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LJ Idol Topic 5: Bearing False Witness

I used to be religious. If you know me in person, I understand why you’re laughing right now. But it’s true. I used to go to church every Sunday (and Wednesday for that matter), did all the mission trips, the praying, the bible study, blah blah blah. I always thought that the Ten Commandments were pretty decent guidelines to living a good life. While I’ve recently decided that Christianity and I should go our separate ways, I still respect anyone who chooses to practice it. As long as you practice what you preach. My best friend from church while growing up was a girl named J. My family didn’t go to church so I always kind of envied the fact that hers did. I would cling to them, trying to blend in and not be the girl who had to catch a ride on Sundays. The problem with all this was J’s parents were incredibly fake. They talked all the Christian talk, served as church deacons and tithed every Sunday. But they were also perfectly content with sitting back and judging people the other six days of the week. And by people I mean mostly me. They hated that my parents weren’t church goers. They never bothered to learn that my parents were in fact very decent people who believed in God but had to work on Sundays. They also hated that my family didn’t have any money. And they REALLY hated that their precious daughter associated with the likes of me. In my young and naïve mind, I figured as long as J didn’t turn into her parents, we could make it as friends. When high school came, her parents decided she would be attending private school. We began to grow apart a little but still saw each other at church. I began seeing changes in J…she was becoming just like her parents, much to my disappointment. At high school graduation she supported the idea her parents had of having two separate graduation parties, one for her high school friends and one for her “other friends.” When we went to college, things only got worse. She went to a private college and pretty much stopped talking to me. As I began to grow up more and start questioning things and deciding what I believed, I really couldn’t accept that this was how Christian people acted. I thought Christianity was about love and compassion and acceptance. I knew that all Christians weren’t like J's family but for as long as I could remember, they were what came to mind when I pictured the perfect Christian family.

J ended up marrying a college class mate from her superior private university. I wasn’t invited to the wedding. When my brother was killed earlier this year, I was shocked when J announced that she would be flying in for his funeral. We really hadn’t spoken in so long and I thought it was an incredibly kind gesture for her to drop everything and buy a plane ticket for her AND her infant daughter so she could come support me and my family. Knowing their family I should have figured there was more to it. J’s mom showed up unannounced to see her granddaughter. She and J never said a word to me the whole time.

In the weeks after the funeral, I started to really ponder the whole situation with J and her family. Sometimes when I think about how unconventional I may be to some people, it worries me. I’m a liberal agnostic with too many tattoos and no desire to have kids or a family. I think about how people might conceive me. But I really would rather be true to myself and know that I am a good and compassionate person, then to be a Christian who bears false witness by judging and condemning others. If it’s all true and God has the final judgment, I am pretty sure J and her family won’t pass that test.

***This has been my entry for Week 5 of therealljidol. Thanks for reading and if you liked my entry, voting will be open at the beginning of next week.

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Comments

( 25 comments — Leave a comment )
on_myway
Nov. 18th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
"The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today/
Is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips/
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle/
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable."
- DC Talk, "What if I Stumble?"

Matthew and I have seen a lot of the same problems with organized religion, and "church goers" that you express. However, we've come to realize that while man is fallible, God is infallible. Everyone falls and stumbles in their faith. That's why Christianity is so wonderful; let Jesus work through you to help make you a better person, and you can ask forgiveness on the times you slip.

No matter your path in life, no matter how many tattoos or piercings you have, no matter your hurts or sorrows...Jesus loves you, Cynthia, and is waiting for you to return to Him.
cindylou07
Nov. 18th, 2009 06:13 pm (UTC)
that's why I don't hold people's behavior against Christianity as a whole. But it's the people who act the way this family I'm talking about do that I just don't get. It's not a time period where they stray or they slip up, they have been like this for 15 years plus.

I am not worried that Jesus won't except me because of the way I look or what I do. I am happy with where I am in my spiritual path right now but if I was to ever want to return to Christianity I wouldn't hesitate because of my past. But to be honest with you, I don't see that happening anytime soon.
magenta9981
Nov. 19th, 2009 03:43 am (UTC)
Hey may be waiting along time. You sound like my dad Rachel.
katefinn
Nov. 18th, 2009 06:37 pm (UTC)
Interesting post and it's quite sad that you've been disappointed by someone you obviously cared so much about and held in high opinion.

While I do respect your point of view, I think you may have confused the concept of Christianity and Religion along the way. The fine lines between them are blurred and it's such a shame because you're right about the concept of Christianity (love and respect and whatnot), the usual problem with it are religion and churches/temples.

People forget the basics of the very thing they preach, simply because they get too attached to dogmas and concepts made by men, to control themselves, in the name of a Higher being.
cindylou07
Nov. 21st, 2009 06:48 pm (UTC)
that's very true. I appreciate the feed back. :)
minxyminou
Nov. 18th, 2009 07:11 pm (UTC)
I so agree with you. My family were and still are heavily involved with the church...and SO many christians are happy to "talk the talk" but so few actually "walk the walk"..
teaberryblue
Nov. 18th, 2009 09:21 pm (UTC)
I am wondering if maybe J wanted to be there for you and her mother came deliberately to stand in the way of that. Sometimes people who are "in" those kinds of families try to find their way out but can't.

I am sorry that you lost a friend to that kind of judgment and hate in the name of God.
onceuponatime13
Nov. 18th, 2009 09:50 pm (UTC)
I really love your LJ Idol entries! I feel like it's a great way to get to know you better. :)

So sorry for your experiences with this family.
nahele_101
Nov. 19th, 2009 02:25 am (UTC)
I'd say that MOST christians don't practice what they preach. If dying and "going to heaven" meant spending eternity with these asshats, I think I'd gouge my eyes out.

thenerdygirl
Nov. 19th, 2009 11:56 am (UTC)
I second what onceuponatime13 said, these LJ Idol posts are really great. I’m sorry J acted like a total asshat though and I must when I first read this post I got pretty angry at this J person. Here you are going through something horrible that no one should to go through and on top of that someone you once cared for is ignoring you?

*Grinds teeth* makes me angry just thinking about it again. I hate to say it but these types of situations do tend to show people’s true colours but at least while some ‘friends’ reveal themselves as assholes there are also those that reveal themselves to be good friends by being there for you.
shadowwolf13
Nov. 19th, 2009 06:54 pm (UTC)
And this is why I left two separate churches. I'm much better off on my own. I am often amused when people assume that I'm Christian because of how I treat others, nope, I'm one of those horrible pagan witches. ;)
cindylou07
Nov. 21st, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Same with me--it's not like I didn't give atleast three churches a chance. And I am much happier on my own as well. :)
sherriola
Nov. 20th, 2009 03:51 am (UTC)
Great entry, and I wholeheartedly agree!
jenandbronze
Nov. 21st, 2009 06:54 am (UTC)
I agree with everything you wrote as well, i am considered non-denominational as I don't fit anywhere, since I do believe in God but in how I believe in it, is completely different in a lot of other denominations... I am no longer a church-goer, but do believe in some philosophies, but let it be. My parents are far too busy now so we don't attend church any more. I never understand some of my "so called" friends who felt going to church over rode having a little fun. I really bothers me!

Great job on writing.
jenandbronze
Nov. 21st, 2009 06:55 am (UTC)
These were die-hard fundamentallist penecostal. I wouldn't fit in, as they wear dresses ohnly every day, etc... I *hate* wearing dresses LOL! I use dress pants for business purposes in my profession.
lapis_lazuli615
Nov. 21st, 2009 05:43 pm (UTC)
I really couldn’t except that this was how Christian people acted. I thought Christianity was about love and compassion and acceptance.
Should be "I really couldn't accept that this was..."
And
I think about how people might conceive me.
I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but at the very least it would read better as "conceive of me".

That said, I truly understand about your relationship with J, I've had some of my own, even to the extent that I consider myself one of those "horrible" pagans. :) Great entry.
cindylou07
Nov. 21st, 2009 06:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the feed back and for reading. :)
onda_bianca
Nov. 21st, 2009 10:46 pm (UTC)
"But I really would rather be true to myself and know that I am a good and compassionate person, then to be a Christian who bears false witness by judging and condemning others."

I agree with this. Too many religious people are the most non-compassionate people around. It's sad really...
dreamchaser
Nov. 22nd, 2009 07:05 pm (UTC)
I agree with everything you wrote :)
kutiechick
Nov. 23rd, 2009 02:49 am (UTC)
I totally get what you're saying here. Well said, though sad that it's happened to more than one of us out there.

But I really would rather be true to myself and know that I am a good and compassionate person, then to be a Christian who bears false witness by judging and condemning others.

THIS -- too many people consider themselves "above the rest of us" when they are inwardly (and outwardly) judging others -- I can't believe that they will be "better" or "righter" in the end.
_mysticalelf
Nov. 23rd, 2009 03:40 am (UTC)
I totally enjoyed reading your entry.
battle_kitten
Nov. 23rd, 2009 01:29 pm (UTC)
I think we have similar feelings on this(!)
http://battle-kitten.livejournal.com/164436.html
islandman
Nov. 24th, 2009 11:24 pm (UTC)
Well said...I've followed a similar path with religion...and learned that the values and morals you can hold is defined by a set of religious principles..it's simply about being human..
islandman
Nov. 24th, 2009 11:25 pm (UTC)
***isn't defined...not 'is defined'
majesticarky
Nov. 25th, 2009 09:19 am (UTC)
Wow what a snotty girl and her family. thanks for sharing your story.
( 25 comments — Leave a comment )