My hesitation in writing this particular article comes from the thought that my descriptions here will make people think ‘oh you think you’re so special don’t you?’. Well, if I really had that fear, I probably wouldn’t have written so many articles about my experiences on the autism spectrum. This article is a little different on the other hand. For those of you who don’t particularly like bluntness, maybe this article isn’t for you (but seriously, please stay).
As I stated in my last article, I am prone to make mistakes, just like everyone else, which leads me to my second point. I am far, far, far away from being a ‘perfect’ Christian. Heck, I don’t even like calling myself a Christian most of the time. I like terms like ‘Christ-follower’ or ‘disciple’, because by referring to myself as a Christian, most people would just categorize me with the people who are really just Christian in name only, and unfortunately there are a lot of people like that out there. To make things easier in this article though, I’ll just say ‘Christian’.
Simply put, I’m not the perfect Christian. Like I said, I make mistakes every day. The struggle a lot of younger and even older Christians have is trying to fit in with the rest of the community, sinless and without blemishes. They feel pressured to follow along with the traditions Christianity has set in motion. As I stated in an article about two years ago, I have always grown up feeling like I’m mostly on the fence. I’ll go through phases where I’m reading the Bible and praying every day, but I’ll also go through phases where I’m not doing any of that at all, and the ‘drought’ phases typically end up lasting longer than the Bible-reading ones. This isn’t to say that I don’t believe God, because I do. This also isn’t to say that I don’t value what the Bible says, because I do. I just don’t approach all of it ‘traditionally’. I normally don’t feel connected with God at church on Sunday mornings, but instead tend to find a more meaningful connection when I’m alone and trying to focus on God (at the times when I’m actually doing that that is). Even when I’m going through my phases where I’m reading the Bible every day and walking around with that ‘Christian swag’, it feels forced and I normally step back feeling unsatisfied after about a week or two later.
The truth is, I don’t like mainstream Christian culture. I don’t want to be a part of it. I had a realization that I was different when it came to my point of view of Christian culture after watching the trailer for the movie God’s Not Dead for the first time and absolutely hating what I saw. I honestly thought after a while that something must be wrong with me if that’s how I felt towards a movie made by Christians. The initial thought that would be expected from people like me is ‘hooray, they’re talking about God and Creation’. Instead, the way it came across to me is ‘Christians are perfect and everyone else has it wrong’. Regardless of our religious status, we are riddled with mistakes, unworthy of God’s love, but that’s what makes God’s love for us with no exceptions all the more beautiful and unprecedented. If people who believe in God are truly perfect, then I wouldn’t be feeling imperfect every day. It’s important to feel positive about ourselves, but we’re not going to so much as even at least feel good about ourselves every second of the day, no matter how hard we may try.
Knowing we’re prone to making mistakes and knowing we’re not always going to feel the best about ourselves are not easy truths to swallow, but I believe there’s always a little bit of good to be found even in the hard truths. As I briefly mentioned in my previous article, nothing will get done until we’re able to identify and recognize the problems first. We have to be willing to admit that we have a problem and that we’re the only ones that can truly fix it. I’m not perfect, and I hate to break it to other Christians, but nobody else is perfect either. People may strive to be, but fighting to become perfect is actually one of the ways that we end up making mistakes in the first place, in some cases some of the biggest ones. So identify the problem, recognize it and admit to having it, and then take the necessary steps to fix it, but also accept the fact that you will make a mistake again, whether it’s the same one or something entirely different.
Announcement: Hey guys! Thank you for reading this post and for possibly reading any of my previous ones. My ‘Living With Autism’ series is undoubtedly my most successful one, with the most responses both public and private. I would really like to take what I’ve written and use other means to get those articles out to a wider audience. That being said, over the next few weeks, I will be recording the ‘Living With Autism’ series as a brand new video essay series for YouTube. As that progresses, I will update you guys on where you can find the series and when it’ll come out. Stay tuned!