I’ve always promised my three oldest kids I wouldn’t write about this until they were out of high school. I’ve wanted to because I think bringing a situation to light is the only way for things to improve.
This morning one of my daughters and I were talking about bullies at school and she casually joked, “We’ll it’s sure not the Christians who get bullied anymore, it’s so the other way around.”
I knew exactly what she was talking. She was never targeted but for more than ten years my three oldest came home from school several times, horrified how other students were being treated because their religious views didn’t line up with those of the big and popular local churches. Kids put notes on lockers that said stuff like “you’ll burn in Hell for all of eternity,” they put lengthy bible verses on cars and lockers followed with “so You Are going to Hell!” It got especially ugly for any student who didn’t condem all gay people or had pro-choice leanings.
Even though lots of the church teens partied just as hard or harder than others, that wasn’t the point. If kids had different beliefes or thoughts they were ostricized, picked on and harrassed. Yeah, for several years we had a big ‘ol gang of hard core “Christian Bullies.” They were vicious, mean and self rightious. And I think it was mostly pretty girls. (I could be wrong there) I heard stories all the time and they broke my heart.
My heart didn’t’ break for thebullied kids, most of them were pretty smart and resiliant so I figured they would be fine. I felt bad for lots of the adults and leaders in the local churches, many I’ve known personally for years and they are lovely, wonderful, selfless Christians. I love them dearly and still do and I would swear, to this day, they have no idea how the message of the church and Christianity is being interruped by their pre-teens and teens.
What these “Christain bullies” didn’t seem to get (because they are young I suppose) is being mean, rude and cruel is a really bad and ineffective way to invite people to church. If you put ugly notes on my locker or whisper names as Iwalk by in the hall, there’s not a chance in Hell I’ll want to be like you, go to your church, or hang with the kids you say are “Christian.” This is the worst form of Missionary work ever.
Self rightious bullies make kids who are raised by parents who didnt’ take them to church believe all Christians are mean and vindictive. As a result they never ever even want to try going to church. That’s the real tragedy in this situation.
The actions of these teens turns kids against Christ, His work and His words.
The conduct of these “Christian Bullies” is so unlike that of Christ it’s almost laughable and a little pathetic.
My youngest son loves loves loves going to Wednesday youth group and church services at Millcreek Baptist Church. the Pastor there doesn’t realize it but I’m a big fan because he’s always so happy and loving and welcoming. I’ve listened to him give a eulogy for a man I loved with a drug ladden past and he was wonderful.
But several years ago a group of 13 years old from that very same church cornered my oldest daughter, who was 12 or 13 and told her our entire family was going to Hell because were Episcopal and the Episcoapal church doesn’t automatically condem gays to Hell.
When my daughter learned I was letting Sandor go to Millcreek on Wednesdays she was furious! She was convinced they would be mean and treat him horribly.
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
Adults, I guess it’s up to us to let our kids know how we expect them to act, how to be Christ-like and how to show God’s love to everyone. Even people who are different.
Persoanlly, I believe Christ wants us to love each other, to be kind, respectful and lead by example. Show me the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven, I need all the help you can give me. But please, don’t beat the snot out of me then expect me to want to walk in your footsteps.