Saturday, May 13, 2006

Disclaimer

My disclaimer:

Warning: I am not perfect. Though I don't drink or do drugs, sex is my number one vice. I can manipulate the truth to satisfy my own purposes. I'm stubborn as all outdoors. I'm a very negative person. I get angry. Often. I can be downright mean and inconsiderate to people; even more so to those who I feel have been mean and inconsiderate to me. I pout when things don't go the way I want them to. I can get very cynical about some of the Church's practices. I'm a procrastinator. I'm impatient. I'm very opinionated (although, I suspect that you've figured that out by now). I have zero tolerance for ignorance; especially from those who I think should know better. I like "secular" music (but, as I've said before, this isn't always a bad thing). I spend a lot of time venting. Words like "damn" and "shit" 'slip' out of my mouth way too often. Disassociation is my weapon of choice for handling people with whom I'm upset. I can be a real smart ass sometimes (see, there I go with the cussing again). Sometimes I pass right by homeless people. I hate Black Entertainment Television and I make it point to remind people -- whether they care or not. I don't always accept responsibility for my actions. I get very easily annoyed. On top of everything else, I've been known to carry deep-seated resentment.

The truth is: I can't begin to tell you how many times I've fallen short or how often I miss the mark. Sometimes, I just down-right suck at being a Christian. Nevertheless:

...I belong to God.

- ACL

22 "Insiders" spoke their mind. Join in...:

saved_sinner said...

Outstanding post, my brother.

I remember something I once heard someone say: "It's too hard to be a follower of Christ, so I settle for being a Christian". For people to get to the point where not only do they say "Well, I'm not perfect", but then SHOW you how imperfect they are, that's a true testimony!

You continue to amaze me!

Anonymous said...

I suck at being a Christian too.

Good stuff.

Diane said...

Andre,
I am honored that you trust me with your heart, and that is what you are doing here. The Bible commands us to confess our faults one to another, but we have gotten away from that today, because....
#1. You are being honest and truthful, which is more than most of us are doing, And,
#2. We tend to be hypocrites, gossipers and judge one another when we do confess our faults to each other. With ourselves, and with God. We ignore. We lie. We deny. And yet, God loves us enough to take us just as we are, with the intention of molding us into Christ's image, daily, as much as we'll let Him. We have to be careful not to get into that "mote and beam" thing, too.

I think most of the "Step" programs start with Realizing You Have A Problem. In this case, the problem is SIN. If we don't realize it, confess it, ask forgiveness of it, and repent of it, we will stay in that sin and never grow any further.

Your comments section is not NEARLY expansive enough to list my sins, but I will confess that I lie occasionally, I cuss too much, I don't study my Bible nearly enough, I gossip occasionally, I get angry and impatient with people much too often, I lack faith, I whine and murmur, and on and on and on.

But guess what? God still loves me, and as His children, we are commanded to love one another as Jesus loved us. Uh, that's to the point of a sacrificial death, there, folks, like it or not.

Bottom line, we are all on the Potter's Wheel, unfinished works, imperfect, but being perfected daily as much as we'll allow Him to work in us.

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this post, Andre, and not to get mushy or anything, but I have to confess, I have come to respect and love you as a Christian brother. So, I love you, and I am looking forward to the next installment of "What Andre's Thinking About Now", LOL. :-)

Diane

joanne said...

Andre,

Although I'm not a blogger myself, I've visited HUNDREDS of sites. Of the MANY posts that I've read, I can honestly say that this was THE BEST AND MOST INSPIRING POST I HAVE EVER READ.

It takes a true person of God to reveal his utter nakedness to the rest of the world, realizing that he's no where near perfect but is nevertheless one of God's people.

Too often, Christians get grossly mistaken as people who are perfect little beings who don't have any problems, hardships, or sins of their own to battle; when, in fact, it's the exact opposite. Christians are not perfect. We are only made perfect through grace.

Thank you, sincerely, for this post!

Anonymous said...

Geez, Andre... where are you getting this stuff from?

I couldn't agree with you more about how Christians come up short all the time, but I'm surprised to hear anyone actually SAY it!

Nice post

green eyed girl on planet earth said...

Hey there Greeneyed man
Are you sure this is not a disclaimer but maybe a personal add LOL catch more with HONEY I say !
Just came back into town today[three weeks gone !!hope you didnt forget who I am !!!!!} and was catching up on my fav blogs guess that means yours is one of them , You take care now , hope your well and your keeping up with your vices {evil grin 8-}, take care
Greeneyes

thehc said...

Andre,
This time I disagree. As you know, I know you personally. From day one, I found you to be more intelligent, open-minded, and easy to get along with than 90% of the people I know. And we've disagreed on a lot of points. Being a good person, or Christian, isn't about being perfect. It's about recognizing your mistakes and flaws and trying to correct them. Instead of justifing or excusing them. Your on the right track, by trying to be better.

Andre said...

@ saved_sinner: My imperfections are things that I seem to carry with me everyday. Though I may be able to hide them from people (well, some of them anyway), I'm completely naked in God's eyes. Since He sees all, and knows all, I may as well come clean. Thanks for your comments!

@ anonymous: To date I haven't met a Christian who hasn't sucked at it. Thanks!

@ Diane: For me to be the talkative type who always something to say, I can never seem to find the words to describe how great you are. You always find a way to challenge me in a way that I can't always seem to do for myself.

I thought it was interesting that you likened our Christian growth to Step program. In a way, it is. Except, I don't think it's limited to just 12 steps. First, admit that I'm a sinner; then seek God's forgiveness; repent; screw up; be forgiven; screw up again; be forgiven again; screw up yet again; be forgiven yet again; and so on...

I feel like I can repost this particular entry EVERY DAY of my life.

A man at my church sings a song that I think sums it all up: "[There's] Something about God's Grace"

Thank you for continuously blessing me.

@ joanne: Thank you so much for the compliment (you've got a brotha blushing over here). I wouldn't exactly call this the best post ever (that's a pretty big hyperbole), but thank you -- nonetheless -- for the kind words.

I think you're right: Christians are usually presumed to be perfect beings with no flaws whatsoever. We only make it worse by ACTING like we're perfect. But, you put it best when you said that it's only through UNEARNED, UNDESERVED grace that we are made perfect. As Ephesians 2:8 reminds us: "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God".

Thanks for your comments!

@ Anonymous: You've said it TOO! Thanks!

@ Green-eyed: Yo! You're back! Let the good times roll once again! I hope you plan on writing a post about your trip. There's much to talk about. I'll be looking out...

@ HC: Thanks for the comments, Hipster. I think that, if you look at your comments deeper, you'll find that you actually DO agree with me on this one. The whole point of this post was for me to identify how I badly I miss the mark so that I can ultimately become a better person.

Face it, HC...the more we disagree with other, the more we develop likenesses! :)

Whew! I'm partied out! I'm getting back to work!

Praying for your Prodigal said...

Gotta love GRACE!!!!!

Diane

KC said...

In the words of Donnie Mcclurkin, "A saint is just a sinner who fell down, and got up".

This post reminds me that, even when we do wrong, God allows us the opportunity to get up and walk away from our shortcomings.

Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct.... Acknowledging that you are a Christian now a day means pretty much nothing. It's just another label for some. I think that the "Church" is beginning to get a bad reputation in that most people associate "Church" as just another place for hypocrites to hang out; and because of this the label or title of being a Christian doesn't hold the weight that it use to. I prefer the label "Follower of Christ". I decided to remove that "fish" off of my car because I want to be identified as a Follwer of Christ because of my life's walk and not because of the emblem on my car... So the next time someone asks me if I am a Christian, I'll let him or her know that I am an "FOC"--A Follower of Christ....

Andre said...

@ prodigal: Indeed! There are lyrics to a great song we sing at church: "Grace saved me when my verdict read guilty." There's nothin' like it!

@ KC: I love that song. It makes me think of myself all the time; and how I keep on falling.

@ anonymous: I appreciate your revelation. While I understand where you're coming from (redefining yourself as an "FOC" instead of a Christian), I think that it's important to avoid semantic differentials when referring to your Christianity; especially with unbelievers and babies in Christ. I understand the temptation to disassociate yourself with things that don't accurately represent you. In fact, I've made the same statement that you have regarding being a Christian vs. a follower of Christ. When "good" Christians feel like they're being misrepresented by "bad" Christians, they fix their problem by declaring "Oh well, I'm not a "Christian" anyway. I'm a follower...etc..." But, since "Christian" is the term that is most recognized by the mainstream, it's important for you not to completely write it off. Besides that, whether represented by the "good" or the "bad" Christians, you're still a Christian yourself.

That said, why don't you try bringing the CHRIST back to Christianity through your efforts? If the public perception about Christians is that they're all uptight, arrogant, and intolerant; prove them wrong by being the opposite of that. I hope that makes sense...

Thanks for your comments.

Anonymous said...

I don't get that. Can you explain?

Andre said...

A'ight, let me try to explain this:

America has a reputation of being international bullies, religiously driven nutcases, and ignorant to nationalities other than our own. None of these attributes apply to most of us; so we go around saying: "If that's what America is, then I'm not American!" But, as long as your passport says that you're a citizen of America, then you are a citizen of America...whether America is good or bad.

So, to recall my point, rather than disassociating with the mindless, oppressive, ignorant, and intolerant side of Christianity, we should work more to showcase the loving, accepting, and forgiving side of being a Christian.

Make sense?

thehc said...

I stand corrected!

cynthia said...

Hi Andre,

I agree with Joanne. This was definitely one of the best posts you've written to date.

Nice work in showing God's grace even as when we don't deserve it!

mom_cat said...

Beautiful post

Diane said...

Andre,
I got this Maya Angelou poem in an email from my niece today. I don't believe in coincidence, do you? I think she was prompted by the Holy Spirit to send it. Let me know what you think about it.

Diane


I AM A CHRISTIAN ~ By Maya Angelou

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not shouting "I'm clean livin."
I'm whispering "I was lost,"
Now I'm found and forgiven.

When I say..."I am a Christian"
I don't speak of this with pride.
I'm confessing that I stumble
and need CHRIST to be my guide.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not trying to be strong.
I'm professing that I'm weak
and need HIS strength to carry on.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not bragging of success.
I'm admitting I have failed
and need God to clean my mess.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not claiming to be perfect,
My flaws are far too visible
but, God believes I am worth it.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I still feel the sting of pain,
I have my share of heartaches
So I call upon His name.

When I say... "I am a Christian"
I'm not holier than thou,
I'm just a simple sinner
who received God's good grace, somehow.

Andre said...

@ HC: As much as you try to fight it, we're birds of a feather. By the way, that was a really interesting post you wrote about the midterm elections.

@ cynthia: Thanks for the compliment. Thanks even more for recognizing that we don't deserve what God does for us. Too many people get so caught up in themselves, that they lose sight of that.

@ mom_cat: Thanks!

@ Diane: Isn't it freaky how the Holy Spirit moves? I have this very poem on my office door. I kept it around to remind me never to lose sight of the fact that I'm NO BETTER than any one else with whom I come in contact.

Coincidence? Unless that's a nickname for the Holy Spirit, I don't believe in it!

cynthia said...

I hate the unreasonable expectations that the world places on believers to ALWAYS do right.

None of us are perfect!

Andre said...

@ cynthia: My late pastor used to always say that Christians aren't sinless. We just sin less.

Thanks for your comments!

thehc said...

Thanks for both compliments!