KARL - I am a Sh**ty Christian

I hope you will forgive the coarse title, I was quite depressed when I started this blog. The title reflects the way I often feel when I compare myself to others. I used to be a good Christian. Well, I was almost a good Christian. I only missed it by a few devotions and had I lead two more people to Christ I am pretty sure I could have gotten some merit badge. I was a confident and positive young man filled with lots of interesting trivia about the Bible. Now, I am middle-aged, have spent most of my adult life being paid as a “professional Christian” and mostly wonder what happened?

And I am realizing that it is as difficult now to move from being noticed to obscurity as it was to sit alone at lunch in junior high. Mostly, only good Christians get noticed. As a matter of fact that may be the primary task of the good Christian–to be noticed. God, friends, admirers, kids, spouses, bosses, you name it. We crave that our goodness, godliness, and “hard work for the Kingdom” be acknowledged. So as I sit back and reflect on how far back I have fallen in my good Christian duties, I have identified a couple of the primary qualities that separate good Christians from the rest of us.

Good Christians have lots of goals.
Attendance to double, do more devotions, more push-ups, better schools, and more moral government officals and laws. The Christian bookstore can assist you…apparently we have become a fix-it faith, get-er-done kind of Christianity. Think back to last New Years, those resolutions you made, and I bet you wanted to be a better Christian.

Sh**ty Christians are slow, and sometimes appear lazy; but what they are trying very hard to do is to stop measuring everything. Loving people seems to look different now than winning people, and I can not for the life of me find that passage where Jesus told his disciples their numbers were a bit low….can anyone help me?

Here are some of my new lofty goals:
not tinkle when I sneeze
meet tiger woods
love better

That’s about it….

Good Christians seem to have a lot of power.
Good Christians have an enormous amount of power, especially over nagging character defects. It seems that good Christians do not struggle much with issues of the flesh and personal history. Somehow, they always find victory, which means, that as far as anyone can see, they have no visible defects. Only good Christians are considered as leaders, and the better the Christian, the more “leadership” they are given. With power comes a sense of independence that allows the good Christian to not really need others too much.

Shi**ty Christians are usually total losers. They struggle with morality, substances, and the confidence to believe that everyone should do what they say. They compound their problem by telling folks of their problems. And then just to make things worse, they actually ask for help.

Good Christians are certain they are right.
How often do you hear from a good Christian, “I wonder, what do you think, maybe I am wrong?” The Bible is book of facts to be mastered, and once you have the proper key, it all fits into a nice, neat little package. Certainty is what gives the good Christian such confidence, the ability to tell others how to live without hesitation. They often seem to say certainty is faith, but if you are sure do you really need faith?

Sh**ty Christians doubt, ask questions, and aren’t too sure anymore. We tend to wonder, question, and notice that some believe differently than we do and we don’t always feel obligated to fix the difference.

I wrote this blog to just create a conversation, to stir some thoughts. Have you thought of yourself as one of those shi**y Christians? and if so what prompts it? What is that makes you so bad at this? Just know you’re not alone.

13 Responses to “KARL - I am a Sh**ty Christian”

  1. Susan says:

    I think the difference is the measuring stick.

    In the examples, you measure a good Christian by the world’s standards. These standards are the same measurements that we use to determine self esteem.

    I think we should really be using God as the measuring stick. His standard is the measurement that we use to determine self worth.

    This morning after blowing it again at being a “good Christian” I asked God, “How can you love me?” I got an immediate impression in return - “I created you.”

    Wow. I don’t have to do much to be a good Christian. All I have to do is show up. Salvation is God’s job. We just have to keep wanting it, because you know there’s no way we can improve upon it.

  2. Phyl says:

    Dear Karl,
    I used to be a sh**y Christian, but then I went to a seminar intitled, “How to be a Good Christian by Mastering the 377 Principles of Godly Success.” Now I’ve brightened my teeth, aquired modest clothing, and have nothing but the joy of victory 24/7, thanks to the 377 Principles of Godly Success dvd’s and study guides.
    Sign up now for the seminar, and you can go from shi**y to shiny in no time!

    OK, NOT!
    The truth is I only trust shi**y believers. Like you, Karl.
    Love ya,

  3. Paul says:

    Hey, I think like Karl, i too have found some of the joy and freedom of being a sh**ty christian, but I still often feel like I am back sliding and some how, without really knowing it I surrendered to the ear-tickling of something that “feels right”. And it just looks like being the “good Christian” is working for so many other people that i wonder, what am I doing? The Jesus I’ve discovered lately is REALLY DANGEROUS! Seriously, everywhere I look I think i see him and he pushing me to get involved with some F****ed up people! and things and ideas that threaten to take all my money.
    Good Christians don’t have to worry about this! they might have to stress about getting to church early enough to get a doughnut before their gone or if the pastor uses enough “scripture” in the service. they might think about giving money to the homeless guy on the corner but “they’re just going to buy beer with anyway” They don’t have answer any real questions.

  4. Anonymous says:

    i was just saying to a friend last night how for some it takes a paradigm shift to be a part of the refuge. for me, i have always been a sh**ty christian. thanks for comming out of the closet, i’m so much less lonely now!

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was such a “good Christian” I ended up in therapy and on multiple psych drugs just to get out of bed. It sure is much scarier to be a Sh***y Christian. 6 years ago, when my “good Christian” world fell apart, I was so mad at God. I followed all 377 of those rules mentioned above and what did I get? I screamed at God–”What more do You want? What more can I DO?” I even was bold enough (or desperate enough) to shout to God “I hate You”. His reply to me………”NOW you are being honest and I can help you. You don’t have to DO anything–just BE”. WOW-major paradigm shift. Now, 6 years later, I am still struggling with what it means to just BE and not DO. I still struggle with not being a Pharisee (doer) but just BEing a “daughter of the King”. THAT’s a scary phrase…..what does it mean to be the “daughter of the King?” I tremble just to think what it would mean to truly believe that–deep down inside. I think I believe it, but I don’t FEEL like a “daughter of the King”–I feel like a Sh***y Christian.

    I just had this really funny idea. I should send a copy of this to my old pastor/church. I wonder what THEY would do with such an idea? But then, I am crazy, so they wouldn’t have to pay too much attention to anything I say, would they? :):)

  6. Tami says:

    It’s interesting that when you were a so-called “good Christian,” I was afraid of you. I knew for a fact that if you knew the truth about me, you would just throw me away— Write me off. That happens to be the very essence of shame.
    I feel at ease when you or Kathy or any of our leadership are in the same room. My life improved exponentially when we burned the measuring stick. Mind you, I still have an internal measuring stick, but it’s going too.
    Jesus would definitely approve your message! :0) Keep grieving the loss of the old life…
    Yup, it sucks. BAD. It’s worth all the peace though.

  7. The Gyrovague says:

    not to tinkle when I sneeze…now there is a lofty goal, although reading it made me almost do it while laughing!!

    Now in all seriousness, “My grace is sufficient for thee”… that is pretty clear. When you are feeling like a “salty” (I know, my own adjective) and you have sinned yet again…God is there. when you sin by comparing yourself to others…God is there.

    Bottom line Karl, God is there, dont sweat the rest of it.

  8. gartenfische says:

    I’m a shi**y Christian, too. We aren’t supposed to have all the answers, right, or why would we need God? Like you, I’ve learned to embrace a lot of uncertainty. I think God might like a bit more letting go and less certitude than we sometimes exhibit. I trust God to lead me where I need to go.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Amen to the shi**y Christians. That’s all I can say! Love ya.

  10. handling olympus says:

    keep being honest, karl. i love the conversations.
    My questions…
    do sh**ty christians like good christians?
    are they allowed to hang out together? would a good christian love a sh**ty christian more than a sh**ty christian would love a good christian? which one would love God more?
    believe me, i’m not asking questions to which i know the answers. honest questions.

    maybe there are two kinds of christians: 1. those that admit they are sh**ty 2. those that won’t admit it

    which one is billy graham? haha try calling BG a sh**ty christian! that’s funny!

  11. Anonymous says:

    I guess if Mother Theresa can admit that she doubted her faith, I can admit as much as well.

    Mark 9:24. “I believe; help me overcome my unbelief.”

    Sign me up on the non-confident list.


  12. Tom Gray says:

    I’ve known Karl for 20 years and he’s always been a sh**ty Christian which is why I’ve loved him for 20 years.

  13. Angela says:

    Wow, this was refreshing to read. I can so relate. Just found this blog, and look forward to reading through older posts, as well. It is incredible to know that God HAS brought others to the same point that we are at… even locally! Helps me to not feel so alone in my sh**tiness… :)

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