You know the weekly scene, on a typical reality show, where a contestant dishes sotto voce in front of a camera, directly to the audience?
That's how I feel right now. I'm talking to you up close and personal. I'm going to say something not very nice; not very lay-ministerial; bitchy and mean, really. Just between you and me.
Christians drive me crazy. Specifically the self-identified born-agains; the Bible-thumpers; the people whose mission is to hector me into abandoning my "dead" tradition, murmuring the Sinners' Prayer and "making a decision for Jesus."
Once upon a time in my life I was what I would call a skeptipagan. An agnostipagan. I never really signed on the dotted line of neopaganism, but I did find something evocative about certain aspects of it -- the rhythms of the pagan year; the ritual; the tat. And the pagan folk I met tended to be nice people -- a little flaky, sometimes, but nice. I look back at this phase in my spiritual formation with a mixture of humor and embarrassment. But I've got to tell you: If anyone could drive me out of Christianity and back into neopaganism, it would be the born-agains. I would frankly rather spend a decade on a desert island with a coven of neopagans than two minutes in an elevator with some arrogant, self-righteous, preachy fellow Christian nattering regurgitated prooftexts and pious platitudes at me. I find nothing particularly compelling or appealing or referential to the Gospel in this behavior; if anything, it makes me wonder how I sound when I'm around non-religious people: Dear God, please dope-slap me if I ever sound or act like that.
The great irony here is that the most obnoxious of these folks have a handy self-fulfilling martyrdom complex...so that if it's ever suggested to them that perhaps their words and behaviors, instead of attracting others to Christianity, actually drive people away, their response is likely to be along the lines of, "Praise the Lord! I am being persecuted for my faith! Jesus said this would happen to me! Hallelujah!"
Anyway...I just needed to get this off my chest. Just between you and me. Shhhh.