the day I don’t care one iota what people think about the church I attend, or what I know God did in my life, or where exactly my hand is at any given moment.

    However, if a brother in Christ came to me with an observation as to how, where, and when I have fallen short of God’s command for my life, and that brother told me to turn away and then encouraged and supported me as God and I tackled the particular short-coming, I would appreciate his intervention.

    Do I want some person I have never met getting up in my grill over my faith because it doesn’t match his? Nope! So, while I think this is the point John is making, I would say that there may be times when one is called to rebuke and encourage another. Otherwise, what’s the point of having all of you out there in that big body of fellow believers?

  • http://emphaticasterisk.com Lindsey

    @thereisnogray:

    There is a big difference between someone you know, whom you know cares about you, coming to you with a rebuke than someone whom you've never met and will never meet. What makes random passing strangers on the internet feel they have the right to judge John's heart?

    I do feel that we ought to take the concerns of those with whom we're familiar into consideration. Often other people see problems before we're aware of them. But I can't take every single other Christian's judgment of my personal faith to heart. I HAVE to trust God and trust in my love for him first!

    (And you are SO right about the "encourage" part.)

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks, Lindsey and Candace. I feel sorry for you guys, since defending me means going to hell for siding with a heretical apostate–but thanks! Bring marshmallows!

    Mr. No Gray: Though I can barely understand how one adult could be okay with being "rebuked" by another, it's really beside my point. Because that—being "corrected—doesn't have anything to do with questioning or arguing the religious CONTEXT in which that rebuke or the behavior that triggered it exists. "You should quit smoking" is one sort of statement. "You misunderstand God" is another altogether. I was only addressing the latter sort—the sort that looks not to affirm my relationship with God, but to question its validity or wholeness.

  • http://wineymomma.wordpress.com wineymomma

    Amen and amen and amen…

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks, Winey. A LOT!

    Say, for those of you following this comment thread—here's the Official Definition of "apostate":

    noun

    a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle.

    adjective

    abandoning a religious or political belief or principle.

    DERIVATIVES

    apostatical |ˌapəˈstatikəl| |ˈˈøpəˈstødəkəl| |apəˈstatɪk(ə)l| adjective

    ORIGIN Middle English : from ecclesiastical Latin apostata, from Greek apostatēs ‘apostate, runaway slave.’

    And here's the official definition of "moron":

    |ˈmôrˌän|

    noun informal

    a stupid person.

    DERIVATIVES

    moronic |məˈränik; mô-| |məˈrɑnɪk| |mɔˈrɑnɪk| |məˈrɒnɪk| adjective

    moronically |məˈränik(ə)lē; mô-| |məˈrɑnək(ə)li| |mɔˈrɑnək(ə)li| |məˈrɒnɪk(ə)li| adverb

    ORIGIN early 20th cent. (as a medical term denoting an adult with a mental age of about 8–12): from Greek mōron, neuter of mōros ‘foolish.’

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    …before I consider robbing a bank so that I can afford to go to seminary and then start my own church.

    So I am not the only one with this fantasy? I mean, after all, its all God's money anyway, right?

    But, if you don’t mind, I’d prefer to hear it from him.

    There are a few who never grasp this.

    Almost always the alleged correction lacks gentleness and love. Rarely does it emanate from someone who loves me. In fact, of the group of people who know me and love me, I cannot think of a time any of them got-in-my-face anywhere near as much as internet strangers. Its like they've traded in the 2 Great Commandments for "Rebuke your brother (in love)" and "Expel the immoral believer!"

    Something inside me desperately wants to straighten them out. However, I realize that is my ego talking, not Him.

    Thanks for your post on this topic John.

  • http://www.mediocrity.us David Barach

    yikes |yīks|

    exclamation informal

    expressing shock and alarm, often for humorous effect : I had a dip in the 40-degree pool (yikes!).

    ORIGIN 1970s: of unknown origin; compare with yoicks

    Okay, so we compare with yoiks to see where "yikes" probably came from:

    yoicks |yoiks|

    exclamation

    used by fox hunters to urge on the hounds.

    ORIGIN mid 18th cent.: of unknown origin.

    Urging on the hounds. Yup, that sounds about right.

  • http://thereisnogray.wordpress.com thereisnogray

    I agree that a perfect stranger has no place in defining your faith or your relationship with God. If anyone has questioned its validity or wholeness, they deserve a smack. But as Lindsey pointed out:

    "There is a big difference between someone you know, whom you know cares about you, coming to you with a rebuke than someone whom you’ve never met and will never meet."

    I was just trying to figure out if you would listen to the 'correction' from a trusted believer and friend.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    David: Too perfect.

    Gray: As I keep meaning to communicate: It depends on what this correcting friend was seeking to correct me about. If he was advising me not to have an affair, or to quit … I don't know … smoking or drinking too much, of course I would listen to him. But if he was trying to "correct" my understanding of God, I … well, I'd know right away if what he was saying was right or not. If he was right, I'd appreciate the perspective. If he was wrong, I'd laugh at him and throw any fruit at him that I happen to have nearby.

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    I think the conflict here is that John is saying don't TELL me what to believe. Discuss differing opinions, yes, have deep discussion and disagree, why not, if he didn't like that he wouldn't have started a blog!!! (and if you don't like discussions on contoversial points John I know yea not at all). But there is a difference between TELLING and DISCUSSING. I would let all and sundry discuss something with me, and hey, if they had a good point maybe it would open my mind to a few things. But I wouldn't let even my closest friene TELL me what to do. If someone came to me in love and was concerned about something I was doing then hopefully (and my good friends do this) they would seek me out, discuss the problem, suggest a solution and then LEAVE ME TO MAKE UP MY OWN MIND!!!! Telling anyone one how to think will automatically push them away. Only God has the right to do that in my life

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Dan: You're at the top of the list. When the mob with the pitchforks shows up, I'll send 'em straight to you. Cool! Thanks!

    Christine: exactly right. perfectly said.

  • snowowl

    ecc.12:13 …conclusion of the whole matter….

  • Dan Harrell

    John, please add me to the legions of people, OK, maybe six here, but lots elsewhere, who do not feel an obligation to tell anyone how to worship or what to believe, but to love them,unconditionally, and let God sort it out. Someone put that in a book I read somewhere. The two great Commandments trump anything else.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks, Wickle. I'll go over and see your blog, see these meanies picking on you.

    How funny that you asked about my plans to take over the world!

    Well, let's see: Today I posted my first video EVER on YouTube—and this week I found out that my/our latest book, "Being Christian," has been bought for Spanish and Korean foreign edition rights.

    So you tell me.

  • Candace

    WAHOOOOOOO! It was my Amazon review, wasn't it?? C'mon, I know it was!

    Can I have a cushy job in the new regime when the time comes?

  • Cibola

    Great post John!

    I was wondering how long of a comment it would be if I listed all of the new testament verses that say something along the lines of “judge not your brother.” I’m thinking it would be a bit longer than the “rebuke and encourage” verses! There is definitely something oxymoronish (oxymoronic?) about someone who says, “I’m going to tell you where your Christianity is wrong so that you can be a good Christian like I am.”

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    “Oxymoronic.” I love it. Fabulous. Wonderfully said, Cibola. Thank you. You guys are ROCKIN’ this comments section!! What a deal for me.

  • Jim

    Writing books about bible doctrine puts you in the teacher’s seat I’m afraid. Hot seat, isn’t it? You handle it well. But as far as being a false teacher, I John 4:2 says: This is how you can recognize the Spirit of God: Every spirit that acknowledges that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, but every spirit that does not acknowledge Jesus is not from God.

    Man, I hate it when people throw a single verse out to prove some point, like I just did, but I think that a thorough study of the subject would still reap the same conclusion as that one verse. I’m pretty sure that I’ve read somewhere on your blog that you believe that Jesus, God’s Son, came in the flesh. That verse in I John doesn’t say anything about false teachers being those people who teach something that doesn’t line up with what I, personally believe.

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    Oh Jim, I don’t like it when people use a single verse either but well done you!! In fact, in all my study in seminary I don’t recall it ever being taught that we weren’t allowed to disagree, in fact that is what most of seminary is about, huge loud arguments!! I guess God gave us brains to think and thinking causes disagreements. We are not meant to be robots who all believe and do the same things, then this would not be a ‘personal’ relationship with God, it would be a ‘mass’ relationship with God

  • http://thesearethecrazytimes-christine.blogspot.com Christine

    I would like to add as a disclaimer that I personally believe in the church and that the church as a whole has a relationship with God as well as all of its members having their own personal relationship with him too. This is why I agree with statements of faith, but not statements of thought……not sure if that makes sense but I hope you know what I mean

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Candace: Thank you for your review of "Being Christian" on its Amazon page! We really appreciate it. It was a real quality piece of writing. Extremely good. Thank you for that.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    You know, I think I’m going to link to this …

    I just had three people question whether I’m really a Christian because I dared to criticize their idol … I mean, vice-presidential candidate … and quote Scripture at the same time.

    This is a great post, John.

    By the way, I was wondering today about your plan to take over the world. How’s that coming?

  • Pingback: Blog roundup « A True Believer’s Blog

  • Candace

    Well, thanks, I meant every word. It's a great book.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Anita: beautifully said. I could write as well a you, I … well, would. You've got a gift. Thank God you don't use it for evil. Well. Thank God you hardly ever use it for evil.

  • http://phillysoul11.wordpress.com phillysoul11

    Interesting post, I'll spew my 2 cents on the matter, not that they are of any worth mind you…

    "Maybe I don’t do Christianity exactly as you do. Maybe I hear our Lord saying slightly or even greatly different things to me than you hear him saying to you. So what? I guarantee you that I can respect your understanding of God, insofar as I count as dear friends Christians of every stripe."

    Respecting another's view of "who God is", can be fine; however, it can be taken too far. I will respect you or anyone else's view of God as long as it is in line with what He has revealed too us throughout His manifested Word. I will not however respect a view of God that in anyway contradicts or is out of line with Scripture.

    I had a guy who claimed to be a Christian come up to me the other day and state the he thought "God is those who believe in Him, He is any Christian and any Christian is God" now obviously this guy was just confused about what it meant when we say that the spirit lives in believers…I have no respect for a view of God that is irrational and unsupported by scripture and I continued too explain what Christians mean when we say that. I'm not going to stand by and say "Well thats your view of God and I respect that" because I don't, I will state what I believe to be in line with scripture. Sound teaching is vital to a Christian's walk with God, we need to know what we are worshiping, and scripture is an excellent guide.

    I enjoyed reading your post, keep up the good work!

    God Bless,

    Phil D.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Phily: You raise a great point. The truth is, I DON'T respect everyone's ideas about God: some people's ideas about God are plain awful. I tried to cover this caveat by saying, "…INSOFAR as I have friends…." I meant that "insofar" to indicate that I was only referring to .. well, the Christian-types I go on to recount. Perhaps I was wasn't clear enough on that. You did well to note that little snag, though. I was kind of surprised no one else had sort of called me on it.

  • http://www.sisterfriends-together.org anita

    Okay seriously, and I can be if I want to (I just don’t want to be all that often) is that while I’ve loved about a trillion of your posts over the months John this post is better than a weekend at Disneyland and all that.

    The very heart of Christianity is based on the idea of (and let’s say it all together people) a personal relationship between the believer and God through Christ. What part of personal suggests that it’s up for group approval or meeting corporate standards?

    Jesus is everything to me and all that, so I have no problem sharing my faith with others but critiquing another person’s relationship with Christ, judging their interpretation of the Scriptures, or offering my stamp of approval or rejection on how they embody their understanding of Christianity is quite simply none of my business.

  • snowhite197

    This entry is very intriguing to me. One big question I came up with while reading.

    You said your entire knowledge of Christianity came to you at the moment of your conversion. But not your entire knowledge of God, right? Because that would be impossible. For anyone to fully and intimately know an infinite and perfect, holy being in a moment- that's impossible just because of the nature of God.

    But then you go on to say your understanding of God hasn't changed substantively one iota after all this time since conversion. So… I'm just confused about that. Sorry. :/ It's just, I've been a Christian almost my whole life and I have had my own Isaiah 6 moments and Job periods and been through discipleship classes and mentoring since I was pretty young, and He still surprises me all the time. He surprises me through you sometimes!

    To ever say I know all about God, or that no one else could teach me anything about God, would be silly for me- the more I know him, the more I find out that I want and need to know so much more! And God wants us to know Him- Intimately- and many times he uses other people- imperfect people- to draw us closer to Him. So we have to be open to that, even if it hurts, or we lose out on knowing Him, on our purpose. Those are my thoughts, anyways.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Excellent thoughts, Snow; in fact, they made me go back and reword a bit of what I said. (I actually sort of said it backwards: My knowledge of GOD was in that moment made as complete for me as I knew it would ever be—but of course I still had almost everything to learn about Christianity. Beyond that, though—in t his forum, in this … bloggy context, it's just too much to go into. But I've heard every word you said, and absolutely agree with the spirit that I know gave what you've said its form/articulation, if that makes sense. I'm glad you wrote, because it made me see how much I REALLY needed to change what I did. THANKS!

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com Skerrib

    So basically you are secure enough with your identity in Christ that you can rest in it instead of wondering "am I really a Christian?" when folks who are insecure in their beliefs decide they need to woo you to their views so they'll feel validated. And you have trusted people who hold you accountable in your relationship with Christ and speak truth out of genuine love for you when there are sin issues to deal with (because we all have them)…without attacking or questioning your Christian identity. I dig that.

    But Anita I disagree with you on one major point. I love and enjoy John's posts, but I love Disneyland more. Sorry John.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    So how many emails have you received from the curse police? I remember reading your testimony in Penguins and thought, "Holy crap! The Christian curse word watch group is going after this guy!"

    Ok, I may not have thought, "Holy crap!" But I get enough email already.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    No one! You're the first to notice!

    People don't often read this far down into the comments.

    No one loves me.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    Are you kidding? The comments get better and better after the first few dozen!

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Really? Cool. I don't know, though. I think at this point it's just you, me, and Ric. And I think Ric's off watching TV. So it's just you and I. And you, I suspect, have a life. So it's really just me.

  • Candace

    Feeling lonely these days, dude?

    I always read all the comments, too. Even when they hit a couple hundred! :-0

    I figured this post AND the deacon one had that kind of potential, but people are slacking, I guess ….

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    No, not feeling lonely—but, actually AM wondering, frankly, if I should continue to blog. I gotta make money writing, and while I greatly enjoy blogging, it's maybe a tad to … well, FREE for it to continue being really viable for me to keep doing. But … well … still thinking.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Hey, I ran to the grocery store. Well, actually I drove. What was this post about again?

  • Candace

    Now THERE'S a way to generate comments!!

    I vote NO. I mean YES. I mean keep blogging!

    I've bought everything (sometimes multiple copies) except the book for men and the one for bad punctuators. I'll buy those too, if it'll help!

    Darn. Now I am bummed.

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com ric booth

    Well, hopefully you will be thinking about not blogging years into the future and blogging while you're at it… You wouldn't want to rush a decision like that.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Yeah, Candace, that IS awesome of you to have bought the books; of course I appreciate that. And Ric: you're right to advise not rushing into such a decision—though, in truth I've been thinking about it for a long time. It's kind of a lot to go into (and I've been thinking about blogging about it, see what people think), but the bottom line is that … well … my blog's popular enough, but it's not SO popular that it impresses publishers in any substantial way. I've got about 4,000 dedicated readers. That's just not enough. And my readership grows steadily—but slowly. And people who read your blogs tend (I have found) not to buy your books because they feel like why should they pay for something they're getting free? So it's a bit of a Catch-22.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    bitch [Joke! This is a joke! I'm a Christian! I know it's wrong to curse! But. HUMOR!]

  • http://blog.locusmeus.com/ Els

    I think that last line is not true. I read this blog, because I like it. I bought the penguins book (two copies, one to give away), because I was intrigued by the one chapter you put on your blog. Bought the I'm OK one out of curiosity too. If you didn't have this blog, I would never have heard of you, and would not have been buying any books either. It's of course true that people won't buy stuff they can get for free, but last time I looked, the content of your books wasn't published on this blog, except for a bunch of teasers.

    I say keep blogging. Not because it may attract publishers, but because it attracts attention from people who may buy the books. (and because I think it's worth something being able to provoke thought in people who tend to see things only one way).

    As for attracting readership, well… I'm not the right person to ask (two and a half dedicated readers on my own blog I think ;-)), but I see lots of good tips on sites like copyblogger and problogger (both .com). They are aimed at people selling stuff through their blogs or advertising, but there are very many valuable tips in there.

  • http://www.1truebeliever.wordpress.com wickle

    Well, I certainly hope that you don't stop … but I can understand. Sometimes I find myself spending more time on WordPress than I should. And while I think that your blog is probably going to help you sell some books (let's face it … your writing is awesome, and we know what we're going to get if we read here), there is the fact that there are only so many hours in a day. 24, I think.

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thanks for the big love, you guys. It's just so … well, sweet. Thank you. (Wickle: I read your last piece on McCain. Nice work. Els: I have to go see your blog. I don't think I ever have! Lemme go check it out…

  • http://skerrib.blogspot.com skerrib

    I don’t live anywhere near Disneyland anymore, so for me it would be really nice if you kept your blog going. I don’t enjoy cows & grassland nearly as much as your posts.

    Oh wait, you need to do what’s best for you, not me. I certainly see your point about the income-thing. Maybe you could hold a bake sale?

  • http://myonline-fx.net Leslie Mcpherson

    I sent an associate of mine a link to this blog post and he truly enjoyed it

  • http://www.johnshore.wordpress.com John Shore

    Thank you, Leslie. I'm very appreciative of that. Stuff like that is huge. Thanks!! (Hear that, the rest of you readers! THIS is what I'm takin about! Pass my stuff along! Put it on StumbleUpon and Delicious and Digg! Tell your friends to read it! Put a little picture of your mug on my Facebook fan page thing! Do your part to make sure I never have to go out and get a REAL job!)

    Way to lead the way, Leslie McPherson.

  • James

    Doesn't this post fly in the face of all those posts you write about what *other* Christians are doing wrong? I mean, even in saying that your posts are "descriptive" rather than "prescriptive," that comes off as being pretty disingenuous when you say things like, "we Christians too often fail in these ways…" well, that's a judgment isn't it? a judgment you're making about the faiths of millions of other Christians. When you use the word "fail" and follow that up with your particular insight, aren't you saying, "here's how we can succeed?" There's a lot on your blog that I find encouraging, but this attitude of, "I'm just a guy with a blog," in contrast with, "here's how we fix things," comes off as pretty false and condescending too.

    Just pick a mask and stick with it.

    Just playing devil's advocate.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X