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Sprinkled With Sugar

By Andrea ~

I remember walking into a church sanctuary on Christmas eve, 2008. I was eighteen at the time and had been going to church all my life but this service really got my attention in a new way. I had been been to plenty of services where they warned of Jesus bringing punishment to the earth and basically just being really pissed at everyone and everything. He seemed pretty cranky back then.;) This church though was different. They talked about Jesus and how he was going to come back end the world,but end it one big happy ending. They said it wasnt really a big scary return full of punishment but that he was coming to ''restore'' all things.

Whether or not you bought into it, you had to admit it was intriguing. This was a new church that my family had joined,so I came with them, and it seemed be everything a person could want. They had no mention of a severe God but only one who wanted to be your friend, your best friend,and save you from all troubles. Of course it was still christianity though so they couldnt totally change the game without making themselves out to be obvious fakes.They still had communion but they only talked about it in a good light.They said that Jesus had opened his ''kingdom of love'' to the whole world and this simply showed his sacrifice to get us there.

I was already a believer, since I had been raised in it, and I wanted to know more about this. There was so much pressure to be "sinless"' in the other churches I grew up in. Here they seemed to be in love with god who was actually a likeable being so I gave it a try. I joined the youth group and for a while it was great. They said Jesus loved us and we were the ones who would do anything to help spread his love to the world. God did everything..from caring about where we went to college, or who we dated, to sending us out to save the world.God was like a rockstar or something to them and for a while they had me convinced they were right.

After a year of that something strange happened. The bitter atmosphere I felt when I was in a "harsh" church seemed to be coming back. It didn't seem to make sence but the more I loved this ''loving'' God, the worse my life got.They told me that all this God wanted was to fix and love the world but when I went out into the world I didnt see that.It got harder and harder to look at people and wonder, "Why doesn't Jesus just help them out even a little bit? Why is he putting the burden of fixing these problems on me?" And the worst to wonder: "Why wont he help me?" They may have only preached about a lovely perfect kingdom that he was bringing, but when he failed to bring it, things turned dark for me and also for the church.

Since the church was teaching us to be "in love" with this God they led me to be more serious about the commands of the bible. Strangely I found that I followed the commands better when I did it out of love rather than fear. Probably because it seemed so much more worth it if it was for the person you loved.I may have been doing it out of "love" but honestly it was ruining my life. I got more and more lost between reality and a fantasy world. I would go to church and then have an extremely hard time going back out to the ''regulor'' world.In the church I was doing the "right" thing, but when I was out with the rest of the world I was lost in some strange world where everyone could lead me away from my God. That was how I had learned to veiw things -- the kingdom of heaven will be your real home and you dont really belong with anyone who isnt a "member" yet. You could be friendly and try to help them all you wanted, but at the core of it. You could never really relate to them because you were living for such a high cause and they were just average people who really had nothing to offer except sinful activity that could poisen your relationship with your "best friend." It was almost like no one was really alive but the people in the church. Like the rest of the world was zombies.

In a real relationship you dont want to do anything to hurt someone you love. And you may not want to be around people who will tempt you to do something that could put a strain on the relationship.So naturally I found myself learning to do the same thing with God. But I think thats where the huge problems start with "nice" Christianity. If you love that God you are more likely to do what he says and what he says in the bible is, for the most part, not a good thing. I soon found out that it doesnt matter if I love this God or follow him, because I'm terrified of him. I'm going to end up crashing in the same way. When I loved him he still told me to spread the gospel, just like when I was afraid of him, and I was willing to spend money on that to a dangerous level.When I loved him he still told me that sex was a sin, just like before, and I was still afraid of dating anyone. He still told me that the world was going to end and that this wasn't my real home. And I still found myself falling into a depression, because who wants to live in a world thats not your "real home?"

This church may have ditched the verses about hell and tried to offer a loving and helpful god but at the end of the day it was still same God. It doesnt seem to matter if you preach it from the point of veiw of love or fear. I think it still offers and empty and fake world that will only hurt you.Because as long as you stick with christianity at least some of that message is still going to be there to live for another world.

So what do you think? Am I right? Is rotten fruit still rotten fruit no matter how much sugar you try to sprinkle on it?