Oh Matt, where did this come from?
“Before I launch into some epic speech, why do these particular issues raise such strong objections from you? In other words, why does it matter to you that hypocrites are Christians? Er… reverse that one. I mean, as a non-believer, I guess I’m not entirely sure why you want Christians to be faithful to their own beliefs? Why not just let them, as you would probably say, fuck themselves over, and live a lie?”
“Because I’m surrounded by them every single day of the year. And I have been for the entirety of my life. And it’s bothered me since I was pretty young. But I never had anyone to really contrast them with until you came along. I didn’t know what it looked like to actually live a Christian life in a way that is congruent with Christian beliefs. It seemed like an impossibility to me. But here you came along, and I was like, ‘Huh, people can actually do this. Why am I surrounded by the biggest fucking herd of conformist hypocrites ever?’ And it annoys me. And I feel like this has to be kind of prevalent everywhere nowadays.”
“Why is that?”
“Well, in the New Testament, the ‘bad guys’ are pretty much the Pharisees and other religious leaders. And I’m pretty sure in our reading- well, in the Christian reading of the Gospels, you’re supposed to identify with the Pharisees. And Jesus is always calling them hypocrites, and white washed tombs, and dirty cups, and all of these other fun metaphors. And I think he’s accusing us of that, too. We think we have it all figured out, with our little Sunday school classes, and our memorized Bible verses, and our inspirational sayings, and our church socials, and all of this other shit we subscribe to. But Jesus is calling us to be radical, and break out of that religion and close mindedness and the tendency we always have to be a bit legalistic, and follow him, even when what we’re supposed to be isn’t so spelled out.”
“Keep going,” he pressed me. I didn’t need persuading.
“I think that this is why Jesus got killed. The ideas he proposed were so uncomfortable with the tradition soaked Pharisees; they couldn’t stand to be asked to step out of the formulated comfort zone they had been steeped in for their past hundreds of years. They weren’t ready to take that step. His teachings were too big of a challenge; they got scared out of their minds, and decided to just knock off this man who was presenting these crazy ass ideas. But what Jesus was teaching is what Christians are supposed to mold their lives around. Not the endless lists of laws in Leviticus, not what you should and shouldn’t do. ‘Love your neighbor, give to the poor, care for the orphans, don’t judge or condemn.’ These are our laws. ‘Forgive as I forgave you.’ This is what should dictate our lives, none of that other shit. The Pharisees were trying to play God, I’m pretty much convinced. They thought they were all awesome because they followed the law, but they missed that it was God behind the law, the God of love, who wanted them to live for him, not for the law.”
In other news, I just Google (actually GoodSearched) my title, and got this article. After being very annoyed by the first half, I think the author had some important things to say. And I love the poignant last line.