Mahatma Gandhi one of the most well known spiritual leaders of the past century is attributed with the following thought as it pertains to Christianity. “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are are so unlike your Christ.”
Debate could be had regarding the legitimacy of whether this quote was verbatim from Gandhi or simply a sentiment he conveyed within a conversation to those who ultimately ended up attributing it to him afterwards. But that debate is not the purpose of brining this quote to mention here. Rather this quote surfaces the idea behind the frustration Gandhi like so many others have had with Christianity. Many people who are agnostic, callous, skeptical about Jesus may take great comfort in the notion Gandhi put forward in the above concept. Because lets face it Christians stink at being Christian. However this idea itself is a very appropriate starting point for a very different discussion at this time of year.
One of the truths the bible heralds regarding the story of Jesus we so often read this time of year is Mary his mother conceived him without sexual-intercourse. How in the world does that happen? Thankfully Gandhi so adequately explained it for us. Christ isn’t like Christians. He was the God-man. Fully God. Fully Man. No if, and’s or buts around it. Both his beginning in the womb of a Virgin and his resurrection over death declare exactly what Gandhi struggled with. Christ is different from Christians.
This does not give Christians a license for acting in rebellion but rather a starting point for a deeper understanding of Jesus. If we can’t believe the virgin birth with at least some sort of conviction can we believe the resurrection? Can we believe God exists at all? My purpose is not to be-little anyone or shame anyone but rather call us into a greater understanding of what it is we are saying we believe this time of the year. The bible mentions many times folks who struggle between unbelief and belief. In fact Mark 9 tells an account of a boys father who was struggling with unbelief in specificity. Jesus healed his son after the father admitted his struggle.
Within the day of technology, information, google and the iPhone we are a self educated people. We can do our own research and come to our own conclusions about things. Through quick “research” we can find the various reasons why so many people and clergy for that matter dismiss the virgin birth for “good” reasons.
“Its a story that’s been borrowed from other ancient cultures documents on origins of deities.” “Its barely mentioned in the NT other than the two synoptic writers Matthew and Luke.” “Plus its plain crazy!”
What will you believe this Christmas? Believe what Gandhi said. Christ is different than Christians!
If you’re looking to do some more research check out these links: