This guest post is by Sheri Faye Rosendahl.
The label “American Christian” is largely and globally associated with negative connotations. How many American Evangelical Christians supported the Muslim ban? Who are we bombing today? What was that reason we can’t love the most vulnerable? American Christianity far too often looks nothing like its Savior.
I grew up in your typical American Christian home. I was exposed to Evangelical Christianity my entire life, but somehow I never got into religion. I think I picked up on the hypocrisy at a very young age and, in all honesty, it took me a quarter of a century to figure out who Jesus truly is.
Regardless, deep down I always believed the basics after essentially yelling at Jesus to get into my heart when I was four or five because I was terrified of hell. However, I have never in my life wanted to call myself a Christian. These days I try to follow the ways of the red letters with everything in my soul, but the idea of putting myself under that label is still beyond uncomfortable.
The truth is, I don’t relate to the general American Christian population because I can’t relate Jesus to many of the actions and beliefs of the general American Christian population.
I mean, come on now, the American Christian elite have managed to bring to power a literal bigoted-misogynistic-racist sexual predator as the “leader” of this nation. Conservative Christians stand firmly against health care for the vulnerable, but they are all about tax breaks for big business and spending millions on their president’s lavish “needs.” They tend to be crusaders for the right to birth while blatantly disregarding a right to life as they write off children slaughtered around the globe as “collateral damage.” They strongly advocate for the deportation of immigrants who are simply trying to provide a life for their family and refuse refuge to the most vulnerable ― essentially giving them a death sentence, but yet drone strikes and increases in military funding are totally cool…
Here’s the deal, maybe I’m wrong, so if someone could explain how these self-proclaimed American Christian views align with Jesus, please enlighten me. But really, if you wondered why it took me 25 years to figure out Jesus while I was surrounded by Christianity, there is your explanation: American Christianity is not synonymous with the ways of Jesus. Straight up.
But there are many of us who choose to follow Jesus and refuse to stand by the egocentric ways of American Christianity. Jesus was about loving sacrificially, not “America First.”
I often hear that we need to redeem Christianity and, though I understand the motive behind this quest, my question is: why are we trying to redeem a label? Why don’t we instead try to redeem the ways of Jesus and ditch the label that has contradicted the red letters in his name? Jesus didn’t call us to be Christians; he called us to follow his ways.
So here’s where I’m at. This country and world are a mess and it’s time for those of us who want to see something different to unite. It’s time for a movement based on bold love. It’s time to go back to the red letters and start a revolution, something different than we have seen before. It’s time to truly and literally be the change our world desperately needs.
So who’s with me? Who is ready to truly see love win?
Photo by Sheri Faye Rosendahl.
About Sheri Faye Rosendahl
Sheri Faye Rosendahl is a writer, lover of bold love, the Middle East, Yoga and cookies. You can find more of her writing at NotYourWhiteJesus.org or find her on Facebook. Sheri and her husband, Rich, also run a non-profit called The Nations, doing peace and humanitarian work with refugee neighbors from the Middles East, both domestically and abroad.