Jesus wasn’t a Christian

I realize I haven’t had too much of substance to say lately. Life has been really busy and even though things are slowing down for the season at the yarn store (although that doesn’t mean things aren’t happening, a big shipment of Blue Sky Alpacas just arrived!!!) I’m still really busy. I’m trying to remind myself to enjoy my time with the kids as our whole dynamic will be changing when Eden starts Kindergarden in August.

Aside from being busy, I guess I just haven’t had much to say. I seem to continue to come full circle with my thoughts on church and my place in the “Christian” world. To that end, I’ve started cautiously reading the book, “Blue Like Jazz.” I think I like it, but I’m not yet sure. It seems to be journal entries from the life of a guy who has been really jaded by Christianity, but can’t let go of his connection to God. Sound familiar? One thing that he talked about was the progression of his relationship with God. That, at first, he saw God as a slot machine – you pull the lever and hope to get out of God what you want. Again, sound familiar?

The thing that makes me so unsure about this book is that I’m not sure that it’s going to give me the Answers I’m looking for, the Answers that I so desperately need. As if finding Answers can be so simple. How do you utterly reject Christianity and still love God? How can you co-exsist? How can you make a difference with your life and not do it in the name of something that you’re ashamed to associate with? I just want to find my place.

I know that I’m not the only one out there feeling like this. And while it’s of minimal comfort to know that, it’s still so hard. I don’t have many friends that I haven’t had this conversation with. Often times I get emails from readers wondering if I’ve figured anything out in my quest to come to terms with The Way Things Are Supposed To Be. So many of my generation (and Jim’s) are looking for something real. They go to church and listen to canned messages that their local church bought from some massive box church in Texas, or better yet, just the same one over and over. We’re looking for someone to speak from the heart with passion, to show us that they’ve found something real and true in God and they give us programmed responses. Never in my life have I felt so lost, so without a place where I belong.

I keep finding myself trying to reject God and I just can’t. It’s not Him I have a problem with. In fact the more I think open mindedly about Jesus, the more convinced I become that he was freakin cool. Jim pointed out the other day that after Jesus got kicked out of church, he never went back. It’s just what bothers me are the people who act on His behalf or worse, do nothing at all in His name. Maybe that’s what makes it even harder for me, I’m stuck here in limbo, unable to wash my hands of God but unable to stomach those who bear his name.

It’s been a little over a year since my last post on the subject, and I find myself in the same place. It makes me sad that in an entire year, I have found not one shred of resolution. But one thing I know, I AM going to keep searching and I am NOT going to give up and I AM going to keep talking about it. Because of anything in my life, this is the most important thing I need to come to terms with.

Category: church/spiritual beliefs, daily 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Jesus wasn’t a Christian”

  1. Sonja

    I’m so with you… I feel like I’ve found a place that is liberal enough for my sensitivities but doesn’t water down the gospel – it’s a vineyard church. Might be worth looking into!

  2. Michelle, a Canadian reader

    I left behind a very legalist church and found a local community church that bases it’s teachings on God’s grace. I can’t handle cookie cutter sermons that are smooth…i need down to earth Jesus teachings that apply to my life now with out the prosperity teachings or guilt trips. It feels good! I hope that someday you do find what you are looking for!
    By the way, some books you might be interested in: Messy Spirituality (by Michael Yaconelli) and one i’m currently reading: Soul Cravings (by Erwin Raphael McManus).
    Anyways, love your blog and am a regular reader. (I think your kids are adorable! and I love how u make knitting projects look trendy!)

  3. kate

    I actually quit a job at a “Christian” school because they weren’t living what they claimed. We have been in London for 15 months and are still on the hunt for a church to attend – I am now pretty much persevering purely for the social contact that I need in this foreign country.
    I’m sending this to my dad – he’s a minister who is actively trying to explore stuff like this – the difference between what Jesus is and what “Church” has become (and who’s church I obviously grew up in, thus my high expectations, I guess)

  4. Heidi

    WOW!! I cant say that our church is like this at all. I know that people fail and that we need to look to Christ for our answers, but I do know that we are lucky because we have a pastor who is COMPLETLY on fire for the Lord. It’s a shame that the word “christian” has come to mean – intolerant – to some people. I truely believe it is up to us ‘Christians’ to teach those around us what a true one is….. Does that make sense.I also think that the world trys to dilute what we believe as being ‘odd’ and because we believe so much of the world or its population needs salvation. I think that we get caught up in being ‘fair’ to everyone and to live peacefully. It is up to us to win souls for Christ, and I agree with you Alison, christians have failed us – but never Christ. I always have trouble with thinking that we can expect more out of christians because they are christians than we can a ‘regular’ person. But I remind myself that christians or failing, floundering people as well, they just believe in Christ does not change that they sin/overindulge and judge like everyone else does. I also beleive that Satan LOVES to put doubt and disention in our lives, especially in church, so that we have doubts about what we believe. I have been praying for you on this, I was in the same spot when I was your age. Now that I am so old I fart dust, I have come to terms with others and my own shortcomings. GOod luck dear, sorry to be long winded. ;)

  5. sammie

    I ran across this and thought you might enjoy it as well. I’ve been a Christian for most of my life and sometimes feel the same way you do. Keep pressing on!!

  6. kari

    we’d shared a couple of emails/pms about this a while ago, and I haven’t found a roosting church-place yet either. what I have done is read – I read a lot, lots of books about all kinds of crazy people who are so in love with this neat revolutionary guy named Jesus and who don’t really follow the traditional path to him. there are some amazing books out there with varying levels of what some people call heresy, and it’s so great to read and read and read them.

    of course, without a community I know that I’m not really finding the best path. but I’m working on that too.

  7. Kari

    A different Kari here =) By community…does it necessarily mean a “church” in the sense of the word? Or can community be in a living room, a yard, a park with some guitars and people sharing what God is doing is their lives…or what he’s not doing while waiting for them to go through what he’s put there for them…I’m craving the intimacy of friendship where you can share your trials and tribs and not be judged or smile and pretend all is well when you just want to scream. You know?

  8. shenan putnam

    i enjoyed the reading…and yes there is a whole generation that God seems to being bringing out of the church, an exodus if you will. The question seems to be Why? I can only answer that question with the answer God shared with me. At the basis of all believers is our foundation, the things that our belief is based on. For me in the begining I had a lot of stuff in my foundation/cornerstone. In adition to Christ I had the church, pastors, and legalism . I found comfort in these things and what I thought they represented. But, my ever faithful and jealous God taught me a hard and beautiful lesson, he showed me the folly of the church, the foolishness and wickedness of some pastors, and the shallowness of legalsim, and then He showed me that He is to be the foundation. He is the cornerstone, He alone. When we put anything before Christ he is faithful to remove it. Faithful to make our paths straight. Our God has never changed, He is constant. A perfect and worthy foundation. Our “Christianity” is to be based on Christ, His word, and the empowering of the Holy Spirit. Everything else is just details and too often, most often, is put into a catagory of importatnce where it has no place. If we are truley God’s than our lives are His. Not the church’s, not some pastors, not some ministry’s. God is jealous, and I am so glad!

  9. Jasmine

    I know the feeling that you describe and you word it so well! I read Blue Like Jazz and I liked it. If you’re looking for more reading along the same lines but possibly with more answers you should read A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren. It’s the first of a triology. I think I’ve recommended it to you before. It had a HUGE impact on my views on Christianity and/vs. God.

  10. Jeannette

    Yeah, I know the feeling. Where I am at, right now, is simply this: get the religion out of the way so you can believe. That is, to me, the crux of it. Either you follow God or you follow religion – can’t do both, at least not very comfortably. Jesus was not into the relgion of His day, either. He got very frustrated with the religious leaders. Some things don’t change. It is basically about following man’s traditions or seeking a relationship with Jesus – with His (our) Father. The more I know God, the less I like religion. Religion or relationship is the choice – I’ll take telationship.
    Peace on your quest. Those who seek WILL find :-)

  11. Cher

    Oh yeah, that Blue like Jazz is good stuff – doubt it will give many answers, however. But it will give you permission to keep asking questions and the comfort of knowing other deep thinkers and ponderers are in the world. Carry on, dear one, I am not of your generation, nor have I found all the answers yet. Life and thoughts just keep getting harder.
    Just because truth is GOOD, doesn’t mean it is easy! :)

  12. carrington schaeffer


    after five years of not attending church, i too am scratching my head thinking “there’s got to be something more! i’m sitting around here waiting for God to fall right out of the sky, and he’s not showing up.” like you said yesterday, i’ve defintely noticed that i totally talk to God only when i need something. then i wade through guilt which in turn causes me to try to “get on fire for God” (whatever THAT means) or “to get closer to God.” these little phrases are completely christianese…they don’t offer any kind of practical way to “plug into God” (see, i can’t get around the christian slang).

    this is where i completely agree with comment #7 by kari (which is a distinctly beautiful name by the way) that perhaps “drawing near to God” (arg,) is simply loving other people and finding…no…building a community of followers of Christ around us…a group of people who have ABSOLUTELY NO AGENDA other than just loving people. i can’t tell you how many people i’ve befriended (usually the “unlovelies” — you know, the kids who do bad things like smoke and drink and swear — oh wait, that’s me!) that i’ve only become their friend to try and convert them or help them–and by help them, i mean try and squeeze them into the quintessetial christian cookie-cutter, stamp out any kind of individuality or free-thinking little box and after a lifetime of doing that, i realized that things aren’t going to change unless i really understand that God didn’t love people because he felt guilty or he felt obligated or because he wanted to win the $5 gift certificate to Aladin’s Castle for bringing the most people to youth group. he did it because he genuinely LOVED them. what? love? how can i possibly love people? i’m not very good at loving myself let alone other people.

    but perhaps this is the practical way to “usher in the kingdom of God” (i just can’t get away from these little catch phrases). perhaps it’s more buddhist than we think. the western mindset thrives on thinking that we’ll get ahead by working, striving, forcing. if you want to get anywhere, donald trump tell us from underneath his questionable coiffure of toupe, you have to work work work and of course, stomp all over everyone else in the process. the eastern mindset centers the mind around letting go for in the letting go resides resolution.

    so maybe we’ve just been making this “christian thang” a little harder than it needs to be. what if i just shut up sometimes and let love flow (sounds like a mix between fellowship church dogma and a 1960s flower child mantra)…but really…after all, isn’t that the second commandment right smack after the love God one?

    this revelation completely debunks the christian commandment (just one of the hundreds we’ve etched on to the original ten commandments to fill in what God forgot to add) that we MUST go to church. personally, i hate church–not the people who go–but the judgemental, take-everything-out-of-context, fear/guilt-based mentality it breeds. if all we need…no, GET to do is love people, then WHAT’S WRONG WITH having our own version of church out on the back porch with a beer in one hand and clove in the other while chatting up this Jewish bootlegger who made a beer run for drunk people at a wedding and who had radical new ideas on how to live life to the fullest?

    answer: nothing at all.


  13. pretendingsanity » book review: Blue Like Jazz (or learning a few things about myself)

    […] So I finished reading Blue Like Jazz last week. I realized when I wrote it that I was naive to expect Answers from a mere book, but I think maybe I was so desperate that I found some anyway. And I’m not sure that the answers I got were in the writing as much as in the realizations I saw in myself. […]

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