8 Ways Christians Fail to Be Christian

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I, a Christian, feel that we Christians too often fail in these eight ways:

1. Too much money.

“Sell your possessions and give to the poor.” (Luke 12:33)

“You cannot serve God and Money.” (Matthew 6:24)

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.” (Matthew 6:19)

“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” (Luke 18:25)

Jesus wasn’t terribly clear about a lot of what he said (see #3 below). But how could he have been any clearer about his desire for “wealthy Christian” to be an oxymoron?

2. Too confident that God is more often than not pleased with how we behave. Most of us let ourselves off the hook so often we’ve worn our hooks down to a nub that a worm couldn’t curl itself around. We should have more faith that God remembers what we assume he forgets.

3. Too quick to believe that we understand Jesus. Show me a person who claims to fully comprehend even half of what Jesus said, and I’ll show you a person who is either frighteningly dense or flat-out lying.

4. Too action-oriented. We should spend less time imagining that we’re acting in the name of God, and more time in quiet reflection trying to discern what God’s will is in the first place.

5. Too invasive in the lives of others. Unless they’re manifestly doing harm to others or themselves, we should let people be. The best way for any of us to properly tend to the lives of others is to properly tend to our own lives.

6. Too quick to abandon logic. When talking to others about our faith, we Christians too often resort to a language and line of reasoning that leaves the norms of rational logic discourse sitting on the ground behind us, waving a sad good-bye. Speak of your religious experience as if it is the subjective phenomenon that it necessarily is and must remain, and you will come across as sane and reasonable. Insist that what’s true for you must be true for others, and cease wondering why you receive so few party invitations.

7. Too insular. Christians spend too much time hanging out with other Christians. No one can understand people they never get to know.

8. Too uneducated about the Bible and Christianity. We Christians are chronically prone to embarrassing ourselves by displaying how painfully unfamiliar we are with the history of Christianity and/or what’s actually in the Bible. It’s like bragging about living in a house that any fool can see is built upon sand. Right now would be an excellent time for us to stop doing that.

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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.

  • Todd Rogers

    What is different in the new edition of UNFAIR that would make me purchase this title again? I really loved the first book. Very insightful and it really helped me to bridge the chasm between my Christian Faith and my homosexuality, and where I fall in the Grand Scheme Of Things.

    I don’t want to just purchase this new book for its own sake though….so where can I find out what is different between the editions?

    Thanks John! And God Bless You for being straight and defending us in the LGBT world!

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Todd: If you bought the first UNFAIR as a Kindle book, you get this update of that title for free. If you bought the softcover edition, then … close enough. (Thanks for kind words about it.)

  • Too much money?

    I wonder about that one. Two reasons:

    (1) My aunt and uncle have been very well off for most of their lives (Uncle is a CEO). They’ve decided to found a permanent home for disabled adults. I don’t know how these things work, but I assume that they had to spend a long time saving up enough money to establish this sort of thing. Is it bad that they were (and still are) wealthy for many years if it allowed them to do that?

    (2) We don’t have a very good safety net in the US for a lot of things. Given the right combination of unemployment, lack of health insurance, and severe illness/disability, you could run through hundreds of thousands of dollars in very short order. Even college costs on the order of $40,000 a year now. Is it wrong to save up money to deal with expenses, both expected and unexpected, like these?

    I’m all for the idea of giving to charity if you can, but it seems like many of us, in the middle class, at least, walk a fine line between giving lots of money to charity and keeping ourselves from having to resort to the very social safety net we’re trying to support.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      Yes, all of course important and salient points, Too. And they raise an interesting question. Namely, if surviving in a capitalistic economic system makes necessary the hoarding of a great deal of personal wealth–and without question the case can be made, as you’ve made here, that it does—can capitalism be said to accord with Christianity? And if not, what economic system might?

      • Maria Seager

        I think most Americans believe that Capitalism is part of the ten commandments. We look upon wealthy people as being better and we tend to believe that God must have rewarded them. Wealth has nothing to do with faith. Wealth is not a reward from God.

        Capitalism is an amoral tool and the best people who worship at its altar can hope for is to be amoral too. Unfortunately, as humans, we tend toward the immoral which is why Jesus was sent to earth in the first place. No one is saying that wealthy people are evil per se, but there have been studies done that shows the wealthy as a whole tend to be self-serving rather than not. Yes, there are exceptions. Additionally, if you believe that your wealth is “deserved” and not simply an accidental result based on your gender, race and familial background, then again it leads to a level of ego that doesn’t really jibe with the teachings of Christ.

        The bottom line is that it is very hard to love God above all else when you what actually are spending your time doing is creating wealth. The argument that you can do good with money doesn’t change that fact.

        • Marty

          A certain evangelical broadcasting personality said Thursday that capitalism is God’s system and communism is Satan’s system.

          • Matt

            Of course. Wouldn’t want to get rid of 501(c) nonprofit statuses and all that. It cramps your collection style.

        • http://hanson807.wordpress.com Quek

          I think that Capitalism is pretty close to the ten commandments. We are given free will by god to make the right decisions. Taking away free will, like a socialist system does, is just a way to force someone to do as you wish and as you believe they should. The Jews wanted a king and a set of rules, Jesus came and did away with that. Capitalism is the ownership of the means of production, if you think you owning capital is vastly more evil than a state owning the capital, why is that? Do you believe the people in government have much higher morals than you and should control you so you don’t make evil choices?

          In the end, the morality of capitalism lies with the morality of the person just as the morality of the government lies with the person in government. But God gave us free will, why would you want to give that up?

          • Matt

            Who said anything about communism taking away free will? The dictionary says that communism is “a theory or system of social organization based on the holding of all property in common, actual ownership being ascribed to the community as a whole or to the state.”

            What you seem to be thinking of is the Communism, which is “a system of social organization in which all economic and social activity is controlled by a totalitarian state dominated by a single and self-perpetuating political party.” That’s what was up in Russia; it’s not the idea as a whole.

            Actual communism as it was meant to be practiced (“from each according to his ability, to each according to his need”) I don’t think has ever actually been done, as far as I know. And I personally think that capitalism enforced without any kind of social safety net emphasizes a few over the many just as surely as communism where one political party controls all information and resources. It doesn’t matter if you have inherent free will if the system you live in doesn’t allow for you to use it freely. I’d like to see the US become more socialist-minded, like the Nordic countries, France, or the UK.

            It’s probably because the Cold War was over a few years before I was born, but I will never understand my fellow Americans’ knee-jerk aversion for anything even remotely socialist. The USSR was bad because it oppressed its citizens, not because it was communist. You don’t need to drag the Ten Commandments into it; I see plenty about stealing and bearing false witness, but nothing about “Ye shall hold private property and the state shall enforce thou private ownership.”

    • Lymis

      The public, PR-driven, media-saturated face of American Christianity strongly implies (when it doesn’t bluntly state) that prosperity is the measure of Christian success. That if God loves you, you’ll be rolling in dough. That the single most important thing Christians can do is give money to the church – or to church leaders.

      Some of those closest to Jesus were wealthy – Joseph of Arimathea and Susannah, among others. But it’s clear that Jesus wasn’t considering them worthy because of their money – witness the parable of the rich man and the widow with her tiny contribution.

      I doubt Jesus would have an issue with someone who was wealthy through integrity and compassionate hard work, who used that money responsibly to help others and had some luxuries (say, perfume for one’s feet).

      Jesus would equally, no doubt, refuse to think that someone who was physically attractive was “better” than someone who wasn’t – it would be immaterial, and his concern would be how they interacted with others. I’d guess it would be the same with money. A nice house and nice things? Okay. A fifth house, 12 bedrooms, and solid gold bathroom fixtures while people in the same towns are going hungry or without medical care? I think he’d have a strong opinion on that.

      • Allie

        I like the way George MacDonald put it. The quote as near as I can remember is that it’s hard to make haste to be wealthy without offending against God. I like that – make haste to be wealthy – doesn’t condemn being wealthy per se, so much as what you have to do to get there.

        • Jill

          I like that too.

        • DR

          Love this!

  • Squirrely Girl

    Guilty on 8 of 9 counts. I don’t think I will ever have to worry about having too much money…if I did I would probably give most of it away…lol But thank you again, John for reminding me of things I should already know…

  • Lymis

    I don’t argue the main point – not by any means – but I’ve always been struck by how often people use that rich man (“sell all you have and follow me”) as some sort of universal prescription for all Christians.

    We don’t say that Jesus doesn’t want anyone to fish because he told some fishermen to drop their nets and follow him. We don’t say that Jesus doesn’t want anyone to be a carpenter, just because he changed careers.

    I’ve always seen that story as Jesus calling another apostle – that THAT man was being told to sell everything and follow Jesus, and if he had, we would have known his name and he would be on the list of the Twelve, or at least counted among the closer disciples. And he turned that opportunity down and walked away.

    Rather than interpreting that story as being anti-money, I see it as more accurately being about being prepared to have God call you, and being prepared to forsake your old life – money, job, family, even your old name, if that’s what you find God calling you personally to do. Not that God will call everyone the same way.

    There’s still plenty of solid justification for the claim that Jesus felt that loving money more than people was a bad thing and a spiritual hindrance. I’m not sure that story is best understood that way.

  • Richard W. Fitch

    As the saying goes, ‘Some times we can’t see the forest for the trees’. Too often we get fixated on the minutia of a passage and forget the larger vision in which that episode is contained. The story of the rich young ruler needs to be seen in the larger perspective of a community that anticipated the End Times within their own lives. Both Jesus and Paul seem to have this as a base in their teachings. It is a call to those who have more than enough to ease the pain of others until the Kingdom is fulfilled.

  • Brian W

    I like the list, #6 is somewhat confusing since I see the problem that we abandon faith and attempt to evangelize the lost by embracing rationalism, evidentialism and yes, logic to try and “convince” the unbeliever to believe in the Good News of the Gospel. We tend to exhort to “intellectualism” as though you should come to God’s saving grace by logic and intellect, aside from faith. “by grace are you saved through faith and that not of yourselves, it is a gift from God” “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God”

    • Lymis

      Why would being logical force you to abandon faith?

      • http://autumnmacarthur.com Autumn

        Lymis, I don’t think that’s what Brian said. I read it that he said it the other way around, that some of us try to use logic to bring people to faith.

        It doesn’t necessarily work that way. Ultimately faith is something we live, not believe. It’s not neccessarily logical to have faith in what we cannot see, faith is it’s own proof- Hebrews 11:1. Faith isn’t illogical at all, but starting from logic can be putting the cart before the horse, for some of us anyway!

        This could be an individual difference thing- some people primarily come at things from thinking and logic, others from emotion and intuitive knowing. One is not better than the other, it’s just how we are made.

        How we present the Good News to someone needs to based on knowing them well enough first to recognise what sort of person they are. But I’m not much for random evangelising. If my life isn’t enough of a witness, I’m probably falling into one of John’s 8 categories!

        • Brian W

          Autumn,

          Thanks for making it clear.

      • Lymis

        I’ll repeat my question. What about including logic in the conversation requires you do anything remotely resembling “setting aside faith?”

        I’ll agree that evangelizing by trying to resort to nothing but logic is unlikely to be successful.

        But it isn’t an either/or, and John never said it was. All too many people are not only willing ignore logic, but to be actively hostile to it, and to claim that wanting religion or theology to be internally consistent is wrong, and many people express the foundations of their faith as explicitly and inherently based in things that are utterly at odds with science, logic, and reason.

        Faith is subjective, and the experience of God is very definitely of the heart and of hope and of feelings, but it can’t fly in the face of reason. Intellectual honesty certainly has to include the admission that we don’t and can’t know everything, and we can’t directly experience everything, and that faith becomes primary precisely when we reach the boundaries of intellect and reason, but not that reason should be set aside.

        Nobody said you have to start from reason – that’s a gross misrepresentation of what John wrote.

        I also find it very telling that both of you seem to equate “talking about your faith” with evangelizing and trying to convert someone else. Brian clearly reads #6 as being entirely about how to “attempt to evangelize the lost.” There are far more reasons to share your own life and faith experience with someone than trying to convince them you have the only right way.

        • Brian W

          Lymis,

          What I meant was it is easy for Christians to fall into the snare of trying to use JUST logic, rationalism, evidentialism or intellectualism as the primary means of engaing the unbeliever. The substance of things hoped for (eternal life/love) and the evidence of things not seen (namely God) is faith, not mans reasoning or empirical evidence. It is easy to lose sight of the spiritul to focus on the temporal. “For without faith it is impossible to please Him”.

          • http://autumnmacarthur.com Autumn

            Good points, Lymis.

            But I don’t think either of us said anything hostile to logic, or that abandoning logic is helpful or desirable.

            And I’m about as far from evangelical as it’s possible to get. I try to live my life in as Christ-like a way as I can, with God’s help, often failing pathetically. If someone asks me about what I believe, I’ll tell them. I feel a God who loves us so much He forgives us completely and utterly for all our screw-ups is Good News. Doesn’t mean I’m trying to “convert” anyone. I believe we’re all saved, anyway. The only point of giving my life to God now (ultimately it’s His anyway, no matter what I think or believe) is to have a better life and be a more loving and giving person in the here and now.

            I’m not arguing with John’s #6. It’s about balance. Faith must always be subjective. Logic is subjective too. One person’s logic is another person’s illogic. Logic is a tool. Like any tool, it can be used wisely, or unwisely.

          • Lymis

            Autumn, in all seriousness, I don’t think you agree with Brian’s approach nearly as much as you think you do. I could be wrong.

          • http://autumnmacarthur.com Autumn

            We all could be wrong, and very likely are, one way or another! :)

            I don’t know how much I agree with his approach or not. I suspect he’s more evangelical than I am, but I doubt he goes around bashing people over the head with his B ible, either

            I never said I did agree. I just said that I didn’t read him advocating totally setting aside logic, merely that an overemphasis on logic could take away from the role of faith. Given the choice between faith and logic, I’ll choose faith.

            Luckily, I’m not asked to make that choice, as the two aren’t mutually exclusive. Which I think may have been John’s point with #6.

          • Brian W

            Autumn,

            Correct assessement. Our actions speak louder than our words when it comes to evangelism, but words and conversation are vital in the evangelizing of the world. God has chosen the simplicity of preaching, to confound the mighty. Every believer I know proir to their belief had multiple one on one conversations with other believer(s).

          • DR

            (John had a conversion in a closet)

          • Lymis

            “What I meant was it is easy for Christians to fall into the snare of trying to use JUST logic, rationalism, evidentialism or intellectualism as the primary means of engaing the unbeliever. ”

            I think I’d honestly find that refreshing. You’ve obviously been exposed to different people than I have. I’ve found many genuinely wonderful people who have take many approaches to living their lives as witnesses to the love of God, but I can’t honestly say that any significant number of them have tried the “JUST logic” route. But then, I’m not an unbeliever, so maybe some of them do go after the unbelievers that way, and save all their logic for those situations. A distressing number of people who claim to be believers tend to take the fact that I do believe it all fits together logically, even if we don’t have all the pieces, as evidence that I am an unbeliever, though.

          • Brian W

            I suppose I should have used “primarily” logic instead of JUST logic. I say that because I have fallen into the trap of trying to use primarily logic and reason when discussing Christianity to unbelievers. We try and appeal to the intellect rather than the heart. Once God has a person’s heart, the head will follow. Religion goes after the head – Christ goes straight to the heart.

          • DR

            Brian, my dearest friend is a researcher and once he *understood* the message of Christ on a purely intellectual level and found a way of reconciling what he needed to understand about what it means to have faith, he embraced it but he absolutely led with his mind. Please, please, be so careful in these sweeping statements that you make so declaratively.

          • Jill

            This, exactly.

          • Brian W

            Christianity first and foremost is an inward working of God the Holy Spirit on the heart of an unbeliever, not their intellect. Religion has one say “I know, therefore I believe” Christianity has the sinner say “I believe, therefore I know”. It all starts with the heart, not the intellect. But again, God works as He wills. I’m not saying to neglect a person’s intellect when discussing the converting Grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but we mustn’t focus solely on the intellect with complete disregard to the deepest recesses of a person’s heart. The result can be (not will be) a “head” conversion without a “heart” conversion.

          • Elizabeth

            Who are we saying, “I believe, therefore I know” to again? I’m a huge fan of Matthew 6:5-6, and, yea verily, my heart usually works in tandem with my head.

          • DR

            Why are you being so formulaic on what someone needs to know? It’s possible that there are those who place tremendous value on logic and science and as such, they actually may need someone who can speak to faith through that lens. You seem to have such a rigid approach to what the “right” way of approaching someone who doesn’t believe in God. Perhaps you can trust in the Holy Spirit who knows what others need far more than we can learn in evangelical school.

  • http://fordswords.net David S

    Pondering this: Too confident that God is more often than not pleased with how we behave.

    The Christianity I experienced as a kid taught me to loathe myself. Shame was the mortar that held my closet together. I would retreat to the darkest corner and have at it with my cat-o-nine-tails. That was not of God.

    I see a lot of parallels between my experiences and the impact of the doctrine of total depravity. I don’t believe that God wants us to focus so intently on our human sinfulness that we are unable to recognize that we are created in His image. I think self-loathing is a barrier to loving others.

    So I think point two has a counterbalancing one: Too focused on human unworthiness.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      fwiw, friend David: I was careful to use the words “how we behave” instead of … well, anything less specific, because I didn’t want the message to be about God being displeased by who anyone is–for the exact reason you so eloquently say here. You know what I mean? I wanted to keep the point focused on the idea that it’s through what we do that our morality is manifested, not in (of all things) who we simply are. But perhaps “how we behave” is a wall too meager to rebuff the sort of awful monsters that hounded you as a child.

      “Too focused on human unworthiness” is a very good one.

  • http://fordswords.net David S

    Pondering this some more: Too confident that God is more often than not pleased with how we behave.

    Here’s where I totally agree with this point….

    I think that sometimes we grasp our doctrines so tightly that we crowd out the possibilities for God in our lives. If our behavior flows from moral certainty rather than faithful humility, there’s a good chance we are mucking things up in the name of God. I know I certainly have at times.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      so perfectly said.

      • Moral certainty…

        I generally feel pretty certain about the morality of the general principles by which I behave, but it’s not like I have a strict set of rules by which everyone must live at all times, it’s more like…I try to treat people with kindness and empathy and patience, and I feel like this approach very rarely goes wrong. I fall down over and over again, of course, but then you just have to pick yourself up, take responsibility and ask for forgiveness, and try again.

  • Kathryn

    Well, (clearing throat), I would probably be one of those cranky people, at least at times, sorta, kinda, sometimes. lol

    To compensate, I keep my mouth shut so as not to embarrass the rest of you.

  • J

    So, there’s an acceptable level of cranky?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

      God, I hope so.

      • Lymis

        Amen, John. Amen.

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        Me too!

  • Mel

    Guilty of most if not all of the list and why I struggle to stay in a church.

  • Robert

    Just a point brought up by Too Much Money. Most people posing as “Christians” in capitalist America are, in fact, Ayn Randians. A lot of people in Congress who purport to be Christian also laud her books almost as another Gospel. Of course, Rand herself was very derisive toward religion in general, and as Jesus pointed out, one cannot serve two masters.

    The problem comes about when we try to define ‘renunciation.’ If we renounce riches, does this mean that we need be poor? According to Swami Prabhavananda, renunciation is the giving up of everything, riches and poverty alike. “Only by fully realizing that the ideal is to give up utterly ‘me’ and ‘mine.’ Attachment does not come from a quality in objects, but from a possessive taint in the soul. Everything belongs either to nature or to God. The moment you label anything as ‘yours’ you begin to suffer from attachment.” Having it is not the problem then, but identifying with it, attaching your self-worth to it, is the problem. If a Christian by dint of work becomes wealthy, but doesn’t attach to the result, he can said to be, as Meister Eckhart once said, “…poor in spirit.” The wealth then becomes merely a tool with which to do further work, and if he no longer has it, no problem. After all, the Shakers acquired wealth through their work, but that wasn’t the goal. Their goal was simply to work hard and in faith. The wealth was almost an accident, or at the very least, merely a result of their action. But they never attached to it. They were attached to God.

    I hope that that sounded clear and not like a bunch of flapdoodle.

    • Jill

      Ayn Rand’s personality has been deconstructed as a textbook narcissist. My limited awareness of her philosophy tends to agree that’s true. How her ideologues claim Christian values with a straight face is incredible.

      But to your point, I am passionate about solutions for poverty, knowing how destructive and debilitating it is. But there is spiritual poverty found in wealthiest areas of the world as well. Too much, or too little, is imbalance and obviously doesn’t work. But ultimately I believe it’s what we do with either situation that shows to us how in line with the Christ model of compassionate giving we are.

  • Matt

    Count me in as a cranky Christian. If hell existed and I had the power to send folks there, every other driver on my morning commute would be roasting. I’m definitely guilty of being too insular and invasive.

    One thing that makes me grit my teeth is when people say things like, “God wants you to…” or “God thinks…” or some variation thereof. I want to snap back, “Just say what you mean and own it. If God is speaking in your heart, we’ll know it. If you’re hearing God in your head, there’s meds for that.”

    It’s probably my rebellious youth showing, but I get pretty tired of Christian rules (except the Ten Commandments) and the Bible in general. I’ve got John 3:16 down, I can recite the Apostle’s Creed from memory, what else do I need? So I’ve got #8 covered pretty handily.

    Cranky indeed! Downright cantankerous. I need to go shake my fist at those damn kids on my lawn.

    • Elizabeth

      I knew we could get Christian Brat Pack going.

      • Jill

        I’m there, martini in hand.

        • Soulmentor

          Oh please. The real martinis taste terrible, like drinking turpentine (not that I’ve ever done that, just imagining). Get with the program and order a Cape Cod or Sex On The Beach.

          Or are they outdated these days?

          OK, you’re a woman but a real man drinks Brandy Manhattans….with a wee splash o’ cherry juice to cut the sharpness.

          • Lymis

            Try half and half gin and vodka with a splash of triple sec. Doesn’t taste like turpentine at all.

          • Jill

            I’m of the dirty martini-style variety. I also like g&t and scotch. I like my turpentine neat.

          • Jill

            Um… Cape Cod, maybe out of date. SotB, definitely. Sorry. :(

            I’m not the woman with umbrellas in her drink, unless sand, sun, and cabana boys are involved.

          • http://autumnmacarthur.com Autumn

            :)

            Sounds like you have fun vacations!

    • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

      I’ve been attending a Methodist church for three years and I still don’t have the apostle’s creed memorized…of course I just refuse to try.

      I am glad I don’t believe in hell, or that I have been given the keys to that hot place, or there are some people I’d be tossing there, then regretting that hasty decision, prompting the need to grab a set of fire resistant tongs, and fish them out from under all that brimstone.

      As for rules. I have two to do that whole Christian thing…remember how utterly awesome is, being utterly grateful for things like life, coffee, cats, and the fact that God, for some reason I’ve yet to fathom, thinks I’m worthwhile loving… AND

      tripping and falling while I do my damndest to figure out how to love others with the quantity and quality of love that I deserve…uhm, I mean desire, from them.

      Now do raspberry martinis count?

      • http://allegro63.wordpress.com sdparris

        how utterly awesome God is…..hate that you can’t edit your editing snafus here.

        • http://Fordswords.net David S.

          I’ve just resigned myself to the fact that I must seem like an inarticulate, uneducated simpleton to readers hear….

          ….er, here, rather.

          I think raspberry martinis are cute. My drink of choice is a perfect manhattan (with rye of course) straight up.

      • Matt

        Heh, the only reason I have the Creed memorized is because of regular attendance in a Lutheran church for 15-odd years (we recite it out loud). I could probably lead a Lutheran service from memory too, if I were of a mind to, but I’d look ridiculous in the pastor’s robes.

        A raspberry martini sounds amazing. Let’s go with that!

  • http://www.torrancetheatrecompany.com/Members_PShields.htmlwww.torr Perry Shields

    #8. Subliminally, I’ll bet that many American Evangelical Protestant Fundamentalists think that the Bible fell out of the sky, leather-bound, in King James English, just a few hundred years ago. Others think the apostles were walking around with King James Bibles in their hands. Most don’t get that “the Bible” isn’t in the Bible. And on that note…

    …when a book of the Bible uses the phrase “Word of God,” it is not talking about the 66 books of the Protestant Bible. The Word of God created all – it is something much bigger than a text.

  • http://www.progressivechristianitybook.com Roger Wolsey

    Excellent post! Just the kind of provocation that we need. Here’s what I have come up with as Ways to Measure our Discipleship: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/faithforward/2013/07/10-ways-to-gauge-your-christian-development/

    • http://www.torrancetheatrecompany.com/Members_PShields.htmlwww.torr Perry Shields

      There is our ideal self (how we wish we were) and our real self (how we actually are). Measuring ourselves by any list such as yours, we likely fail much more than we succeed but once we start counting our “successes,” we are in Pride-Land and voilá – another sin.

      I am so thankful that only God’s measurement of me matters, and I hope I am blissfully unaware of what I did right until the day I face Him.

  • 0hspareme

    Who appointed you finger pointer in chief ? You made up something you follow that you call Christianity — then you evangelize to a fare thee well (you of the ‘you shalt not evangelize’ false teaching) about anyone who doesn’t follow your feel good gospel. There are the health and wealth preachers and there are the screw (literally) and screw you (figuratively) preachers— that’s you.

    #1 way to fail to be a Christian –follow John Shore’s teaching/example

    • Elizabeth

      It’s so cute. You appointed him by reading. Any deets on these screw preachers? I’m single.

    • http://Ingridspeak.wordpress.com Ingrid Moore

      Well, I guess you don’t see John the way many of us do. As a voice of reason in the midst of the chaos that is the fundamental Christian movement. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion, but your bluster misses its mark. John has never once said follow me. He has only said read the bible with an open heart and mind and follow Jesus.

      1 Corinthians 13:13 And now abides faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

      Love is the only thing I’ve ever heard John say.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/ John Shore

        Thanks, Ingrid. I really appreciate this.

      • Jill

        Right on, Ingrid!

    • Lymis

      I think it’s a gross mischaracterization to call John the Finger Pointer in Chief. He’s certainly never claimed any such thing, and I doubt most of us see him that way.

      He does have a particularly memorable finger and wields it expertly. I think he’s in front ranks of the pointy, but more of that light that isn’t under a bushel and that city on the hill – and even particularly salty at times.

      You know, like Christians are supposed to be. What in the world that’s on John’s list could you possibly think Jesus would object to? I can see things a lot of self-righteous narrow minded Christians would object to, but I don’t see them as the real guide to what Christians are supposed to be.

    • Squirrely Girl

      Ohspareme….please do… is what I want to say…but if I have learned anything from reading John’s blog is that we are to love everyone..even those who get on our nerves the most. So love you Ohspareme….

  • http://Ingridspeak.wordpress.com Ingrid Moore

    Too insular! That and too rich are my pet peeves 1 & 2!

    I am a fan of the COEXIST movement for the very reason that when we learn to live together and talk we can begin to understand we are more alike than different. It is so important to me that people realize God is so completely awesome that s/he presents him/her self differently across the globe, but with the same thread of love, charity, and kindness. I have never believed my Christian beliefs negate any other belief system. I am in awe of the variety of ways God teaches us to love each other.

    Being rich, or more importantly churches run like corporations is why I am at home every Sunday morning. Pastors in the current year Benz, wearing a month of my salary, and telling me I need to put another $50 in the building fund when the church hasn’t seen work in 10 years and neither has the Pastor. But your congregants are walking, catching a bus, or begging a ride to get there on Sunday. I do not begrudge anyone having nice things. I do begrudge you gaining them on the backs of the poor under the guise of being a man/woman of the cloth. I can’t speak to this phenomena in other churches, but in the black church it is rampant and pervasive.


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