I’m going to be posting bits from my upcoming book, “A**hole Christian Survival Guide,” over the next month or so. The idea behind the book is that maybe we need to follow Jesus because all of us, at one time or another, can be real a-holes. The real problem arises if we think that being “saved” or accepting Jesus somehow offers us lifetime a**hole insurance. But the irony is that this misconception makes us even BIGGER a**holes.
Find out more about the project by clicking here, and preorder your copy to help it get published.
Many Christians are trained to have questions – and answers – at the ready for any situation. The problem is that sometimes this means we speak when we shouldn’t, or we say something we didn’t actually mean.
It’s easy for any of us to lapse into offering cliches in an otherwise meaningful situation, maybe out of awkwardness, an effort to help or even the desire to escape the moment all together. But Christians who use these in times when others are particularly vulnerable have an even greater responsibility to, as Horton the Elephant says, mean what they say and say what they mean.
Here’s the first in a series of cliches I’ll be posting for a while from the book.
If you just have enough faith, _________ will happen for you.Talk about setting God up! It takes testicular fortitude of an MMA fighter to speak with authority about what God will or will not do in others’ lives. Sure, if we have a story of personal experience to share, it might make sense to ask for permission to share it. But we should be aware that someone in the midst of struggle might not be particularly interested in hearing someone else talk about themselves, even if it’s done with the intention of offering empathy.
Making such promises is above our spiritual pay grade. As my dad used to say, don’t write checks your butt can’t cash.
Also, it implies that the quality of life we enjoy (or are subjected to) has a direct correlation with our faithfulness. I lost my job last month, so it must have been because I skipped church that one time. I found a $100 bill on the ground; must be because of that super-extra awesome prayer I did over the spam casserole last night at dinner! I know some people believes this is how the universe works, but it also seems to paint a picture of a very classist, superficial, transactional God.
Kind of like what’s suggested by “everything happens for a reason,” we must deserve what comes to us. Kind of like when Pat Robertson said the levees breaking and devastating New Orleans was because of America’s policy on abortion. Or like the myth that an angel dies whenever you masturbate.
God, I sure hope that one’s a myth.