How do I start?
I’ve been playing with this blog in my head for weeks now and for some reason I didn’t get around to it, but I finally decided that today is the day. I believe that the Holy Spirit has been dealing with me on my Christianity and the fleshing out of same and I am heavily persuaded that He is the reason I am penning this.
I do not know who will read this blog or how applicable it will be to those who do decide to read, due to different cultures and so on, so let me explain a bit further to set the foundation. I am a Christian. I was born and raised in a Pentecostal/Full Gospel/ Revivalist home in the beautiful twin island Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. If you know,you know (lol) in my house it was church every Sunday, only gospel music, family devotions on a Saturday, rel Jesus thing. It was and still is not uncommon in circles that I am intimately involved with to hear that drinking alcohol (not drunkeness) is wrong, going to the cinema is not “advisable”, listening to any and all secular music is sinful, homosexuality should be criminalized, dreadlocks should not be worn, tattoos are prohibited and the like.
I have always been a very independent thinker, even in my “crazy- apologetics, read the Bible and pray 12 times a day, post about Jesus on all Social Media platforms” days I never quite bought into certain ideas. Now? I love Jesus more than I ever have and I have stopped certain sins and destructive behaviours that I indulged in for quite some time and I am fervently fighting against others. I do however indulge in some activities that historically and traditionally were frowned upon for the Christian. I have however made my peace with God on theses things after seeking Him and searching the scriptures.
I do not believe that every mishap in my life is an attack of the enemy, I do not go around speaking in tongues and putting Jesus in every sentence nor do I condemn others to hell. I respect other’s beliefs and life choices. I believe that the Bible is clear on some issues, and ambiguous on others. I am not afraid to say I don’t know or admit to said ambiguity. I do not believe that I have to go to church every day of the week or even every Sunday, even though I do believe that community is integral and a must for every Christian. I further believe that church or christian gatherings may be needed more frequently in some seasons of one’s life.
Now, before I go further, please do not take this the wrong way, I am not encouraging leading sinful lifestyles, I believe that Jesus is the way and I do believe that we are indeed in a spiritual war. I also do not believe that just because it is lawful, everyone should engage. Seek God in ALL things. I have just moved away from the over-spiritual and dare I say, spooky narrative of Jesus and Christianity. I have moved away from allowing others’ opinions on how my relationship with Christ should look, to govern how I live, what I post and what I do in general. I have moved away from allowing opinions turned scripture to bully me.I do not see God as someone just waiting to punish me every time I fail Him. I am trying to find balance while truly working out own salvation and letting my light shine.
But, I am disturbed. And it’s weird. I am quite happy that we are in an age where young adults are developing, enhancing and blossoming in their individual relationships with Christ. However, I see all too familiar issues; pride, stubbornness, condescension… just to name a few. We exhibit the same traits that we lamented about seeing in some of the older Christians who tirelessly attempted to manipulate us with their opinions. We have lost respect for the views of others. We do not listen. We lack humility. And magically the same grace and love of Christ that we complained of our elders not exhibiting are non existent in us. We somehow feel the need to mock, taunt and jeer at those who choose to hold on to those traditional values. We have ascended our thrones and now we have the monopoly on God. Every system and process that those backward, dunce and traditional Christians have put in place is garbage and we can now fix everything. We have all the ideas, all the knowledge, all the theology, all the answers and everyone who rejects our truth is useless.
This is a problem. This is not Christ-like at all.
Galatians 5:22–23 (KJV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
The fruit of the Spirit is not conditional, it just is. In my opinion it is an outward manifestation of the change effected by the Holy Spirit in your life. Your growth is not an excuse to piss on anyone who does not see things the way you do. Your progress and biblical fortitude are not excuses to do away with the Christian values, more specifically the fruit of the Spirit that should govern our lives.
I’ll be honest, it sometimes angers me how we have been manipulated into living blueprint Christian lives but this should not take away from my love for ALL. The Holy Spirit had to check me as I was just becoming bitter, cynical and critical toward the church for embracing those who have the “desirable” aesthetic and rejecting me and others like me, who dropped the aesthetic for a more honest and organic walk with God. I began rolling my eyes during services and sermons, scoffing at certain social media posts and just was becoming easily agitated and annoyed by certain people. But thank God that He continuously helps me to love and be like Him. He also reminded me that being a leader is different from being a church goer and that just as I am passionate about my persuasions so others will be. I had also been guilty of not seeing the heart and love of some of my elders in the faith. I ain’t perfect, oh gosh no, but it is my prayer that I exhibit His love and compassion. It is my prayer that every single person I encounter experiences the love of God. And while I believe that there comes a time to be firm, blunt and tough, I do believe that love must always be there.
1 Corinthians 16:14 (ASV)
14 Let all that ye do be done in love.
Need I remind you of how hard it is to embrace change when you have been conditioned a particular way? Need I remind you that Jesus is for everybody? And I mean everybody!Sometimes I feel as though we have to check our motives. I am heavily persuaded that many times in our progressive and “contemporary” Christianity we get behind certain causes in the most abrasive and confrontational ways not because of passion, compassion or exhibiting the heart of God but just to anger those traditional elders. Other times I think we forget just what Jesus is for everybody means.
Jesus is for everybody! Not just you and the adulterous woman who Jesus saved from stoning. Not just you and the transgender woman. Not just you and the prostitute, drug addict and gang member. Jesus and His love personified in us are also for Bible thumping Sister Shirley who believes that holding your boyfriend’s hand, wearing dreadlocks and your cool “YHWH” tattoo are wrong. Jesus is for everyone including always-speaking -in-tongues Pastor Harry who believes that your cleavage is causing the men to lust. (Whoosah Pastor Harrys really annoy me. Jesus!) Jesus is for everybody, even that legalistic, over-spiritual thorn in your flesh. Jesus understands us all. Jesus and His love personified in us are for everybody even those who think that He is just for them.
Please beloved, let us strive to remember even as we grow in knowledge and wisdom while rightly dividing the Word of Truth, to be humble and kind in our dealings with our fellow man.
I know I have been speaking for a while now, but there is one more thing I would like to address. Christians of old have often used scriptures like;
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light”
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”
as the justification for “biblifying” their opinions. And while many of us have moved from their persuasions it does not change the fact that the aforementioned verses and others which echo similar sentiments are in the Bible. So how then do we flesh this out? While drinking our beers or listening to Adele and Sizzla for example, how are letting our lights shine? Now that we have removed some silly, legalistic, aesthetic and LAZY ways to be seen as peculiar, we are challenged. We are now called to a higher standard of Christianity. If it’s no longer as easy as saying, “I don’t drink” or “I don’t listen to that.” If it’s no longer as easy as posting scriptures and sermons on social media, how do we showcase His glory? How do we show that we are untainted by the world?
What I have found is that we have for very long hid behind defaults to escape truly being followers of Christ and putting our lives under the microscope. So, you’re celibate, yayy you! And that is commendable and right according to scripture. But beyond that…how does the rest of your life look? When we really get down to it how are you different?
James 1:27 (ASV)
“Pure religion and undefiled before our God and Father is this, to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”
I’ve been thinking a lot on this lately. It seems that among other things of course, the Christian life is one of consideration, compassion, service and sanctification. This goes way beyond seeming righteous, it draws from you and it challenges you.
I don’t have it all figured out but I do know this, being peculiar and having the mind of Christ calls for shunning sin(actual sin lol), exemplifying the fruit of the spirit at all times,otherworldly forgiveness, speaking out against injustices, exposing unrepentant, habitual predators, standing for God despite opposition, knowing when to hush, turning the other cheek, choosing our words wisely, having active compassion for the less fortunate, the ailing, the addict and others. It calls for integrity; doing the right thing when the wrong thing is common practice and doing the right thing when no one is watching. It calls for keeping your word. It calls for humility. It calls for remembering to reverence God even though you no longer see Him as a hard taskmaster. It calls for knowing that no matter how much you think you know or how far you have progressed that you still need God and His Word everyday. It calls for submitting all of you to Him.