The more serious I got about my faith and the more I let it change my life, the more the church hated me.
I was taught to follow Christ no matter the cost – turns out the highest cost was betrayal from Christians.
On Sundays we sang “I have decided to follow Jesus … though none go with me, still I will follow… no turning back, no turning back”. Yet when I went alone I was accused of going rogue.
When Acts 2 and Acts 4 inspired me to give up an individualistic and consumerist lifestyle and pursue interdependent community living – I got called a socialist.
When I decided my faith should shape my life, I was accused of relying on works to save me.
As I let God’s love break down my prejudices and biases, I saw the Image of God in all people – so I got labeled a universalist.
I couldn’t deny anymore the non-violent message of Christ and the pacifist lives of the earliest Christians – and was told I was getting too wrapped up in “non-essentials”, and getting my faith mixed up with hippie politics.
Studying American history, I came to the difficult conclusion that the US had never been a Christian nation, and that it could never be, as empires are always in direct opposition to Christ. I was attacked and called anti-American.
Christ said to love everyone – so I put people before doctrines. But I quickly found I could only love Church-approved people – white people, straight people, able-bodied people and wealthy people – without being reprimanded for following popular trends.
Humbly I decided I need to be a truth-seeker more than a truth-preacher, but now they said I was losing my way.
When I noticed the church pledges allegiance to politics more than Christ, I was called a libtard and snowflake.
I took Jesus seriously when he said to take in the stranger and help those in need – but Christians cared more about protecting borders than protecting lives and apparently if I didn’t like it here, I should move.
When I expanded my definition of family and did life with the people God put in my path, I was accused of breaking down family values.
I asked hard questions like Jesus did in his parables, but I was shunned for going astray.
When I emulated Christ the most closely, I was accosted with “We don’t recognize you anymore! You’re not one of us!”
The more I sacrificed to do the right thing, the more I was called selfish.
The less popular my convictions became, the more convinced they were I was taking the “easy path”.
The more fervently I followed the Spirit’s leading, the louder the doors slammed behind me.
Following Christ got me kicked out of Christianity.