I have been on a parenting board for the past 8 years. Many of the moms I know from there have become dear friends to me. We've seen one another through pregnancies, losses, illnesses, and more child-induced drama than we can remember. But on occasion, religion or politics come up and tempers flare. Feelings get hurt. I think these times are more heated online because we can hide behind our computer screens -- maybe because you don't see the person you're hurting, it makes it a little easier? I don't know.
Some people are more confrontational than others. In recent days, I've been involved in a debate that started about "liberal Christianity" and turned into who can actually call themselves a "Christian". Let's face it....a lot of people call themselves that but aren't actually followers of Jesus Christ. Some are cultural Christians. Some think they are a good person, therefore they should be called "Christian." Some are generational Christians. To me, there is only one definition of a Christian, and that is someone that is a follower of Jesus and His teachings. Which means you live according to what He taught. Which means that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Plain and simple. To me, anyway.
Not so, to a large group of women who label themselves "liberal Christians" and aver beliefs such as multiple paths to heaven, heaven exists here on earth, Jesus loves everyone and will save everyone -- no need to believe in Him or accept Him. Gay marriage is acceptable practice, homosexuality is groovy, yada, yada, yada....
Well, sorry to burst your Unitarian bubble, but that is a bunch of hooey. Of course this argument goes nowhere because these same women don't believe the Bible is anything more than a book of nonsensical stories which make no sense and is not the living, active thing that we know it to be. So you can't show them Bible verses that prove that Jesus is who He says He is. They don't believe it. Satan has a great audience in these women. It's amazingly sad to listen to them. They have no foundation, no faith, no hope.
A few of the women on the board (amazingly few) are born again believers and so we state our case and then sit back and pray. In the meantime, of course, we get absolutely bombarded with statements such as,
"The Bible might be many things, but clear it not one of them. Unless you mean clearly contradictory on multiple occasions, clearly written by human beings, many with political,economic, and social agendas, or clearly exploited and twisted to further such agendas (and more) to this day."
"I feel sorry that you don't feel you or anyone is worthy of heaven. I mean that sincerely. It saddens me that people are taught to believe that. I truly believe God loves every soul in existence. Love is in fact the very essence of God's being. No we don't have to do good works to gain access to heaven. We will all go to heaven. Humanity has shared destiny. We just have a choice in how to get there. That is the beauty of our free will. God's love is unconditional and I truly know our reason for our earthly existance is to learn to love unconditionally as he does. That is our "sin" which we come here to work so hard to overcome. I think it takes many lives such a big task that this is. But when we do manage to do it that is when we achieve our place closer to God. But hey that is just me. I do realize Manu Christians will think I am going to hell and my Mormon family is upset I won't be in the celestial kingdom. Or that my catholic best friend isn't sure what to make of me. No clue what the Natice Americans, Hindus, Jews, Buddhists (whew insert long list of world religions and faiths here) think either."
"Someone may believe I live my life in sin and am going to hell. I don't believe in sin, nor hell, so what some may see as a serious accusation means nothing to me. It has been said that people choose to Homeschool in order to protect their children from my beliefs and how they translate into every day life.I take no offense to this. Think it is bizarre that such an allegedly strong and righteous path could be threatened by the likes of me, sure. But beyond a bit of bewilderment and amusement I couldn't give to squats about it. Don't mistake a vigorous debate as anything other than exactly that. It is an intellectual time passer for me. I have nothing invested in the outcome whatsoever. I'm certain that I am not the only one here who feels this way, but for whatever reason I happen to be one who speaks up and lets my less than popular views be known. I enjoy a good debate. Why worry what my perception of any of your actions might be if you are sure of their goodness? Unless you give credence to my view, I don't understand why anyone would. If you don't think what I believe is correct, then let it roll off you in the same manner I do about yours. If it digs and hurts, then perhaps it is touching a nerve of truth. People don't get angry or upset about things that don't matter."
It's difficult, especially because when the unsaved world tends to think of a "Christian" they often think of people like Jim and Tammy Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, or pro-lifers out bombing abortion clinics and shooting doctors. They don't think of you and me. They don't think of the middle income mom driving the carpool, taking kids to swim meets and soccer, using whatever leftover money she has to buy food and water for the homeless, or giving her child's crib to someone who needed it more.
My husband tried to take up my case on facebook, but called me mid day saying he felt certain his head would explode. I assured him that mine would go first, but then reminded him that we are planting seeds. These women (and men) will not be able to stand before Jesus and say "I didn't know. I hadn't heard." Maybe those seeds will take root and grow into saving faith. Maybe not. But my job is to plant. God will send someone to water. All I can do is tell the truth. None of us like to be "the outsider". No one wants to be unpopular. I told Paul it was our very small sliver of martyr pie.
Still, it is hard to sit back and be called names and not be a little offended. But I am reminded that we are not to be men-pleasers, but God pleasers. "On the contrary, we speak as men approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please men but God, who tests our hearts." (1 Th 2:4)