“I am FILLED with Christ’s LOVE!” So says Hilary Faye (Mandy Moore) in the 2004 spoof on uptight Born Again Christians, “Saved!” She says this while hurling a Bible at the back of knocked-up classmate Mary, who responds by picking up the book and saying, “This is not a weapon.”
I watched that movie with my friend Kandi back when it came out. We were with my coworker Stephanie (Catholic but loosely so) and her friend who I think is Jewish. Kandi and I sat in the theatre feeling ashamed and angry. Yes, there were funny parts, and a lot of true stuff in there, including the extreme corniness offered up at Evangelical Christian schools (we attended and graduated from one). We cringed though, because the movie painted with such a broad brush. The coolest, truest characters were those who were either not Christians, or wound up breaking with certain tennets of the faith. Where did those of us who weren’t Bible-thumpers (or throwers) yet still dedicated to living out our commitment to Christ stand? Why was it so either-or?
I was thinking about Evangelical extremists while I was looking up vegetarian and vegan recipes a few days ago. There’d be a perfectly good story on cutting back on meat and dairy or a recipe that called for milk or an egg. In the comboxes, there would inevitably be a crazy comment in all caps with far too many exclaimation points warning of the evil of meat. Didn’t omnivores (eww, way to refer to billions of your fellow humans) know they were destroying the Earth/eating physical death which will bring about spiritual death/ ruining their bodies/ teaching their kids to be cannibals?!?!!! Uh, perhaps we didn’t, but thanks for enlightening us, oh Master/Mistress of Consumption!
The sad thing is, besides making me do epic Liz Lemon eyerolls which hurt my eyeballs, I’m actually interested in being a vegetarian. Abstaining from meat throughout Lent has been a catalyst for me to seriously consider making the change. But reading stuff like that makes me want to go eat a giant, juicy cheesburger. I imagine if I’m sympathetic but repulsed by being e-scolded, someone like my bro Joe, an avowed “meat-atarian” would probably either start a combox war or either shut down altogether.
Today, while getting an IVIG treatment, my nurse and friend Melissa, shared about an overzealous coworker (she also works fulltime as a nurse at a very busy hospital) who pulled her aside in the breakroom and announced they were going to pray. Right that moment. She grabbed her hands, closed her eyes and began praying aloud. Melissa, being a member of the “Nones” group, just stood there awkwardly. She felt stuck and as if her niceness had been violated. Who said she wanted to pray? Who said she even believed in prayer? Or even God? She hadn’t. In fact, she said nothing. It was not a positive experience, and it’s one that occured with a number of other well-meaning but pushy Christian acquaintances over the years. She has repeatedly been Hilary Faye’d, and while she shared with me, I felt like I was back in that theater again, cringing.
I’m going to open this up to anyone to share their experiences. If you’re a Christian (or really, of any religion), do you share your faith with others? If yes, how do you do it? If no, do you feel like you should be doing it? If you’re a “None”, how do you feel about people approaching you about their religious beliefs? If you’re a convert (to or away from a religion), did any particular person help you along the way?