I use my Google Reader to keep up with blogs like Christian Nightmares and Stuff Fundies Like. Sometimes I wonder why. At times it’s like watching someone make fun of your family for the way they celebrate a birthday or what they do at Christmas. At other times the sites are spot on about twisted theology and terribly misguided attempts at Christian faithfulness. Either way, I keep reading and watching because I always seem to come around to the fact that there are so many things wrong with the way people act in the name of God. And as long as there are people out there doing crazy things in God’s name, stable minded believers should pay attention and work toward a more helpful presentation of the Christian faith.
I understand why people can be put off by the Christian church. I understand why people leave church. Some of the meanest people you will ever meet are there. Local churches often attract needy, unstable, and/or mean people. When these mean people use the Bible to excuse their behavior even the heartiest of believers can find it difficult to come back next week. Abuse is a misunderstood concept in some church circles. To be clear, some people wouldn’t recognize abuse in their church if it walked up and slapped them across the face. But to write off the local church, or the Christian faith, due to the failures or abuses of a minority is also a mistake. We don’t give up on law enforcement because there are bad cops, and we don’t refuse medical treatment because we’ve met a quack. The value of the real thing should not be judged by a bad representative.
I have no axe to grind with the authors of CN or SFL. The posts on these sites can serve the Christian church well by reminding everyone to remain vigilant against all forms of sin, especially when it comes with a local church endorsement. My hope is that someday the authors of sites like these will need to spend hours and hours trying to find new examples. Right now it’s just too easy.