Editor's note: This blog was submitted by listener and progressive Christian, Lacey Weil. This is her first time writing for the Pantsuit Politics blog.
American Christianity is in crisis. It seems that those who speak the loudest are also the ones who sound the least like Jesus. Let's take for instance conservative Facebook phenom, Tomi Lahren. The 24-year old host of TheBlaze.com's "Tomi" seems to pop up weekly on my feed with her infamous Final Thoughts, a segment dedicated to what can only be described as a rant against the liberal agenda. Millions watch as she rails against Black Lives Matter, immigrants, feminists, Islam, and Hollywood elites. But it's not the content of the video that doesn't sit well with me, it's the last 10 seconds. She finishes every Final Thoughts segment with "God bless".
Here is a young woman, who is smart and savvy with mass appeal using her platform to further enrage her base and then calmly signing off with a simple "God bless." I imagine every video with an asterisk of conditions: *with the exception of protesters, liberal snowflakes, immigrants, Hollywood elites, the mainstream media, on and on. The Jesus I know doesn't have a list that long. The Jesus I know doesn't have a list at all.
You see, I'm Christian. I haven't always been, in fact for the first 20 years of my life, I wasn't much of anything. I didn't grow up in the "Church" or have very many religious friends. But I sure had thoughts about what it meant to be Christian.
I saw Christians rallying around the California bill, Prop 8 that would solidify the state constitution to reflect marriage as between a man and a woman. Not between the several gay couples I knew growing up that reflected love, compassion, and a dedication to their family.
I saw Christians fight against science. While working on the California Youth Leadership Council on environmental concerns, there were always people at any meeting or demonstration denying climate change and scientific facts.
I saw Christians exclude people who didn't look like them, or talk like them, or pray like them.
I saw Christians do a lot of things that were not, in any way, Christ like.
And then I started going to church, reluctantly. I liked the band and I liked being around kids my own age and I liked feeling like I was learning a little something on a Sunday morning. And then, all at once, I started liking church. And I started liking Christians.
I have been battling ever since what it means to be a Christian and what it means to be one in our culture. I hesitate to tell people I go to church, or that I think Jesus is freaking amazing because I'm embarrassed of my fellow Christians. I'm embarrassed to be associated with people who use Jesus to wound. I'm ashamed to have the same label as someone who believes words inside the Bible can ever be used against another human being.
I refuse to be against another human being. So instead, I'm going to be against the church. Or at least the church who has turned away so many people for not being enough. The entire point is that we are all enough. We belong to each other.
I'm a Christian who believes same sex marriage is beautiful and holy.
I'm a Christian who believes that my Muslim neighbors have the same rights to pray any way they like, just as I do.
I'm a Christian who believes that if we don't stand together with #BlackLivesMatter, than we are sending a profoundly selfish message that only our lives matter.
I'm a Christian whose heart breaks wide open thinking about a child in Syria being turned away from all this country has to offer because we are afraid.
I don't have all the answers, hardly any of them in fact. But I know that Christianity and Christians have so much potential in this period of turmoil to show what the church is really about. I worry there are thousands of people like me, watching what high profile Christians like Tomi Lahren are doing, and equating it with the church. I'm afraid they will watch her say that Lena Dunham looks like a boy, or that people who mourned the defeat of their candidate were cry babies and think that the "God bless" send off at the end is not for them.
Trust me when I say, the blessing is for you even if Tomi Lahren isn't.
I feared that this election cycle would turn me off of Christianity entirely. It did the exact opposite. Don't let the loudest voices in the room stifle the growing masses of progressive Christians who are ready to stand with the most vulnerable amongst us. That is exactly what Jesus had in mind for his followers.