Shitty Christians

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The Inspiration

“I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ” (OG King James Version) - Philippians 3:8

The Why

In this famous passage from the Bible, St. Paul addresses an early Christian controversy about the necessity of circumcision amongst new converts to the Jewish sect that would become Christianity. Circumcision was a sign in the Jewish community of their special place in God’s plan to redeem Creation from a state somehow “less than” what God intended it to be because of humanity’s self-centered choices made somewhere in our collective, primordial history. To be sure, the particularity and specificity of it all perplexes our modern sensibilities. Or at least it should.

Let’s face it, it doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense. Who of us would do it this way, let alone introduce penile circumcision as a sign of this Covenant between God and God’s people. If I were God (and pause for a moment here because it is exactly this sort of mindset where much of our trouble begins or continues as human beings)... But seriously, if I were God I probably would have went with a tattoo (or really anything less...mutilating). But I’m not God. And, trust me, that is a good thing for you dear reader.

To return to this scandal of particularity, we ask why Salvation should come from this one people, seemingly no more or less special than any other? Christians and their Jewish siblings would contend that it is precisely God’s initiative that made all the difference. He called out one person and his family (Abraham) and promised to make his descendents a people through which would come the restoration of the Cosmos to its primordial state of peace and tranquility. Made for Eden, our hubris got us Entropy.

What does this have to do with St. Paul, himself a Jew, “of the most hardcore type” (translation mine) as he refers to himself earlier in this letter to the nascent Christian community in Phillipi? Paul was a shitty Christian. He says so himself.

The Greek word, Σκύβαλα (skubala), it has been noted is a slang term for feces. It is not crazy to think that the Apostle to the Gentiles was basically saying “all this stuff, my being circumcised and basically being perfect at ‘doing religion’ is a crock of shit. Pride masquerading as piety. I’m going to consider all the stuff I’ve deluded myself into thinking is part of being a “good Christian” as so much shit. Instead, I’m telling you that, after meeting Jesus of Nazareth, my mindset has changed because he’s shown me a different Way marked by a turn from self (pride) and toward the Other. I consider my own efforts to be the shit that simply covers up my own hypocrisy, and who of us has been able to find happiness living as if I were the be all and end all? I’m a hypocrite if I say I have attained perfection. Mind you, I’d be hella worse had I not come to know this Way. But truly, compared to all the stuff Jesus taught and followed through on, I’m a shitty Christian. And I say that because I have to remind myself that it’s not about me. This is a Story (hence all that particular stuff about particular characters) and you’re not the Author. You’ll only be a good Christian when you acknowledge that you’re not and instead keep your eyes focused on the Christ.”

Christianity is a religion of paradoxes teased out from reading the Story in light of the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. It makes no sense how much it makes sense when you stop to think about it. It is in giving that one receives (if you’ve volunteered before, you probably “get” this). It is in losing oneself that you find yourself (anyone who’s ever had to give themselves up to a Higher Power will “get” this).

Who We Are

We are friends who share deep concern for truth and authentic desire to make the world better and who also share a belief that the other is completely, utterly, and entirely wrong. Wrong, but not crazy. You want controversy? We’ve got it. You want to experience a rare form of civility in disagreement? We hope to deliver. You want to watch a group of people fumble their way towards truth while respecting one another’s freedom of belief and simultaneously hoping to convince the other to read this human story the way it’s supposed to be read?

The Sh*tty Christians project is for followers of this Way who recognize their own shittiness. It’s also for people who don’t follow this Way but who know the other kind of shitty Chrsitians who are simply shitty people. The former people are those who, in the words of one of our founders, “have no problem with Jesus, it’s the people in his club I have a problem with.”

This project is borne out of recognition that there are crazies on both “sides”. Those people–believer or not–cannot be helped until the scales fall from their eyes and they see pride for what it is, recognize that they are the ones making the world worse, and frankly turning people off to the completely radical teachings of one Jewish man who also happened to be God* and lived in the Middle East roughly 2000 years ago before social media ruined everything.

The creed of the Sh*tty Christians project begins like this. Go ahead and profess your belief along with us, your humble friends: I believe that I am neither Alpha nor Omega. I believe that Iam neither perfect, nor alone.

*the non-Christian editor indulged the writer by allowing the italicized clause even though he believes it is absurd.

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From the creative minds at Ars Longa Media, this is the podcast for Shitty Christians and their friends.

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