I've been wondering how to tell people this gently or my normal way and it's not going to be easy, so I'll just come out and say it: I'm a sinner by nature, American by birth, Christian by choice, Jewish by spirit, and completely eccentric all on my own. Now that I (may) have your attention, there is something I want to mention. In regards to the way I was raised, I see that it would be unfair if I called myself a "Christian" and remained a stubborn, legalistic, holier-than-thou jackass (see what I did there? It's in the KJV!). With that said, I've come to notice a couple things in the last couple of years that's made me sick to my stomach on how some people call their selves Christian and are blatantly not and how others are Christian, prove it, and get backlash from the religious community.
One example is this: there is a metalcore band called Sleeping Giant. I discovered them back maybe 3 years ago while in Oklahoma City. Or 4 years ago in Huntington, WV. Somewhere around that time. They are heavy metal, yet their lyrics are seriously nothing but praises to God. One video of theirs, "Tithemi", is a concert compilation with the singer singing lyrics that are, in not a single way to doubt, pro-God, anti-religion praises. And, until the very last verse, he actually sings it. Like I'm-in-a-church-not-a-mosh-pit singing. The last verse, he growls, but he's still praising, regardless.
In another video, "Eyes Wide Open," that song has a surprise guest singer in it. Frankie Palmeri of Emmure. Anyone that knows that band knows they have frequent, EXTREMELY STRONG swearing, and they show they don't care if they offend people and who they offend. Yet, in that video, not only does Frankie not swear (and not just because he's a guest with a Christian band), he actually does some cooperating lyrics (the song's about the religious elite who look down upon frenetic fanatics of Jesus who are not afraid to praise God and JESUS publicly). People on both sides of the faith fence have sneered Sleeping Giant for having Frankie be a guest singer and Emmure for their singer being with a Christian singer. Only a few recognized what it really meant- that the members of Sleeping Giant were witnessing to nonChristians not by being "Bible Thumpers" or "Holy Rollers," but by actually letting them try out their angle of something they have common ground with. In their case, making heavy music and hanging out with fans. RAWK ON!
The other scenario deals with an obnoxiously rigid legalistic, ultra-religious, holier-than-thou, extremist Christian website, simply known as jesus-is-savior.com. Beyond the URL's name, there's nothing I can get myself to agree with on the site. Why? Well, for starters, unless you're in a southern Gospel choir group singing nothing but safe-for-church-ONLY hymnals, your music group would be condemned by the moderator of the site, unashamedly, and without remorse.
Not only that, but he publicly condemns every factor of American society and wrongfully uses the Bible to do it (wait, don't cults do the same thing?). Today, I was looking into the site's articles on "Hellivision and the Movies" and one article definitely caught my skeptical eye (don't tell the moderator I'm also a skeptic by nature, he'd likely judgmentally condemn me as a "heretic" ;), about Mel Gibson's "Porn Hall of Fame," why call it that? Because his notoriously controversial film, Passion of the Christ, features 5 porn stars. At least, according to his website. Has an asterisk by their names and mentions their specific roles in PotC. Oh, it gets better (no pun intended, of course). He publicly hates on and condemns Mel for being Catholic (I'm not a supporter of the Catholic religion nor the Catholic church, mind you, but I do have close friends that know where I stand and they're okay with me, I'm a borderline anarchist, got it?), and for having a sordid history of Hollywood movies. And, by "sordid", I mean films that do not go up to the moderator's own personal standard for what a Christian should star in. I wonder if he's read the Bible and noticed all the gory, explicitly violent content, numerous sensually steamy sex scenes, sensual word imagery in some of the poetry (ahem, "Songs of Solomon", anyone?), and, the one version of the Bible he demands all churches use, the KJV, all the swearing in it? (yeah, I still remembering seeing "ass", "whore", and "bastard" in it, yet the church rarely ever mentions that, and I don't know why)
Well, the way I see it, if you're gonna relate to sinners who really hate traditionalistic religion, you won't have them coming in rows to the congregation with a movie that doesn't fit their interests (like if PotC were just PG or just G-rated), so you have to do what Paul in the Bible suggested, find a way to find common ground with a nonbeliever and have a cool, civilized talk without compromising Scripture, and let it sink in, not trying to coerce/force/manipulate them to be a Christian. If God would have said that in the Bible, I would've walked out of it and wait for death to see where it took me, regardless of the consequences. Let's face it, the Church has been having less and less members in the pews or whatnot and it's not entirely the world's fault. Sometimes, it's actually the Church's fault, and not because they try to be hipster or whatever, but because of their attitude and either subtle or outright hypocrisy and it does become an annoyance for someone earnestly wanting answers and all they get is "Have faith." Yeah, we got the faith angle, but it kind of feels like they're also saying "God may not have the answer." The reality is they don't have the answer and God, who's omniscient, does have answers, but doesn't always give them the way people expect. We've become a generation of expecters. Something else that Yeshua had touched upon about HIS own people, how much they expected this or that, or this and that, and did not have much care if they didn't get what they expected. Hey, I tend to be impatient, okay? I think I get it from both parents (I think Mom's by far more impatient). So I can relate to not wanting to wait for God's answers to a prayer or to a question, but when He does answer it, in His own way, it's always worth the wait.
So, you have read why I'm not a traditionalist anymore, why I don't go for religion, and why I find the moderator of jesus-is-savior.com to be such a condemning religious nutcase that I could easily wonder if he's not really a member of WBC moonshining as someone else.
Also, he shows a lot of ignorance in a lot of integral factors. And so does another website that hasn't had any updates since September 2010 (that's a good sign in this case, less un-Biblical poison to spread around), objectiveministries.org. Just like j-I-s, om constantly puts down and condemns ANYTHING that doesn't present the Gospel their way, and sometimes rather scathingly. Like video games. They've posted "reviews" of video games and have disclaimers (in this age of censorship, I really, really hate disclaimers, we may as well have one for the Bible if we're all for family entertainment!) about how the M-rated games are not allowed to be played where they live (is that in Alva, OK? I sometimes feel like it), so they had to go by media outlets to find out information about those games. And their own extreme religious filters. Therefore, a good number of actually well-done games get "No Crosses" (I thought it was only 3rd-rate Christian indie flicks that got lame), with Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty getting "1 Cross" for their own reason. And a whole lot of substandard games (wait, why is Minecraft on that list?) getting "5 Crosses" for presenting the Gospel "accurately". As if that's not ignorant enough, they also have a section for what's "evil" in malls. And some of the stores they list as "Satanic", they list simply for phoenetic reasons (who knew "Cinnabon" sounded like "Sin upon"?) or for historical ignorance (condemning JC Penney's [I'm sorry, "JC Penny's"] because, to them, they're "devaluing" Jesus down to one penny and make it sound like Judas Iscariot saw 30 pieces of silver's worth of value in him... only, in that culture, that was literally a Jew's day's wage of work, selected by the Pharisees as an agreed-upon price to betray Yeshua into their hands).
There are few things that seriously irritate the Sheol out of me, and showing cultural and historical ignorance for something one should know about if they call theirselves "followers" is one of my top peeves. So much for proving that Christians aren't as ignorant as skeptics claim, huh?