As with any attitude, this has changed with me over time.

At this point in my life, part of me honestly wants to say that I am not, in fact, a Christian, but rather a follower of Christ. But it's all semantics at some point. When they use that word, that's what they mean. Vaguely.

But...most of the embarassment exists because of what it has come to mean to be a Christian. Rather than being about the reformation of one's self by God while on earth, it's a list of rules and regulations and allowed hymns and such.

I always thought my father had it right. The OT is God saying "Here, you self confident bastards. You think you can work your way to heaven, make it on your own, etc. Fine. Here's a cute little list of rules for you to follow. Have fun. If you follow it all to the letter, you get to go to Disney World forever.

Guess what. They failed.

In the New Testament, God steps back into the picture and says "now, wasn't that fun? See how successful you were at living up to my standards, at making it on your own?

I'd like to take the opportunity to say here that all of the vitirol here is mine. I think that God's probably far too much of a realist to continue to be pissed about people being willing morons.

Anyway. So God says "look. You can't work your way to heaven, or perfection. You can't make up for the sin in your life, you can't remove it from yourself. You're all corrupted just by being born into the world, at your first choice upon birth, at your first selfish decision. Given a chance, most of you choose to judge each other and live in self righteous hatred rather than seek me and live for me. It can't be done on your own. Natch.

So Jesus came and died, provided propitiation for sin, etc. And the plan became, rather than a list of rules in an attempt for man to make it to heaven on his own, an acceptance of God's grace, and an attempt to reestablish that first relationship with God.

God knows that we can't follow the rules. That we'll almost always follow our own lead rather than His. That what seems natural and logical to the world is alien to his nature, and vice versa.

Grace regards Truth and Love as the two main principles. It released the Jews from the need to worry about what meat they ate, gave the Jews the ability to divorce so that the men would quit killing their wives, and generally screw up as a matter of course.

I'm often embarassed to admit I'm a Christian because I don't want to be grouped with the rest of the judgemental morons who seem to belong to that sect, and whose job it is is to force everybody to become a beautiful clone.

I believe that worrying ourselves to death over the wrongs of others is only ever going to get us lost in the maze of things, and in possession of more ulcers than we need. That as a Christian, I'm called, not to be a rulesmaster, but as an example, a friend, and a fellow hypocrite.

I don't believe in perfection on earth. Let alone perfect obedience. But then, if it were possible to be perfectly obedient, we wouldn't need Grace, and Jesus wouldn't have had to die, neh?

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