A few weeks ago, I went to Cornerstone Festival, a huge Christian music festival in Illinois. I was already cranky from the emotional things I was going through, and then...I went to the merch tent. Coming at me from all sides were tshirts that read "ABSTINENCEISAWESOME" and "I love my future wife" (tempted to get that one), booths for Christian colleges that promised the tools to win souls or get a degree in "Worship Leadership," and a general black hole of creativity in design and thought that proclaims "Christians are to rip off every worldly trend, slap a smarmy saying about abortion on it and in so doing fit into the box that we have created for you that makes you look like an even BIGGER asshole than the guy at the entrance holding a sign and passing out Chick Tracts."
Why am I a Christian again? Oh yeah, the monsters! (Thanks Otto Nobot!)
No really, what gave me a little hope at Cornerstone that Christianity isn't just a boxed in money market were the people who reminded me that human beings are gross and monstrous and we're ALL like that. Christians aren't special by nature of their sexual mores (they just would rather not talk about it) or their appearance or their GODAWFUL music or even by nature of their religion, because God is for everyone. I don't know if God wants everyone to become a Christian or not, but I think he loves people who aren't Christians just the same. What gave me hope was knowing that in little pockets of the world, there are Christians who believe in doing good unto everyone instead of being self-righteous. There are people who walk Palestinian children to school so Israeli grownups don't throw garbage at them. There are people who take in seven teenage skaters into their houses like they're their own kids. There are people who put the money that their churches generate into paying an acquaintance's medical bills instead of building a mahogany pulpit for the church.
I think that things like saying thanks to God and valuing life and saving sex for marriage are right and good, but there's so much more that Christians are responsible for. If someone gets some kind of spiritual nourishment out of the church with the mahogany pulpit, God bless 'em, honestly. But if your entire faith is based on rubbing it in someone else's face that you're saved and he or she isn't, then it's not really following Jesus' example. That's what the Pharisees were doing and Jesus made no bones about how pointless it was.
So Cornerstone made me throw up in my mouth a little. All this has probably been said on the blogosphere before, and I really don't mean an ill will toward anyone. It's saddening to think that this might be all that Christianity is cracked up to be, and I'm not feelin' it. I was much happier to get back to Eugene and the Country Fair, where the jugglers didn't have any self-righteous agendas, the women didn't dwell on causing their brothers to stumble over their painted breasts (although literally...), and pregnant mothers celebrated the life inside their bodies with decoration rather than preach to the choir about how awful abortion is and leaving it at that.