Tag Archives: individualism

No, I won’t turn to my neighbor and say “Jesus Loves You.”

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I have a little rebellious streak in me.  It’s somewhat related to a pet peeve of mine.  When I’m in church and the Pastor tells us all to do something as a group, I refuse to do it.  Even if he says, “turn to your neighbor and say ‘Jesus loves you’.”  I won’t do it.  Would my neighbor really believe that Jesus loved him just because the pastor told us all to say it? Or would my neighbor think we were a bunch of brain washed, Kool-ade drinkers if I did that?  Who knows, but it makes me feel creepy, so I don’t do it.

I hate manipulation.  It might be just a slight form of social group behavior, but it feels like manipulation to me.  We’re already in danger of actualizing that accusation in some of our churches, so I don’t think it’s healthy to perpetuate that stereotype with more mandated compliance from the pulpit.  Not only that, but it feels disingenuous.  It feels like a pointless time filler, a feel-good warm fuzzy, a charade of Unity.  I don’t know why Pastors do that.

I hate group participation.  This is another thing that rubs my fur the wrong way.  Maybe it’s just because I’m an American and I was raised in a culture of individualism, but I’ve always marched to the beat of my own drum.  I don’t raise my hands with the group.  I don’t give Jesus a clap offering… unless I want to.  I don’t lift my Bible and recite a pledge before the sermon (I guess that’s kind of popular now).  I don’t like any of that, so I get a little prickly when I’m supposed to turn to my neighbor and repeat some pithy, pasty phrase.  I don’t repeat.  I look at my neighbor and roll my eyes.

I hate repeating.  If a pastor says, “repeat after me” you can bet that I just won’t.  I don’t recall Jesus ever saying, “Repeat after me, ‘Blessed are the compliant ones, for they shall find favor with God.'”  So I don’t repeat, I don’t copy, I don’t chime in, I don’t Heil Hitler.  NO to all of that.

So last week a friend posted something on his Facebook page that made me say, YES!  Now that’s what I’m talking about.  He said:

According to various Facebook posts and emails, I must surmise: I am in spiritual rebellion; I don’t love God; I don’t serve Christ; I don’t care about others. I could prove otherwise by clicking on “forward” or “share” each time I see, “If you love God you’ll forward/share this.”

Apparently I’m in that same sinful state of rebellion because I don’t pass along email prophecies, dooms day predictions, social gospel guilt trips, or anything with the above mentioned condemning tag lines.  Those kinds of stupid things just make us Christians look condemning, immature and shallow.  Click LIKE if you agree with me.  Otherwise you’re never, ever, ever going to be my friend ever again.  “Jesus loves you!”