My friends like to tell one another that I am not really a born again Christian. They think of me more along the lines of that old Jonathan Miller routine: “I’m not really a Jew- I’m Jew-ish.” They think I am Christian-ish. But I’m not. I’m just a bad Christian. A bad born-again Christian.”
– Anne Lamott
With the reading of this paragraph, my world shifts and expands. It’s one of the most freeing statements I’ve ever read in my life.
When I consider the books, articles, blogs and conversations that have touched me deeply over the past year, I come to the troubling conclusion that some of the people I respect and admire most in this world are pro-life, feminists, supporters of the LGBT movement and worse… democrats. In fact, some of the most Christlike people I know can’t be squeezed into my definition of the word “Christian” at all. And I realize, perhaps for the first time, that my definition of the word “Christian” has been too small. The God I serve comes with 365 spoken rules (the Torah) and 365,000 “unspoken” rules (the American Denominational system.)
The Apostle Paul says: “All things are permissible.” Later, he admonishes: “Why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules: ‘Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!’?”
I’ve come to realize that the only way I know of to be free – truly free – to serve my Lord is to forget (to the best of my ability) everything and anything the church has taught me about being a Christian. To lay all my ideas and preconceptions at the feet of Jesus and trust Him to keep me close and forgive me when I stray too far. Whenever something challenges my concept of what it means to be a “Christian,” I’ll act in accordance with the still, small voice of God and give myself permission to be what I should be and always have been:
An extraordinarily bad Christian.