Giving Up on Christianity (#742)

"I am no longer a Christian (and) a huge reason is the lack of support from Christians when it comes to racism." Arnita Taylor, coauthor of A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation gets that disturbing message from a friend and wanted to discuss it with Wayne and Bob. They talk about the number of people who are no longer comfortable with the term "Christian" because of how it has come to be defined not as people who look like Christ living in the world, but those who hold to a political agenda that others think spreads the wrong message in the world. They also specifically talk about why the predominately white church has a difficult time talking about racism.

Podcast Notes:

If you'd like to participate in an open After-Show conversation this Sunday, June 7 at 10:00 am PDT, email Wayne for a link. We'll let the first 30 in the room and stream for the rest on the God Journey Facebook Page
A Language of Healing for a Polarized Nation
Previous Podcasts with Arnita Taylor
Email Arnita
Previous Podcasts with Bob Prater
Email Bob
The Latest from Kenya - We Have Completed the Work

14 Comments

  1. I like how the Jesus character in the Shack Book puts it.

    “Mack, I love them. And you wrongly judge many of them. For those who are both in it and of it, we must find ways to love and serve them, don’t you think?” asked Jesus. “Remember, the people who know me are the ones who are free to live and love without any agenda.”
    “Is that what it means to be a Christian?” It sounded kind of stupid as Mack said it, but it was how he was trying to sum everything up in his mind.
    “Who said anything about being a Christian? I’m not a Christian.”
    The idea struck Mack as odd and unexpected, and he couldn’t keep himself from grinning. “No, I suppose you aren’t.”

    *** News flash… Jesus was Jewish… not Christian. ***

    So my question is… Why do we need to work so hard to protect a label… when Jesus didn’t even use it. My problem with labels is that it in most cases, it is the attempt to define a large group of people in one word… and is that even possible?

    Millions of people chose religious labels that make no sense either. Martin Luther had some great ideas, and because some “sheep” liked his ideas… they called themselves Lutherans. Five hundred years later, there are people still calling themselves Lutherans (including my mother), and I can attest that most of them do not share the same theologies, ideologies or beliefs. So why the need to have the same label?

    I am not as frustrated anymore as I am in wonder at the things we are fighting over and trying to defend. What does “Christian” mean as a label, when it means so many things to so many people? And if you choose to use the label, you have to define what it means to you… so how can that label mean something?

    I have a whole lot of questions… and a whole lot of things don’t make sense to me anymore… but I am not going to deny anyone’s choice to label themselves, I just don’t feel the need to label myself so generically anymore. Ask me what I think, what I believe and what I am doing in this world to make a difference… and I will willingly have a conversation with you. But a label… not necessary.

    Ruby Neumann from Calmar Alberta Canada.

  2. Thank you for this podcast! It’s been over a decade that I’ve been tuning and reading your books, and now more than ever this resonated with me. It’s a good feeling to not feel so alone on my Faith journey.

  3. I, too, no longer consider myself “christian”. I am no longer a member of the corporate industrial complex falsely called church.

    Being a follower of Christ was mentioned. I read a short article one time that stated there were 3 types of ‘followers of Christ’.

    The crowds, they came by the thousands, heard a sermon, watched a few miracles, and maybe had a fish sandwich.

    The seventy, they were trained by Jesus himself. They shared what Jesus had taught them, healed the sick and even cast out demons. Jesus gave a teaching that they didn’t like and they all left.

    The twelve. They were with Jesus for three years and learned many things that not even the crowds and the seventy were privileged to. One of them betrayed Him and the others ran away when Jesus was taken captive.

    The author then asked “what king of follower of Jesus are you”?

    It dawned on me one day that there was a fourth kind of follower. They provided for His physical needs. One of them gave Him the cloak that the soldiers cast lots for, one sat at his feet as a deciple, one washed his feet with their tears, another anointed him with a spikenard, they were the first at the empty tomb and the first to proclaim the good news “He is risen”.

    Which follower would you like to be?

  4. I feel the same i know consider myself Christian but I do consider myself a follower of Christ! Christian leaders have been the worst during this Pandemic and racism

    • Believe me, I understand.l I just never let the worst example of any group define the rest of the group. We struggle with so much with that in our polarized world. All protesters can’t be defined by the looters, all Muslims can’t be defined by the terrorists, and all Christians can’t be defined by the arrogant Pharisees among us.

      • Thank you for saying that, Wayne. I hadn’t really heard that in the conversation to this point. (Maybe it was there and I just missed it cuz I was working at the same time). The protesting is valid and needed. The looting and burning businesses and cities to the ground doesn’t seem necessary and hurts the conversation greatly. It seems there are other things going on behind the scenes to make all the mayhem look like it’s all about the tragic and horrific death of George Floyd but there are others with a dark agenda that are using the opportunity to further their agenda. Very sad.
        You have asked if Police have done anything similar to a white man as what was done to Mr. Floyd. As a matter of fact, an example was given on the Glenn Beck show just a few days ago (6/5/20) because they were wondering the same. In TX a white man Tony Timpa who was mentally unstable with a criminal history was afraid he was going to do something to hurt himself or others and called the police for help. They came and wound up killing him. It was calloused and cruel but it got no publicity. It couldn’t be pinned on race. But it was a police problem.
        Is the answer to defund or get rid of law enforcement or to destroy businesses and beat or shoot people who try to protect their businesses? Things aren’t always what the media makes them out to be. Maybe I’m misunderstanding the conversation you’re trying to have. It just seems lopsided.

        The info below comes from a Prager U email.

        “America is a great country for everyone of every race who works hard and plays by the rules.

        Eloquent, forceful voices like Candace Owens, Larry Elder, Brandon Tatum, Burgess Owens, and Jason Riley are speaking out against the ugliness they are seeing and hearing: the destructive lies about our beloved America.

        Here’s what they are saying:

        “No one — not a single solitary person defended or excused the death of George Floyd, so why is this rioting happening? Because that is what the media wanted….BLACK AMERICA, WAKE UP. ENLIGHTEN YOURSELVES. DO NOT BE OWNED BY A MAINSTREAM MEDIA AGENDA.”
        CANDACE OWENS

        “One of the big #FakeNews narratives is that ‘institutional,’ ‘structural’ and ‘systemic’ racism remain a major problem in America, when, in fact, race has never been a more insignificant barrier to success in America.”
        LARRY ELDER

        “There is nothing white liberals fear more than a God fearing, educated, black man.”
        No my friends…there is no systemic racism in America…just Systemic “Marxist Elitism”…an EVIL that uses, abuses and discards anyone for POWER.”
        BURGESS OWENS

        “Don’t let the Media fool you! The majority of Americans support the police. Do not support the destroying of their city.
        The biggest problem with growing up black in America… IS not racism, police brutality, or black on black crime… It’s the Mental Brainwashing.”
        BRANDON TATUM

        “Black activists and white progressives stress racism because it serves their own interests, not because it actually improves the station of blacks.”
        JASON RILEY

        Yes, a conversation is needed.
        Are we willing to listen to all sides and everyone? Even those we think are wrong?

        God has been using your books to transform my heart and the way I see Him and people and life.
        I am a recovering Pharisee. A white man, your age, who grew up as a missionary kid in West Africa. Evangelical upbringing. Now trying to learn to live loved.
        Thank you.

        • Thanks for sharing, Jim. I appreciate your perspective and know that there are voices on both sides of this issue that are extreme and not helpful to the conversation we need to have. I don’t quote a lot of these resources, because though they have some things to say that an be helpful, they are also misleading. I hate that they accuse anyone who disagrees with them as being owned but the mainstream media. That’s marginalizing behavior and doesn’t lend itself to the conversations we need to have. They are as far to the extreme right and the NY Times is to the extreme left. You can’t get to common ground with extremist voices, which is all the media wants us to hear. I am convinced that you can’t know very many black families and not hear stories of racism, racial profiling, and barriers put up to their success. I agree that America has never done better, but we aren’t at the end of the road yet.

          • Thank you for your response Wayne. I know there is a racism problem. I have granddaughters who are part Filipino and a potential grandson-in-law who is African American. They have experienced it. It is a conversation we need to have. I just don’t think what’s happening now on our streets is helping in the slightest. When you actually sit down and listen to these conservative African American voices some of the “extreme statements” can be put into context and it’s not quite what it seems. However, I love you brother, and am so grateful for your voice and your story. I listen to you all the time now. You are truly a God send to me. Blessings.

  5. As a black woman who spent 12 years in a majority white, evangelical church, I can tell you the experience has left me with less than desirable feelings to ever enter that type of church again, particularly if they are largely conservative. I have never been so appalled at people’s ignorance of the larger world around them. And I left that church in 2011. Things in the world have only gotten worse since then. I couldn’t even imagine being there now.

    • I also agree with Arnita’s sentiment about assimilating to make things easier. Been there, done that, and it was such a soul-sucking experience for me. When I left that particular church, I had much hurt and anger to deal with, including anger at myself for feeling like I had sold out. I will never do that again.

      • When God asks it of you there’s grace to do it. Arnita seems to have that grace though I know at times it wears on her, too. But when the grace isn’t there, I don’t think people ought to force themselves to be with people who suck out their souls and leave them hurt and angry. That’s part of the problem with our institutions, they are about conformity to the leader’s vision, not places for open dialog, authenticity, transformation and healing. Hope you are finding better environments, Pat. Blessings and love, Wayne.

  6. I listened…I’m here….I listened this morning too! Spent the day with you. I never finished reading the book LHFPN. But when I went to read it it was gone…so I have to buy another copy….it was supposed to be in my PDF file. Anyway…it made me want to watch the HELP movie…and this morning made me think of how my beautiful Asian-American granddaughter is being treated where she lives. My daughter was working in the same state and backed out of part of the job so she could get out of the state because of the racism…anyway…we have all been touched by these things in one way or another…I just don’t know what to do about it except love the people God brings in front of me…black, brown, Asian, Hispanic, or White , lesbian or homosexual….and I have quite the mixture where I live. I just want them all to know Jesus and so does HE! God bless you all.

  7. The podcast was just what I needed to hear. Sometimes it can seem hopeless that any change could occur with people who deny that racism is an issue. It’s refreshing to hear a positive conversation on the topic.

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