Monday Notes: Being Christ-like

When I was 16 years old, I asked my Grannie if she’d heard what the preacher said. Whatever it was had confused me because it was illogical. It made zero sense.

“Oh, Kathy,” she said matter-of-factly. “You’re not supposed to actually listen to what he says. You’re supposed to make your grocery list or think about the week, or something like that.”

And so, I learned that going to church is ritualistic. It’s a centuries old past down tradition for some, where going through the motions is sufficient. This is not a blanket statement, but I’ve noticed that this is how many operate.

Being Christ-like is least of some people’s concern.

That’s my earliest thought of how baffling religion seemed. My next memory is when my father became Deacon Gregory at Starlight Baptist Church, off 113th Street in Chicago. I was in my mid-20s. He was proud. His wife was proud. His stepdaughters were proud.

When my family and I visited, parishioners beamed with more pride.

“Your dad is such a great man! He’s such a good deacon! You must be proud!”

img_3080I smiled and shielded my thoughts. I haven’t seen this man in two years, and if I wasn’t here now, then no telling how many more years would pass. I let them hold on to their beloved deacon. He seemed to be doing more good for the church than with me.

Were his actions Christ-like? Perhaps with them, but not with me.

My wonderment with religion continued into my 30s where I found my own sense of purpose and meaning for life. It shifted into spirituality once I recognized the universality of all religions. There are certain principles inherent in each one.

But I couldn’t let go of how people just seemed to go through church motions.

For example, when I suggested to a friend that she stop judging another person, she responded as if I was crazy. She replied as if not judging was some nutso idea that I’d developed from the crevices of my brain.

“Do you mean stop judging in your head or do you mean stop judging out loud, like don’t say the words?” she asked.

I wondered if she’d ever asked her preacher to clarify what he meant when he said don’t judge.

Instead I replied, “I mean at all. What right do you have to judge someone else’s choices or decisions?”

She went on to describe her understanding of my suggestion. She’d stopped giving her opinion about her sister’s life because she realized it was her sister’s life and there was nothing she could do about it.

Exactly.

compassion+godly+woman+dailySimilarly, this thought crept back into my head when people began to judge Kanye West so harshly after his alleged breakdown. I wrote about this already, so I won’t re-hash. However, that post wasn’t about a so-called crazy rapper. It was about how once again self-proclaimed Christians are sometimes the first to be least compassionate. They are the first to call someone an asshole. They are the first to condemn someone to dark places.

They are the first to become defensive when I bring it to their attention.

Like the time when I asked this FB question: What’s the point of going to church if you treat someone like crap?

My question, as always was intended to promote thought and conversation. But I could tell that some people seemed offended. Wounded.

Answers ranged from “To grow stronger in Christ” to “We all fall short.”

It confused me. I thought if you were growing stronger in Christ then you might be doing things that are Christ-like. Christ cared for the poor. Christ hung out with prostitutes. Christ washed people’s feet and spread love.

Well, according to the Bible anyway.

Over 25 years later, I realize some people must have gotten the same advice my Grannie gave me. Maybe they’re all making their grocery lists.

 

 

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80 thoughts on “Monday Notes: Being Christ-like

  1. Oh man, this post made me miss my pragmatic grandma. She wouldn’t have been at church, because her grocery store job didn’t allow for such frivolities, but I can hear her nodding in agreement when your Grannie said, “You’re not supposed to actually listen to what he says. You’re supposed to make your grocery list or think about the week, or something like that.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Many Christians view themselves as superior to those who have chosen not to follow Christ. This is is an error, and greatly undermines their example, as you have so capably demonstrated. Christians and non-Christians alike, we are all sinners, in desperate need of a Savior. Just look at the record of mankind. Crime, slavery, wars in every generation.

    Self-righteousness is a sin (Luke 18: 9-14). Hypocrisy is a sin (1 John 4: 20). We have Christ’s word on it in Scripture. Unfortunately, Christians fall into sin just the way the rest of humanity does. There are, also, those claiming to be Christian who do not truly know Christ. Certain televangelists come to mind. Christ warned that He will reject the latter group at the Final Judgment (Matt. 7: 22-23).

    That Christians fail in their efforts to be Christ-like does not undercut the validity of Christ’s message. Violence among Hindus, Muslims, and Buddhists has been chronic in India. Does that invalidate the principles of those religions? That moral laws are imperfectly kept shows only that mankind is imperfect.

    You seem to have concluded that all religions are equivalent. But Christ said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14: 6). He rose from the dead to prove it. ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks for stopping by, reading and commenting Anna. I appreciate it. I hope that you do not think I intended to imply that because “Christians fail in their efforts to be Christ-like does not undercut the validity of Christ’s message.” My thoughts were really that Christianity, it seems is more than simply attending church services and reading scripture, but rather being an active representative for what one’s belief system.

      Ultimately, you’re right. I have concluded that all religions are equivalent. I also hope this isn’t offensive to you; however, each one seems to have similarities and specific paths to salvation.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Interesting observations. I’ve been having some of the same thoughts on this topic myself. It sometimes seems like I’ve learned more about God and spirituality since I STOPPED going to church. You raised some very good questions, that’s for sure.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Pretty much! Whenever I took the time to stop and pray and seek THE truth, the absolute, not my mom’s interpretation or a pastor’s or any other person or entity, but my own based on my own research and experiences, it was like my eyes were opened; rather they’re still in the process of opening. Sometimes I just listen to folks give their explanations about life and what God does and doesn’t want/need/plan. I feel that there some universal truths in almost everything.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Did Doc just show out? YAAASSS! LOL!

    THIS: “Do you mean stop judging in your head or do you mean stop judging out loud, like don’t say the words?” she asked.”

    LOL!!!

    And then the whole “You should be proud of your Dad…” Uh…yeah…the Deacon that I never really see or hear from.

    Okay, I started to hold my tongue there but you forced it! LOL!

    I had a very religiulous (yes, I made that word up) co-worker tell me that she would not be going to her best friend’s gay wedding ceremony. I said, “Wow..that’s your best friend…” She went on to say…”I can’t condone that…it’s a sin….blahblahblahblah…”

    I said, but didn’t you all go to Tina and Fred’s cookout to celebrate 20 years of togetherness? Notice I didn’t say marriage-because they were, as Mama-nem would say, SHACKING! LOL!

    I said, “Isn’t that a sin too–I mean, shouldn’t you treat all the sins equally? If’ you’re going to condemn one, you must condemn them all.”

    She looked at me and said, “You taught me something today..I need to check myself.”

    Sorry, but Christ was not going around trying to find everybody’s sins to point them out–yet that’s exactly what we see a lot of folks do.

    Giiiirllll…I got to go and step off this soapbox!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lmao @ you Lady G! You know I had to get all the way real just for a minute.

      That’s the other part about religion I’ve never understood. Like your friend, people seem to pick and choose which parts they want to follow and which parts they want to condemn others about. Glad your friend learned to think a little differently that day 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I dated a staunch catholic once who would get into arguments with me and my mother about what it meant to be a catholic. He always acted as if we were ‘less than’ in some way. My mother said point blank – “You’re such a hypocrite! You take every chance you can to get into my daughters pants!” One of the funniest moments of my life. And he couldn’t deny it. Oh my mom was a great spiritual lady 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So you mean to tell me that he would “preach” about how to be Catholic, but then try to jump your bones later lol That’s the kind of hypocrisy I’m talking about. That’s what I’m constantly shaking my head about.

      Liked by 3 people

  6. This is another marvelous post, Katherin.
    I am always amazed that friends are going to be married in Church, while they in daily life never ever visit Church, don’t pray, hence, don’t do anything with religion of any kind. However, as weird as I might find it (and yes, even hypocritical ) I will attend their wedding in Church, to support their love for each other. Because yes, who am I to judge.
    XxX

    Liked by 2 people

  7. “‘Oh, Kathy,’ she said matter-of-factly. ‘You’re not supposed to actually listen to what he says. You’re supposed to make your grocery list or think about the week, or something like that.'”

    I loved how your grandmother was so honest about her answer. I’m sorry that you were confused by religion as a kid, I was too, however, I was a little older than 16 when I stopped wanting to be apart of religion. I think the standards for religion are too high for us to meet and an excuse to pretend that we are not animals like every other creature on this planet. I am under the belief that if we just accept our likeness to apes then we can forgive ourselves for being so primal and move on with life. Anyway, it was a great read and I can’t wait to read more from you. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. lol yes, that’s how we roll on that side of the family…truth and honesty, truth and honesty.

      I tend to agree. You know how many industries would be ruined if we just admitted we’re more like a chimpanzee than not? Society would crumble, I suppose. Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow, Doc.! No shame in calling a spade a spade….and the truth shall set them free. I do not believe in the religiosity of Church. I do find comfort in the protocol and the why of Church. Spirituality is lost on more than a few. Love your honesty. Love your writing. Friend-fan-sistah, always. 💛

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was just thinking about you girl! Thanks for the comment, compliment, and the kindred spirit. I totally agree about the religiosity of it all…add some action to that scripture, and then my ears perk up 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. The Creator created the Creation and we created religionS. We go out of our way to promote and sell “our” creation. Thanks to our promotion and selling, God has become a Christian ( and only a Christian ), Ishwar a Hindu ( only ) and Allah a Muslim ( only ).

    Liked by 2 people

  10. How confusing for you as a young woman to understand and accept the relationship between you and your father and as a much loved deacon with the church at the time. Personally, I think hypocrisy and Christianity can sometimes go hand in hand, I find, but I like to think that this is on a smaller scale than it appears to be. It looms large because you don’t expect it in Christian people when you see examples of it played out. I’d like to think that there is more love than hypocrisy, but like the ‘news’, it always seem to focus on the ‘bad news’ rather than the ‘good news’. Just my thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heeeey Marie! It wasn’t as confusing as it was just modeled hypocrisy. I suppose it might be on a smaller scale, but one can never know, unless one knows all of the scales, know what I mean? I too am hopeful that there is more love and less hypocrisy, but I’m just not quite convinced as of yet.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Lmao KATHYYYYY why are you making me laugh so hard!! 😂😂😂

    Grandma is hilarious and I can imagine your inquisitive and confused face staring off at the pulpit in confusion. 😂

    I feel like a lot of people have been redefining their idea of faith vs. spirituality over the past 5 years. Maybe it’s because that’s when those in my circle have hit our 30s. I’ve done that same but am too terrified to tell my parents because of their strong roots in Catholicism and Christianity. Damn near afraid to confirm it for myself with having the fear of hell engrained in me.

    The convo with your friend had me rolling too. God, I love people lol

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Girl, first of all you be cracking me up…like fr my family looks at me like what are you laughing at, then I have to explain. Okay, yes. That convo stuck with me all the way till now! I think about it all the time like huh? So we come hear to not really listen, but just sit pretty and make a grocery list of all things??? Lol girl pls. Let me tell you a secret, I’ll be 44 next month. I used to be like you too, afraid to tell people my belief system, especially once we moved to Florida because…well…the Bible Belt. I promise you in another 5-10 years you are not going to care one bit lol

      Side note: I feel like I’m the older version of you specifically 😂😂😂

      Liked by 3 people

      1. the “Bible Belt” – lmao. I think my dad kept one of those in his closet along with the “Below C belt” ha! I can’t wait until I get older. I can feel my care’s (in place of the word I really want to use) just dwindling away lol. If you are the older version of me, I cannot WAIT to keep living. You are the bomb!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. lol – Girl, I can’t even describe it. Every one of my friends who are 40 or over can actually attest to it. It’s like all the “cares” in the world just eek out your soul lol

        Awww…that’s too sweet! Thanks Josie ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Your post made me think about the people that I know here in South Carolina. With being Christ-like, I’m guessing they believe by attending church services on Sunday and Bible study, and nothing else other days in the week, they’re good. Some are hypocrites, of course, and got the understanding of what the Bible means all wrong. And you DON’T go to church, then you will not enter the kingdom of Heaven. You hit the nail on the head. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks Pam. Even though I criticize just about all things in society, it took me a minute to carefully write this one. What you describe is so common! People used to get so angry with me because I don’t go to church. It would aggravate me because I’m sitting here like, “but I’m a good person…doesn’t that count” lol But nope.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Really enjoyed this post. I haven’t been to church in a few years. When you see people who constantly profess their love of Christ and desire to be Christ-like in one breath talk about how police should be shooting down peaceful protesters in another breath, there doesn’t seem to be much point in trying to be part of that community.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Well, I know exactly what you mean and I have toiled with the whole Christian thing for years. In truth, all religions have one thing in common… compassion. So I’ll work on my compassion and become a better person.

    There was a philosopher that asked the question, how many different religions are there in the world? His response, count the number of people in the world and there’s your answer. We all have a different take on belief.

    Another bit of wisdom is… God spoke once but we all hear it at different times and in different ways…

    Thanks for the wonderful post… jc

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I had a feeling you’d get me JC. That’s pretty much what I’ve decided. I can work on the tenets that seem to be common with all religions. I like the philosopher’s message at the end. That’s a great way to sum it all up 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I often say God is awesome but His P. R team sucks. As an unashamed member of the team I have been on both sides of the fence. I have been both legalistic and liberal. On fire for the LORD and backslidden. Hurt by the church and one who has unintentionally hurt others. Pain is pain. So if I accidentally step on your toe and I’m wearing Timberlands, an apology does not soothe ‘dem bunions. I often engage in this discourse throughout my blog. At this stage of my journey I have found a beautiful balance. I am not, nor have I ever been ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. However that is not everyone’s story and being mature in one’s walk is recognizing AND respecting that. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. So though I may not make every moment a Kum Bah Yah moment….my faith is going to come out eventually. Even as a married woman of faith, I have never mentioned Jesus Christ or anything like that on my IG love poetry page but am constantly contacted by strangers for prayer and advice on how to heal a broken heart. I am honest with them. God is a healer. He is my healer but I preface it by giving a disclaimer. I let them know: this is my personal journey. You’re invited…but I am forcing no one to go. As a Suicide Prevention Advocate/Volunteer (in both secular and faith based settings) I then refer them to the Natl Suicide hotline and remind them that my acct. is not monitored 24/7. All are welcome. WE don’t have to agree, and they feel God because they feel love/d and heard. I feel strongly about this matter. Hence the longest comment ever…e

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve noticed that about you Ericka, especially your IG. I can tell that you have faith and choose to live a specific lifestyle, but it’s never forced. I agree that however you live will attract similar beings, and you’re a great example of that. Thanks for dropping by and sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 2 people

  16. Wow, K E, I really appreciate this post. It helps me to ask myself, How can I be the Christ in action? How can I choose love and peace and compassion WHEREVER and with WHOEVER I go?

    You are a blessing. I appreciate you Kathy. Love you — Debbie

    ps – tomorrow is my birthday!!!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thanks Debbie! HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! I hope you’re having a wonderful day doing everything you love, even though I think you do that every day 🙂
      “Christ in Action” is a perfect way to describe what I’m saying. CHOOSE love, peace, and compassion with everyone, not just the chosen few, which is something I sense that you do 😉 Light and love my friend!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Thank you Kathy!! I am having a wonderful birthday. Going out tonight with some friends. ❤ My heart is truly touched by your love, peace, and compassion – I'm about to reach out about an online forgiveness intro I'm doing, and you reminded me that all I need to do is simply be "Christ in Action". Be blessed, Kathy. Love, Debbie

        Liked by 2 people

  17. I guess as a Christian myself…that has grown up in the church I can understand both sides of the coin.

    If I based my beliefs ONLY on some of the people around me… & ONLY on some of the stories I’ve heard over the years…I would NOT be a Christian today

    So, I made up my mind to get to learn about Jesus Christ for MYSELF.

    The more time spent reading/studying HIS WORD(Bible) & wanting to know MORE about HIM the MORE like him you will BE!
    NOT a ritual…or just showing up to church & doing what you see others do…it’s about a PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP & the relationship HE (God) wants to have WITH US. (Otherwise, yes you SHOULD just stay home!)

    At the end of the day…Christians are PEOPLE. We’re NOT PERFECT. That’s why we ALL need Christ to begin with.
    Some are stronger, some are weaker in their faith like any other group of people you may encounter…which unfortunately can affect the DELIVERY of the message we are to share.

    Like joining a Gym. Some are just starting out…or only go once a week, so they’re not that productive, some work out 3-5 days a week consistently, & have great strength…per they have been working out for years…& others just show up to meet people & mingle. How strong is the 1st group & the last group going to be?

    As a Whole, WE SHOULD strive to be “Christ Like”…in the hopes to lead others, TO CHRIST..which in a nutshell is what the ENTIRE BIBLE is really about…Leading the world TO CHRIST. It’s NOT about our own personal agenda,
    or, at least it shouldn’t be.

    Matt 16:15 says….”Go into ALL the World & preach(tell) the gospel to EVERY creature”…

    Be Blessed! 🙂
    (PS Sorry for the long comment!)

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thanks for the comment JL. No apologies necessary for the length lol I definitely agree that if people are going through the motions, as I’ve described here, then perhaps staying home would be just as useful. I like your gym analogy and can see how people are in varying stages of their faith and how they actively express it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. I like the “WWJD?” kick a few years ago. Before responding in a trying situation, think to yourself, “What Would Jesus Do?” Then do it. We have no right to make others’ decisions for them or to judge them for what they decide. The best we can be is a good example. Churches need to practice what they preach; many don’t. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

  19. I agree — Christians can be the harshest judges. A friend of mine lost a beloved uncle several years ago, and after he died, the family learned he was gay. My friend wasn’t so bothered by that, but two things concerned her: one, that he had loved someone and had given him up because of family & community judgment, and two, that others would judge him after his death because he was a devout Christian and a conservative Republican and (heaven forbid) gay. She honored the family request to keep it private (well, she told me, but she needed to talk to someone about it), but that bothered her, too. The family was afraid of being judged by people who were known to have cheated on their spouses, falsified their taxes, and in hundreds of other ways, fallen short themselves?

    Then my favorite example of how people think: my priest was working hard for reform in our local jail, which is desperately needed. In an effort to gain public support, he posted something on Facebook about conditions in the jail, and the backlash was horrible. People said vile things, threatened our church members, yet said it in the name of faith. We got a review from one person who wrote: “These people should stop trying to change the world and follow the gospels instead.” Excuse me? Have you read your Bible lately? Do you remember how Jesus treated criminals? He loved them. He forgave them.

    Yes, different denominations have their own perception of Christian priorities, which political party is a match for your faith, and dozens of other issues of secondary importance. But if you truly set your heart on following Christ, you will change. You will recognize your own shortcomings, you will be humbled. You will find yourself saying, “I don’t know enough to judge someone else.”

    I could go on and on, but bottom line, I agree, there’s more to being a Christian than showing up for church.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I’ve found that people who judge the harshest (not just Christians) are the ones who are doing so-called “dirt” behind everyone’s back. It kinda keeps the mirror off of them, and in turn, really they’re just judging themselves. Sounds like what happened with the situation you described. I literally laughed out loud when I read people said, “These people should stop trying to change the world and follow the gospel” lol What…in…the…world??? Contradictory much? lol I totally agree with that last part.

      Liked by 4 people

  20. I didn’t think I could love Grannie even more 😊💕

    I get it- my mum’s side of the family are intensely Christian – no room for wavering with free will cause every moment is about the bible. I’ve seen a lot of hypocrisy and also fear of personal responsibility and choice among her fellow worshipers. It used to bug me but now I live and let live unless they come at me with judgemental bs 😈

    Great post that will generate interesting comments no doubt!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Ha! She’s wise for sure, but after that I knew it made little sense for me to sit in church and not listen. That’s just a waste of time. I’ve never thought about that part. Having a Bible does seem to contradict free will in a way. Hypocrisy, fear, and personal responsibility…yep. Thanks Mek!

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I think part of the issue with Christians/Christian churches is this idea that people need to be saved–which really boils down to if you haven’t publicly proclaimed to be one of us, then something is wrong with you/you’re not like us. Of course it then becomes fine to judge people if that’s the core of your beliefs and value system. And of course it goes against what Jesus taught and what his core message was. (See: every exchange he had with undesirables and every parable.)

    Your Grannie’s comment is so real. A+ work, Grannie.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’m soooo glad you get it! I don’t get nervous about many things I write, but this was one of them. That’s exactly what I’m saying. We do so many things out of tradition and “just because” and soon it loses or holds little meaning.

      Liked by 2 people

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