My wife and I were having a conversation one day with one of her friends from work about spirituality and religion. Carol’s friend described another acquaintance as “one of those born-againers”. Carol mentioned to her friend that we were some of the “born-againers” too. Her friend quickly responded, “No you’re not! You don’t tell people how sinful they are all the time.” It is with that interesting perspective on Christians that I begin this post.
What is it about Christianity that makes people so put off, so sure that we are just ready to judge them and separate ourselves from everyone else? While I have seen some instances of this strong judgmentalism, I often do NOT see it, but see the opposite, Christians loving and caring for their friends and the world, wanting the best for them.
A few weeks ago (April 4th broadcast) on one of my favorite podcasts, “This American Life” they told the story entitled, “Brother Born Again.” This was an audio highlight of the film by the same name. In it the sister, who is the documentor, talks about her relationship (and her family’s relationship) with her older brother who had become a Christian. She tells the story about his spiritual experience and his subsequent moving to a commune farm on an island in Alaska. She approaches the story and her brother assuming that he would be the one to judge her and that he is the one that has created separation between her and the family. Interestingly, as the story unfolds and the documentor sister progress in their questions and quest to find out more about her brother she realizes that it has not been him who has been creating the distance or making judgmental assumptions, but the other way around.
Most fascintating in this very well done piece is the struggle you hear as the brother and sister process their faith and relationship. It is fantastic!
I found myself cheering for the brother, hoping that he would not be a complete judgmental and overbearing idiot. He is revealed to be quite thoughtful and faithful, while struggling through some fundamentalism doctrine. I also found myself cheering for the sister and her quest to right relationship with her brother. There is something in her tension that leads me to believe that more is going under the surface.
Anyway, if you are a fan of good story, you should check out the podcast.