I'm sitting here in shock. I just came from my Christian History class, and I couldn't believe the last half of class. Professor Cadorette spent the last half of class talking about the Lutheran reformation and what happened during that period of time. What shocked me was what happened between the various denominations of Christianity in Europe.
It's no wonder that the world has a bad taste in its mouth in regards to Christians. Medieval Chrsitianity (what some regard as Catholicism's simultaneous highest and lowest point in history) was brutal. You either conformed to their way of thinking or were burned at the stake as a heretic. Huss, Zwiegel, etc. were all tried and burned. Then Luther comes along, manages (through the hand of God or possibly pure luck) not to be caught (Fredrick the Wise was a nice guy, I guess; he didn't seem to have bought into the Catholic church's notion of heresy, despite that he was Catholic). So he publishes the 95 theses and lots of people agree with him.
And suddenly we have this revolution (I laugh at the term "revival") on our hands again. The worst part is that everyone thinks that they're right. Lutherans (or, in German, the Evangelical Church) think they're right, Catholics think they're right, Calvinists isolate themselves and think they're right, and they all fight amongst themselves. Catholics killing Calvinists killing Lutherans killing Catholics. But they ALL hate the Anabaptists, a group of pacifists, and from what I can tell, the only ones at that time who really seemed to get it. Yeah, they probably weren't completely right (I can't seem to figure out of they did any evangelism at all, but I can understand given the environment they lived in - sometimes your life is the best evangelism you need).
So that was my morning. And I understand now why it is that the world has a thing against Christians. It's not that the message of Jesus is bad. It's not - it's the best message a guy can home to get. It's that Christians, not Jesus, have killed the gospel. It's like our theological bickering and our little tracts and our focus on the "me" in Jesus (which there isn't, really) - did I mention our bickering? - and our failure to serve and instead our propegation of orthodoxy ... it all forces this vinegar into the sweet sugar that is Jesus. Instead of loving people like Jesus did, we tell them that they're supposed to do this THING ... we don't introduce them to this guy we know, we introduce them to a system.
So it begs the question - how much do we (supposed-Jesus followers) love our neighbors? How much do we care about people and not our comfortable way of doing things? How much are we willing to give up our selfish ways, our comfort, our system, our pride at being "right", and our ideas of ministry, and instead focus on the real reason Jesus came - humanity. Jesus came to set us ALL free, not to start a new religion or to set us to arguing over who gets to go to heaven and all that, but to tell us He loves us and to live with us and to teach us by showing us who He is.
So that's my rant for the day. I felt really awful after class and I had to get it out of my system. I have one thing left to say:
I'm sorry that for so long, we've - I've - corrupted Jesus for the rest of the world, I'm sorry that I didn't get it through my thick skull, I'm sorry to all of you that I've hurt because of my stubbornness and pride. If I can make it up to you, let me know, and I'll do my best. But please know that Jesus loves you, even if I haven't. And know that He wants to meet you and talk with you face to face. This is my wish for you, because it's more wonderful than you can possibly imagine.