As a proudly ordained member of the United Church of Christ, I've heard the jokes about my denomination. I've heard that we are "Unitarians Considering Christ," which I find offensive both on behalf of the UCC and the UUA. I've heard other cheeky comments along the way at which I usually sneer in disgust. And yet, I'm aware that my understanding of Jesus is different than my fellow Christians. I'm very, very aware of this.
At times, I find this very difficult. There's a organization in our city that serves the disempowered and oppressed of our city with meals, job training, after school programs and other such good things. Of course, I want to know the whole story about what it means when the Volunteer Coordinator uses the word Christian. I admit it. I judged. I assumed that we have a huge difference of opinion on who Jesus is. Unfortunately, I was right. I read the Statement of Faith (which in itself should have been a red flag) and became instantly repulsed. This inspired the classic red-blue Christian question: how do we be in service of Jesus Christ together if we don't believe the same things about what it means to serve our Lord and Savior? Sure. I've done this. I did it in Appalachia and Nicaragua. I've done it in soup kitchens and even in the church that I serve now. However, it doesn't feel good. Something doesn't feel right because I can't talk about my faith without it being wrong.
This came soaring back to me when I went to the Advent Conspiracy page to buy some water for Christmas. I went to site that this organization celebrates and mistakenly read their Statement of Faith. And now, I have no interest in buying water through their best efforts. I know it will do good things. I know their hearts are in the right place, but I can't escape the fact the risk that someone might use Jesus with malice. I've seen it happen before. I've heard that the poor will actually always be with us. It always makes me furious. It's not what I understand about the living water that Jesus offers each of us. And so now, I feel awful. Sigh.
To top it all off, I can't find a dreidel on any of my favorite fair trade sites (or any other) for my Jewish goddaughter. This makes me suspicious of the Christian presence in the fair trade movement. And see, I feel awful for that too. Ugh!