An amusing experience I had recently.
It’s no secret I am an Atheist/Agnostic/Hindu/Buddhist/Humanist whatever. Just not a “Christian” because I’ve been there done that, found better, and maybe I can spare someone the pain and waste of time and mind that involves.
For Easter I decided to check out what seemed like a liberal thinking new style Christian group and attend their Easter event. It was going to be in the outdoor space of a cool bar restaurant, with music, bar-b-q food, minimal sermon, and some good vibes maybe?
We buy our tickets and go. When we get there we get our wristbands and find a table near the front so that we can see the stage well, rather than sit off to the sides or back so as to just observe and not be bothered. But hey, this is a communal event, their biggest after Christmas, and I figured the point was to get to know them and they get to know us, so let’s be present and visible.
The long and short of it is we were ignored. No one greeted us, asked if we were first time visitors, or shared anything with us, even though we were right smack dab in the middle of everyone. Lots of people wore dark glasses and when we did make the occasional eye contact it was quickly averted to someone else they knew. We were obviously unknown to the leaders and regulars, yet treated with disregard.
They are loosely “Christian.” They use the Bible. They speak of Jesus. They were celebrating Easter which is a Christian thing.
They were also pretty self absorbed.
I’ll describe it as a white hipster neo-christian social club. They want to believe that they’re some radically different type of Christian. Better than the old and traditional types. But they were into their little cliques and family groups, looking to relate only to those they were familiar with. Occasionally looking our way, then off. Kind of like the “cool kids” that are exclusive, and pick and choose who they want.
We stayed a while, even sang along to some songs, ate our food, had our coffee, and left, just as apparently invisibly and anonymously as we arrived.
Knowing a thing or two about Christianity, the Bible, and its core customs and teachings; I had the expectation of being greeted and welcomed. Of being shown some love and concern even though we were strangers and outsiders, especially because we were strangers and outsiders. Of being shared their beliefs with. Maybe a semblance of hospitality. If not from the laity cause they’re unlearned and uninstructed, certainly from the various leadership and staff.
Well, we got zilch, zero, nada! Some ministry, huh?
I came home and wrote them about it. Told them how we were ignored and made to feel like we didn’t belong or shouldn’t have come. Where was Christ in this group? Actually, he was with me checking them out…Now it gets good!
You see the Christian and Biblical thing to do would be to apologize, ask forgiveness, extend an invitation to come again and demonstrate that they care, as Jesus would have them too.
A few days later I saw their reply. Basically; too bad, fuck you, we’re the bomb.
They make excuses for themselves of being busy managing the event, having to entertain their own friends and family, and flip the script by saying I “judged” them after only a few hours of being among them.
And some people wonder why I don’t want to be associated with being a Christian. It’s cause I’ve known junkies, thieves, prostitutes, bums, godless all of them, that were a hundred times more loving, caring, and generous than 99% of “Christians” I come across day to day. They were friendly, Christ like, religious, spiritual, and interested in making friends. Unlike previously said “Christian” church.
Since dissociating myself from Christianity I have met some of the most wonderfully Christian people in the world, most of them also not “Christian.” I know Atheists, Unitarians, Buddhists, Free Thinkers, who truly understand and look to live 24/7, the principal of “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” People for whom the experience and presence of the divine is all in all, and not something to claim when you’re in church, around the pastor, or around others you think want to hear that kind of shpiel.
So, amusing as this Easter experience was, I realize I’m not missing anything worthwhile on their holidays.
I have a little more to say on religion based on another experience I had recently, and maybe it’s not as critical…