christopher's christianity - Christianity 101

01-27-2021: If someone describes themselves as a ‘Christian’ what does that automatically mean to you, what is it about the words christian’ or christianity that you have either experienced on your own, or was ‘taught’ to you from people that you respect, or was ‘taught’ to you by stereotypes of what ‘some people say’ christians are like? There is something, there is something that you think about when you hear that either someone is a christian, or someone says that they are a christian, so what is it? That thing or things that you just thought of is what your perception of christianity is, it’s your perception based on either your own actual life experiences, or it’s your perception based on what was communicated to you from parents or teachers or religious teachers/leaders, or it’s your perception based on what our friends or social media or people on news channels or people on ‘Talk or Opinion’ t.v. shows, which are usually generalized stereotypes that have been communicated to you. It’s probably more of a mix of everything above, that’s what your perception of christianity is, because those are a few sources of education that you have received over the course of your lifetime that has formed your own personal opinion of what christianity or christians themselves are ‘all about’, you know, your own personal perception of a very complicated, or possibly very simple religious philosophy… some of your opinion you know for sure and some of it is assumed by you and the influencers that you have been exposed to. You either know what christians or christianity is about, or you assume you know what we are about, what we believe, what we stand for… so what is it… well it doesn’t really matter to me but I’ll explain my perspective of the religious philosophy that I choose to ‘follow’.

I’ll tell you my perspective not in an attempt to manipulate you away from your own religious philosophy, or to brainwash you into believing something that you don’t want to believe, or because I feel obligated to do so… but to explain something that might be completely new/foreign to you, or maybe it’s based on personal experience, but most people have their own opinion, me too.

I enjoy writing, I had forgotten that many, many years ago, and now that I’ve re-discovered this forgotten enjoyment I have understood the importance of it. I had forgotten that if I take the time to write about something, that writing it, not just talking about it, helps to more clearly state/articulate/communicate a more complete perspective because writing gives you the ability to choose your words more carefully, structure my sentences in ways that make more sense… where if I was simply trying to ‘say’ what I mean and not write it I am more prone to forget to say part of what I was trying to communicate, or to say something incorrectly because I get distracted or emotional, or because I don’t fully understand something that I’m thinking about so in the confusion and assumptions of my misunderstanding I may choose the wrong words… sometimes I do that while writing too, but not as bad when I’m talking to someone, so if it’s really important I like to write about it... And religion is something that most people think is important, and for a ‘religious’ person their religion might be the foundation/filter/reasoning as to why they do what they do, think the way they think, behave/act the way that they do, me too, that’s what the importance of religion is to me, it effects the way that I understand people and life experiences, and I believe my religion to the point where it shapes my life. Parents teach their children the things that they have learned think that it’s important in helping the child prepare for life on their own, and that’s a big reason that I write a lot now, because I have come to the understanding that I know my children are important to me so it’s important to keep helping them learn about the world, about life, about interacting with other people… my children are more important to me than me chasing my own personal achievements and personal goals, educating my children is more important to me than getting caught up in life’s busy repetition. Taking the time to help my children understand more about life’s challenges even when they are ‘old’ teenagers is important enough for me to continue writing… for them, for myself, and maybe you too… people are worth the time that it takes to help teach and understand the over-complicated and confusing life that we find ourselves living in… in fact, its part of the message that my religious philosophy teaches… that other people are a lot more important than many people ever consider. But again, I enjoy writing--expressing thoughts—so that’s part of ‘why I do what I do’, and that’s partly why I’m writing now, because I’m the only person that can communicate what I want my kids and others to understand about basic Christianity in the way that only I can articulate, in a way that I can only communicate because I’m the only person on the face of this earth that has the same exact belief, knowledge, intelligence, life experiences, understanding and misunderstanding, assumptions, vocabulary, and facts that I have acquired over the course of 51 years of my life while being exposed to the culture and community in the small geographical area of the earth where I have lived for most of my life, I’m the only one that can communicate that because those are the sorts of things that make up one person’s opinion/perception … I’m the only one that can communicate the religious philosophy that I follow because I’m the only one with my exact opinion… correct or misguided I only have my own opinion and words to communicate my belief, I may be misguided and incorrect in my religious belief, or I might be correct, but if I believe that I am a christian I also have to know that I will be accountable for my actions when I ‘meet my maker’, when I physically die and are supposed to be meeting god…

… if I believe that I am a christian, and based on what I have learned, I assume that there are ‘rewards’ for good behavior and actions/punishments for inadequate/inappropriate behavior… so as a christian I assume that everything that I write, or say, or thought, or have done is subject to judgement… and not by a jury of my peers, but judgement by the entity that we simply call ‘God’. If I really believe that I am a christian I know that misleading words that do not accurately reflect the truth of the ‘supreme being’, or ‘higher power’, if my words are written with any devious attempt to mislead or misguide I know that I could potentially, probably be punished for my misdeed, and I must also understand that the more people who read this the greater risk to myself if I misguide anyone… I assume that and I expect that so maybe you can understand that I am not writing as a hypocrite, I am not writing as someone that does not actually believe what I say, I am actually someone that believes that all actions have consequences and that the consequences of my actions of intentionally or unintentionally misrepresenting the religious philosophy that I choose to ‘follow’ will be severe, because it should be severe, so here goes…

The man that we english speaking people call Jesus was born in a community called Nazareth (also another english defined name) roughly 2000 years ago, he was a descendant of Abraham, and was Jewish by birth and by religious understanding. When he was old enough to be his own man/adult he did not shop for fancy or expensive or trendy clothes to look special or attractive, he wasn’t into ‘bling’, he presented himself less fancy than most of his peers. Even though he was not a religious leader he understood the ancient texts/teachings/faith of jewish ‘religion’ even more so than the actual religious leaders did, he ‘schooled’ them from time to time. But he still treated everyone as an equal, he purposely helped people that were in need that other ‘regular’ people did not want to help, because he didn’t think that they were less important than him, he viewed everyone equally important. The people that he did have a problem with were what we call hypocrites, and not just any hypocrites, but more specifically he did not appreciate ‘religious hypocrites’. He would quote the religious teachings/texts and then explain how the hypocrites had been missing the ‘bigger point’ and why they were wrong, and it seemed to be the hypocrites that were religious leaders that bothered him the most, he was generally cool with almost everyone else, even his poor equals that the religious hypocrites didn’t want to help because they thought they weren’t ‘important’ enough to help.

I cannot speak intelligently about the details and teachings of the jewish history/faith but there were a couple of really important details that Jesus spoke about that I think were the most important to remember.

First, he claimed to be the jewish ‘Messiah’, the leader that god had promised them who would restore a peaceful relationship to their god and help them out of their misery, as jewish people were subjected to slavery off and on for many, many years.  Most of the religious leaders of that time did not think that jesus was their messiah—poor simple jesus who didn’t dress important or appear attractive and wasn’t ‘cozying up’ to them, he was clearly not the picture/idea of the messiah that they had expected…Jesus was humble not a strong powerful person, he wasn’t about trying to look good or fancy or special or charismatic… he just presented himself as a simple man that treated everyone as his equals and his actions displayed the love that he genuinely had for people, even to strangers and foreigners that weren’t jewish like him.

The second important thing that jesus had mentioned about the ancient jewish teachings were what most people have come to know as the ten commandments. Part of those commandments included things that most people teach their own children, seemingly normal things like don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie, but the two most important ideas that Jesus said were to treat everyone the same way that you know you should be treated… you know, as equals. And the most important commandment was to ‘worship’ their god with all of their hearts, minds and soul. Worship is a weird word for most people, worship is a word that can mean very different things to many different people, worship sounds like it involves mastery or slavery or submitting complete control of yourself over to the thing that you might be worshiping… worship, I hate that word because it is open to interpretation, meaning that your understanding of it can be different to the point of confusion when compared to someone else’s understanding of the weird word ‘worship’. Personally speaking, I have seen interpretations of ‘worship’ vary in artistic forms such as dancing, music, singing, theatrical performances, to other things such as symbolic rituals, withholding of essential nutrients or water, self-inflicted bodily harm… I’ve personally witnessed approximately a zillion perceptions/interpretations of the meaning of the word worship… some of them I’ve both enjoyed and participated in, but not the flogging and self-mutualization… those aren’t my idea of worship.

It is of my personal opinion, and maybe just my opinion, of the man that I choose to follow, was that he actually was the messiah that had been promised to israel, it’s of my opinion that he was an ‘unassuming’ messiah, he wasn’t what everyone expected the messiah to be like, and it’s of my opinion that the very idea that he wasn’t what people expected him to be like, what they assumed he would be like, shows that they really had no clue what to expect, that maybe their perspective of what the messiah was supposed to do for them was now open for further understanding/interpretation, maybe they needed to eliminate every expectation and assumption of what they thought about the messiah should be reconsidered, and their expectations should be challenged.

It’s my opinion that the messiah that jesus said he was, and the loving person that he showed people he was, well it is less complicated than most people have interpreted since his historically documented birth until his death… zillions of people have over complicated every step he took, every word that he spoke, every fart he had farted, every headache that he experienced… people have over complicated every meal that he ate, we have over complicated the reason for every drop of sweat beneath his armpits, every morsel of food stuck in his beard, every stain on his shirt, every smell that he smelled like whether it be foul or pleasant, people for over 2000 years have over complicated his message, his meaning, his actions, his emotions… you know, basically what he was actually communicating to us… christians believe that jesus was god reducing his perfect self to become human like us, we believe that jesus was god, that he was god that reduced himself to become a human representation of himself so he could re-emphasize his original message to humans/Israelites, that although god had given us some instructions many years back that he thought was important enough for us know, well most of us were getting it all wrong, and partly because religious leaders were actually hypocrites and not worthy of representing god to his people… yes, his original  instructions were important but we still missed the big picture, well I believe that jesus was god’s instruction manual to humanity/people, It’s of my personal opinion that jesus was an uncomplicated ‘user manual’ for humans.

It’s of my own personal opinion that the person that jesus displayed and acted and lived, combined with jesus words that the two most important commandments were to ‘love everyone like yourself’ and to ‘worship god with all that you have’… it’s my opinion that god was simply reiterating to humans/people that the god of Israel, Isaac and Jacob, the god of christians is a loving god, he cares about people and doesn’t see any of us as more important that anyone else, he sees us all as equals, he judges us all as equals, none of us are any more, or any less important than our peers, that every person that has every lived and died on earth is judged evenly not because we are rich or poor, or attractive or not, whether we have pretty clothes or fancy cars or beautiful homes or if we live in caves or in boxes, whether we are religious leaders or not, we are judged evenly because we are all equal and share equal importance… its my opinion that god taught us through jesus example that looking attractive or trendy wasn’t important, what was important was treating everyone else as your equal and to worship him, it’s my opinion that worshiping him is living like him, living like the simple example of how jesus represented himself—simple and unimportant who loved everyone as equals and lived a simple lifestyle, and he did not appreciate hypocrites, and mostly the religious leaders that were hypocrites of what they taught.

If you ask me why I am a christian I will tell you that I perceive/believe jesus of nazareth to be the messiah that was promised by the god to the nation of Israel, and that being a ‘child of god’ doesn’t depend on where you grew up and what nation you happen to be from, and I will further explain that the humble example of jesus is how I try to live my life, and that loving and treating everyone as my equal--not anymore or any less important than me—is what is important to me… and that’s about it, I don’t try to over complicate my faith/religion much beyond that, I believe that you are every bit as important as me and that I am no less important than anyone, I believe that loving/caring/helping other people and making sure we all have essential things like food water and shelter is also very important, and I believe that anything much more than that is over complicating the religious philosophy that I follow, I follow jesus and the example that he made for humanity/people, and I believe that because he wasn’t a hypocrite, in fact he was the complete opposite, he was the complete opposite of a hypocrite because he believed what he taught to the point that he died over it, he understood the importance of his life example that when he was judged over it he didn’t sell-out, he didn’t compromise his integrity and do the safe thing by taking everything back, he didn’t try to pull one of those ‘sorry, not sure what I was thinking’ kind of selfish ways of trying to save his life, he knew what he taught, he knew it was correct and he was willing to die over it, in fact he did die over it.

If you ask me what it means to be a christian, or why I follow the christian religious philosophy I will tell you that I don’t know every reason why but the person that I choose to follow was a simple, loving, and a sincere man that happened to be the messiah, and I’ll also tell you that I don’t think you are less important than me if we don’t follow the same religious philosophy, if you don’t wear the same clothes as me, that I won’t think less of you or more of you based on the possessions that you have acquired or the shelter that you live in, and I might even get to the point where I explain that I think the biggest obstacle between people and our god is our own ego, I think that when a person’s ego becomes more important than other people, and a person’s ego becomes more important than god there is a problem… and that when I give into my own ego I found it easy to judge other people and to pay more attention to their negative qualities rather than loving them, and when I let my ego run wild I found it easy to think that the example of jesus is too impossible to follow so I am good enough for now, I found that it was easy to be a hypocrite when I trust my own ego rather than being sincere and authentic and following the simple example of Jesus of Nazareth.

I know from history that many people that have claimed to be christians only understood part of the truth, some people that have claimed to be christians but do not act like the example that jesus displayed may understand that he is the messiah, but did not hear his teachings about loving our neighbors and helping others, and that you don’t need to chase after fancy things or to look cool and attractive, many people have missed the most important part of his message, to love others as yourself and to follow the example of jesus like you mean it, lot’s of people missed that point. History tells us that about 6000 years ago god told abraham what he expected and what was important in life but many people understood it wrong, we got it wrong to the point that about 4000 years later he sent us an example and gave us further instructions about what was important in life, but many still got it wrong. Many people have claimed to represent the god of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and have missed god’s ‘big picture’, his point. Many people have claimed to represent the god of John, Luke, and Peter and have missed gods intentions. Many people have claimed to represent the god of judea-christian values/origins yet have committed horrific human atrocities in the name of their god, many people have misunderstood the importance of loving everyone as your equal, some people call it ‘humanity’, many people on the wrong side of humanity have done so under the false label of christianity… 2000 years after the death of my own ‘personal messiah’ there are hypocrites and terrible teachers that jesus spoke against during his years, we have had them for many thousands of years these hypocrites, many people that forget the importance of humanity and treating people as equals have done so while claiming to represent the god that I choose to follow and now realize there are consequences for their actions.

Looking back I can see now that I mislead/lied to you, I lied because earlier I wrote that I wouldn’t give you my opinion of Christianity because I didn’t feel ‘compelled’ to, but now I see that I do feel compelled to write my opinion, because of the shameful misrepresentation and interpretation of christians and christianity written in several ‘news’ (actually opinion) articles about ‘conservative christians worshiping donald trump and are a threat to usa’. The ignorance of such opinions suggest that a christian would suddenly change all of their beliefs to instead worship a rich flamboyant ego, I can’t think of anything further than the truth even though I voted for donald trump twice, and my reason for voting for him was based on factors that his ignorant critics cannot comprehend, non-christians cannot understand very simple reasons why some christians voted for him, they cannot understand because they do not understand the simplicity of christianity. It is not difficult to identify the over inflated ego that trump has, yet he claims to be christian…Joe Biden represents himself as a ‘catholic’ which is a denomination of the christian religion. I voted for donald trump in 2020 because there were two men that claim to represent some type of christian faith running for president and one of them understood that ‘aborting’ killing an unborn child is killing.   Abortion is killing/ending the existence of people that have no ability to defend themselves yet, but they are still alive. Abortion may seem like a logical solution to a confusing and difficult situation based of life circumstances, no matter how normal or terrifying the circumstances are which brought a new life into existence, it’s still killing. So back to president joe biden, if he believes that he can somehow convince god that the simple fact that the u.s. supreme court classified unborn children as anything else than what they are, if biden believes that he can win that ‘argument’ with the god that plainly told us ‘do not kill’, if anyone believes they can win any argument with god because their warped ego thinks contrary to basic and simple wisdom that most parents try to teach their children every day, well if anyone that claims to be a christian and approve/supports the killing of children, and then doesn’t understand the hypocrite that they have become, well they might be in for the surprise of their life if they can try to suggest to god that an unborn child is nothing more than a complex grouping of biological cells… good luck with your presentation, make sure to practice your power-point slide show while you expect to convey your nonsense to the same god that couldn’t have stated any clearer ‘do not kill’, I wish you well with your presentation to god, you should put your ‘best people’ on it and make sure the teleprompter is at the correct angle so you will not be overly distracted, and good luck with that. God is not over-complicated but compromised politicians and religious leaders will over-complicate the simplest of ideas… people and our ideas are easy to manipulate by carefully explaining a different perspective… but you must eventually quit being a hypocrite because god has no room for hypocrites that try to steer people away from what is important in life, you won’t be manipulating god… so either keep practicing your argument that you intend to have with god, or get real with yourself and understand that there will be no arguing with the one who got it right from the start, and understand that actions have consequences. If a politician, leader, or anyone you meet has compromised their integrity/ego on something as important as their religion do you wonder how many other things that 'stand for' that are also compromises and are empty statements and promises... you should because they will compromise anything if it's rewarding enough.

My words sound angry to some people, they sound reasonable to others, they sound absurd to others, and make other people say ‘right on’… but my words only have to be straight-up with god.

There is one more important thing that I forgot to mention about Jesus’ teachings… he taught that god isn’t a terrifying imaginary beast with false expectations of humanity, he taught that the god of abraham was more or less a concerned dad and an unassuming one at that, a dad that feels every emotion that we feel, understands the difficult struggle that goes on in our minds every time we over-complicate situations because we all take our eyes off of what’s really important in life, and he also understands when we let our ego get out of control and become full-fledged hypocrites that need correction. He also taught that corrective action doesn’t have to ruin anyone’s life, it can be as simple as understanding where you went wrong and being straight up with yourself, maybe others around you, but most importantly acknowledging to god that you ‘get it now’. My perception of the religious philosophy that I choose to follow is that jesus was the messiah that was promised to abraham, and that he came to straighten a few things out with the descendants of abraham, and he did so by his simple teachings and by the simple lifestyle that he lived, and that simple message is important enough for me to tell my own kids about… maybe just because I’m a concerned father too, right? -- christopher