I recently read an article exploring problems in Christianity. The author made some very valid points which caused me to ponder what she had written.
Because I am a Christian.
I am also a wife, a mother, a writer, a plant lover, a rabid football fan and a self styled philosopher. My present thinking is formed, as yours, by my own history so I own it.
My religious views came to me by experiences encountered over a long life. I was not raised in a religious home so I found my way alone. Well not really alone, but it was a very personal journey.
The article pointed out things about Christianity that bothered her, fair enough, they bother me also. I think of my Muslim friends who are devoutly religious, and yet must endure the consequences of the actions from those followers who distort a beautiful family centered religion. My heart was broken for my Catholic friends as one scandal after another came to light in their church. A church and religion they love. I am also saddened by leaders of churches who do not follow the pattern of the Savior as they stand and condemn those of other faiths or political persuasions. Their intolerance is in direct conflict of the Savior I know. But that is their choice. They lead their churches and it is the choice of the congregate to attend and follow or not.
People will let us down because we are all imperfect and fallible. That is why men and women are not who I worship. I listen to the leaders of my church, but it is still my responsibility to pray about what has been said and receive my own witness of the truthfulness of the teaching. The Lord does not want us to blindly obey.
I cannot offer defense for those who contort the Saviors teachings. However I am personally aware of many examples of kindness and service from people who do follow the Savior. The reason you don't hear much about or perhaps any of these things is simple. They follow the Savior's example. After the Savior had cleansed the Leper he said, "See thou tell no man" (Matt. 8: 2-4) That is the pattern of peaceable followers of Christ. They go about their Father's business without anyone knowing or expecting anything in return. The peace from the service they provide is all they require. I have been privileged to watch such service up close over and over again.
In prayer I have gone to the Lord brokenhearted for many things I have done wrong. I wouldn't condemn anyone else because I have made so many bad choices. Daily repentance is part of my life and I am grateful for the ability to seek forgiveness, to say I'm sorry, to receive it and then to start over. The relief is life giving because nothing feels as wonderful as forgiveness and a clear conscience. Equally important is giving forgiveness, it is possible to forgive with God's help to soften hearts and then remember we are all damaged, all broken.
My step mother was quite damaged and broken, she had a complicated life and felt there were few choices for her. Because of that frustration she was angry. One voice she listened to was Billy Graham. I believe he was just a preacher from a small town who loved the Lord. Not pretentious, no need for fame, he lived a simple life.His message resonated with her and brought her much needed peace. She was a better person for having listened to Reverend Graham.
Freedom to choose is God's way. He provides very clear instructions as to what will make us happy and successful in this journey through life. Ultimately it is up to us to seek out those teachings and then make our choices. Each morning I pray for strength, guidance and a clear mind. I pray to make good decisions and to find someone to serve. At the end of the day I "return and report" spending time pondering the blessings from the day, just being grateful then I ask for help to repair mistakes, at the end of my prayer I listen. I listen for a still small voice reminding me tomorrow is another day, all is well and everything will work out. This prayer might be your meditation, your quiet time in the car. What we title it isn't important.....it is the time we give to ask for help to bolster ourselves in this world that is important.
It is not my job to judge, only to love. And that is what I have learned from the Savior. I know I fall short, we all do. But with His help when I fall, I can get up again, start over, nd be optimistic that everything will work out.
This is the Christianity I know.