I'd kind of like to expand my post below into more, possibly a book or something. I'd like to interweave Christ's suffering and cry of abandonment, Psalm 22, and some of my own experiences of feeling abandoned by God.
Crazy night. Open mic night at Cafe Natura. Mostly guys with guitars, but they did have a human beatbox guy and this weird chick that had a kind of Tenacious D feel. But not as funny.
So I'm taking a class on the Book of Job. It's at a secular college, though, so it's all about the literary qualities and possible authorship and dates and things like that. Interesting stuff if, like me, you're interested in the Bible and in history and literature. Anyway, the professor very coyly keeps his own opinions and beliefs under wraps, but since this is my second class with him I've figured out he has kind of a general Hebraic idea of God. I'm not sure if he's actually observant in Judaism, but he's definitely not a Christian of any sort. Which doesn't bother me, he's smart as crap and reads/speaks fluent Hebrew. Cool teacher.
But my point is the number of Christians in the class that are openly hostile to him because of his approach to Scripture. Because (surprise!) in a secular university, in a class in the Judaic Studies program, he doesn't treat it like God pooped it out on a silver platter on Mt. Sinai. As a follower of Jesus, I believe all Scripture is God-breathed, & useful for teaching, etc. But I recognize that that doesn't have a place in the classroom. In the classroom I can talk about the metaphors in the Bible and the poetry and the history of the Jewish people. I can be (and am) open about my beliefs, but that doesn't mean I get to preach.
I was talking to somebody in the class about a week ago, and we were talking about what we thought of the professor. I said he's really interesting and I've learned a lot from him. This guy (a Christian) said, "He just hates Jesus Christ, man." Why? Because he doesn't have an altar call in the middle of class? Did you ever consider that he may have been mistreated by some jerkass Christian somewhere? Oh, right, that never happens. I forgot.
Why am I so annoyed by so many Christians. Don't get me wrong, I know many wonderful and loving followers of Christ, but I know just as many phonies and judgmental hypocrites. Or am I being a judgmental hypocrite right now? I'm just extremely bothered by the assumptions Christians make, by our post-Constinian hangover of thinking we deserve to be the favored religion of the empire. We don't want to compete in the marketplace of ideas. Guess what, Christendom: if we really think we have the answers people are looking for, we shouldn't be afraid to present our story alongside the stories of other religions/philosophies. Or do we just not think God is in what we say about Him, whether we "win" a debate or not? I, for one, don't mind losing an argument, or looking human and real in a dialogue, whether I convince anybody of anything, as long as I can show that not all Christians are dicks, that the Bible can be relevant to our lives, that God gives a crap what happens to us.
Why do I prefer the company of some people whose philosophies I totally disagree with, while I can't stand many church people? And how often am I the kind of church person that I'm sick of?