I have long believed in and cherished the great ideal of brutal honesty.
As the saying goes, “Hard words make soft hearts and soft words make hard hearts”, and while I appreciate there is some pushback to that sentiment, it’s true on occasion.
Sometimes hard words need to be said in order to evoke change. For more information, please consult the Letter to the Galatians as an argument in favour of that principle.
This blog post is going to be one of those “hard words” – I am going to say something that you potentially may find upsetting, annoying (that would be ironic!) or rather arrogant. It’s not my aim to be but nonetheless, I apologise in advance if that is the case.
Why, then, do I think some Christians are annoying? Five distinct areas highlight this reality to me:
We are generally immature at times
To put it bluntly, sone growing-up is needed. ASAP.
There is a flippancy among Christians at times that I find totally disheartening – especially in younger Christians.
Kill-joy! That’s probably the choice of heckle I’d hear if I was having this conversation with folks in person but that’s not what I’m saying.
More than most, I enjoy my laughter (probably more than I should) and I love a good joke…but not everything is funny. If everything is a source of humour, then nothing is a source of humour – it’s just a morass of silliness.
But humour is not the only problem.
No there’s also a general issue with doing things on your own. Our instant-information age has made it such that we really think that there is an app or a guy or a guy with an app to do everything for us.
We love cliques and elitism
Now I have to confess I am passionate about this one because I used to be that guy.
I’m something of a theological outcast for various reasons I won’t get into. (I’m a general outcast when it comes to life too but I made peace with that a long time ago.)
One of the beauties of not fitting in anywhere and people treating you as weird no matter what the context or setting is that you begin to realise that Christians love cliques, categories and a good dash of feeling like part of some elite group.
I’m a Calvinist – and I’ll be frank in saying that few theological sub-cultures have as many ‘sets’ (in the gang sense of the term) as Calvinist. I’ve seen Presbyterian go after Presbyterian because they weren’t ‘confessional’ enough, I’ve seen Reformed guys turn on Baptists because they have no sacraments and Lord help you should you be a dispensational-leaning Calvinist among covenantal brothers.
It more resembles this scene than Christian brothers with differences:
Now I don’t want to say that this is solely the problem of Calvinists…because it’s not solely the problem of Calvinists. But we have to confess that at times we genuinely think we are better than people because we have better theology – we might not say it but our actions do.
That’s elitism – the subtle belief that one group possesses an innate advantage over another group on the basis of shared knowledge, values and/or experiences. Sorry, Christians, we don’t do elitism in our circles.
Even if your theology is better than most people around you, build bridges and don’t build walls for Heaven’s sake – don’t allow your theology to puff you up lest God feel pleased to stick a pin in you for your soul’s sake.
Cliques and elitist thinking in God’s Church – that’s annoying.
We are really insensitive
Yes, yes we are. Christians have the capability to some of the coldest, uncaring, unapproachable people in any given situation.
Now, c’mon, Kofi, that’s an overstatement, ain’t it?
Nope – there are some moments where I simply have to ask myself, “Is there actually a functioning brain in there as you talk right now?”
In many ways, this problem of insensitivity is the fruit of my first major gripe – because we’re immature, we’re not sensitive to the reality that for some people, there is such a thing as a sore spot!
There are certain brothers in my life that though I love them dearly, I am resolved I will never tell certain things for the simple reasons their comments demonstrate a general inability to be considerate and in the interest of practicing what I preach, I restrain
I often half-joke that some brothers will hear about me getting married, should that ever happen, the week before. The reason why (which I never disclose) is that any earlier I will be dealing with a load of foolish jokes over something I take kinda seriously.
Ultimately, sensitivity is something you develop by getting to know people and knowing where they struggle.
My pastors are amazing at this. Pastor Tom and I talk a lot and while there is a lot of good-natured ribbing I undergo from PT, I can bank on the reality that there are certain issues he will be as sensitive in dealing with. In fact, I know there are certain subjects we joke about and some that are so raw I wouldn’t naturally touch them if he didn’t fulfil his pastoral ministry and ask for the good of my own soul.
But that is rare – because we Christians are not as sensitive to the pains and struggles of others and it is annoying.
To be continued…