Trying to Follow Jesus When You’re Ashamed to be a Christian

Being a Christian in America has a definition of its own

Michelle Wuesthoff
Aug 14, 2020 · 9 min read
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AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

A Tale of Two Churches

Five years ago, I found myself at the center of a church scandal, the unwitting yet ‘willing’ victim of years of pastoral grooming. Lured by the promise of a father-daughter relationship, I allowed my pastor to court me into something that was dangerously close to an all-out affair. Nothing physical, but at a heart level, it was intimate. I was such a broken mess at that point in my life, I didn’t even recognize it was wrong, much less notice the countless red flags that arose along the way. Neither did my husband, actually — he was as thrilled as I was that I finally had a father figure in my life. But in the end, the pastor was confronted privately about his behavior, and my family and I were told to leave the church. I lost nearly every friend I had.

Enter, Donald Trump

Around the same time as our exodus from church #2, Donald Trump was elected President of the United States. I was deeply disturbed that so many Christians supported him despite his despicable character and behavior, but whatever concern I had during his campaign turned into all-out alarm once he took office.

Redefining Christianity

The church in America has been a dysfunctional family long before Trump took office, and Donald Trump aside, is not without its egregious sins that need repenting and change. In many ways, the evangelical church has positioned itself perfectly to become Trumpians: misogynistic, self-righteous, accustomed to turning a blind eye to its own shortcomings, and entitled. Our freedom of religious expression, along with our other precious American freedoms, has shielded Christians in the US from the persecution many other Christians around the world face. We’ve had it pretty easy.

  • Pro-life, in the sense that Roe v. Wade must be overturned, abortion outlawed
  • anti-homosexuality
  • pro-guns
  • a watchdog over our freedoms and way of life
  • patriotic, ascribing to the idea of “Manifest Destiny”
  • a defender of “Christian” values
  • anti-liberal, anti-socialist
  • pro-police
  • have deep distrust of government

Who Do You Say I Am?

I am not here to justify my bitterness and cynicism. Neither are endearing character traits in a person. In many ways, I am just as messed up as the next person…but I’m also someone who has habitually pursued healing and growth throughout my life, and that gives you a certain perspective on things. I’ve made a practice of looking honestly at my own crap, and then taking action to deal with it. And it’s been gutting me, thinking I might actually be falling away from Jesus because I’ve been ashamed to call myself a Christian.

Following Jesus Today

My husband and I recently finished watching the YouTube video series, The Chosen, for the second time. Though the story centers around Jesus, the series really focuses on the disciples (and others) Jesus chose to follow him as he began his ministry. It does a good job of portraying each of them as imperfect, “regular” people trying to live and survive during trying, oppressive times. It’s not a stretch to imagine yourself as one of the characters in that story.

Interfaith Now

Stories about faith, spirituality, and religion.

Michelle Wuesthoff

Written by

Beach-loving, coffee-seeking author who passionately pursues emotional & spiritual freedom. Adoptive mom, Jesus follower. Find me on michellewuesthoff.com

Interfaith Now

Stories about faith, spirituality, and religion to bridge gaps, expand perspectives, and unify humanity.

Michelle Wuesthoff

Written by

Beach-loving, coffee-seeking author who passionately pursues emotional & spiritual freedom. Adoptive mom, Jesus follower. Find me on michellewuesthoff.com

Interfaith Now

Stories about faith, spirituality, and religion to bridge gaps, expand perspectives, and unify humanity.

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