Those So-Called Christians

Renae Brabham


I saw these post in social media recently: "We need to go back to the good ole days when we were one nation under God." “The decline of America started when they took prayer out of the schools." “We need to put prayer back in school.”


You can't put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It's not going back—and maybe it never should have been there. I can almost hear the audible gasp and under the breath jab, "You are going straight to hell!"  


Before you get your skivvies in a wad, think about it. I usually scroll by or ignore these blasé comments and lame social-media arguments. Yes, lame. Prayer in school. Let’s see, I was seven years old, pledging allegiance to my flag “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”  Hmmm, public school was segregated and there were no black people in my "Dick and Jane" reading books at that time. How indivisible was that? 


Maybe prayer in school was divisive in the confines of the classroom. Maybe prayer needed to be in the home, in the hearts of the community. I remember a little Jewish girl in my second- or third-grade class who didn't participate and was ostracized for it. I also remember the first person to tell me they were an atheist and having pre-formed beliefs that they were going to get struck by lighting. Literally, I jumped back. Why? Obviously the world around me didn't teach acceptance. I would be equally uncomfortable if I were asked to (or not) pray to a totem pole if that were (or were not) my religion. 


My religion is Christianity, so I speak for myself here and not collectively for anyone or any group.  


I cringe when I see the ills of society blamed on taking prayer out of the schools. It's highly possible that school was the only place it was going on since the argument is that everything went to hell in a handbasket when it was gone. Maybe prayer figuratively needs to leave the confines of walls, get some air? What if the last thing we see on the jumbotron at church read, "Jesus has left the building"?  


The absence of  prayer in school is not the root issue. I would just want prayer to mean something if it was there, for everyone. Not a mantra of mixed signals. If its value to man was as important as its source, it would have never been removed in the first place. Acts 5:39. 


Claiming feeble injustice with a rant for insignificant causes discredits the voice we could have collectively for real issues and empowers others to call me a “so-called Christian.”


I think back to an afternoon 10 years ago. We lived in the country. Not really the outback, just far enough out that we never ever got a solicitor or a trick-or-treater. Our then four-year-old granddaughter was walking to the kitchen when someone knocked loudly on the front door. It scared her to pieces and she fell to the floor. Don answered the door while I scooped Alana up. After a minute or two, Don shut the door and consoled Alana, who was still clinging to me, by telling her the visitors were people from the church. When she was able to speak, she blurted out "so-called Christians!"   


I am one of those so-called Christians. And every single time I give someone an opportunity to judge my actions, I open the door for such remarks. I will get it either way, mind you, like the poor so-called Christians that knocked on my door that day. But, that doesn't mean I need to provide the ammo. 


I am neither the example for Christianity nor the doormat. What I am is a struggler. I wake up every day and try. Some days, I pass, and others I fail miserably (my record is two minutes after waking). I drink, I cuss, and sometimes, my faith is as volatile as the weather. And if I had to pack my baggage of wrongdoings to board the Titantic, it would have sank in harbor instead of at sea. 


Saying this, I am no more a Christian for reciting a prayer or singing "Onward, Christian Soldiers" in elementary school than I would be for putting a fish sticker on my car. 
My actions, depending on the situation, are what speaks of Him in me. Be it soft and gentle or righteous for His name's sake and not my cause's sake. 
Oh, and about those good ole days, I go back once again to the lyrics of Billy Joel: "The good ole days weren't always good, but the bad weren't always bad."