Unhealthy Pressure In Some Church Communities

There is a very unattractive and likely damaging mindset that lurks in some Christian communities. In the Bible, in First Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31 it says “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” But I can’t help but notice that this has been taken in an oddly strict direction. I direction that is not Biblical, nor is it helpful or productive.

Now I’m not sure how many other families do this, but from my research on the internet and asking around, it seems this happens often. Parents can guilt-trip their kids into doing what they want. My parents practiced this technique often. Which is not a parenting method I‘d recommend. If you steer your kids right, then they will become guilty on their own when appropriate. Now don’t go too hard on my parents next time you see them, us kids turned out mostly fine, besides, going hard on them is my job. But I digress. My parents and I’m sure many other people’s parents did this to them. But I want to talk about an oddly specific trend that I thought was only unique to my family but it turns out it’s not. In the church, we read and talk about how everything we do in life should be done for God, or as Colossians, chapter 3 verse 23 puts it, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human Masters,” Of course I agree with these because we should be hardworking and with all we’ve got. However, you shouldn’t burn yourself out because that’s also not good, but we have other parts of the Bible that address rest and balance. Perhaps in another article, I’ll talk about that.

The point I am building to is that my family and other families in similar Christian (or other religious) communities often use verses like these to guilt one another into saying that whatever you make, must symbolize God in some way. People need to be able to look at the painting you made or the book you wrote and God must be a character present in your work. This is my issue because that’s quite a stretch and it’s a load of crap. I used to try and force pictures of Crosses or Jesus on the cross into my art all the time. Of course, it’s not bad to make content with such things if that’s what you want to do, by all means, go for it. But I didn’t necessarily want to. I felt pressured to do it and so do many other young Christian and maybe even adults. It resulted in content like this (photo near the top of this article)

I made this many years ago because I had yet to do any photography or Photoshop projects with a Christian cross in it. I felt like I wasn’t a good Christian unless I used my skills and time to essentially make Christian propaganda. When I put it so bluntly, I’m sure everyone Christian and non-Christian can see how wrong that is. I hate this picture. It was poorly done, it has no soul, it’s fake. It’s empty and even though the emotion I was going for was hopefully achieved to some level of success. I hate it, no let’s move on.

God encourages us to enjoy life, another thing to be treated with a healthy balance, or we’d all be fat and playing video games (as wonderful as video games are) doing a lot of what God asks us to do is difficult to enjoy. As my pastor once said, “You were not put on this earth to be entertained” as a gamer that struck my soul. Well, actually it was just a bunch of wiggly air that made my eardrums vibrate in such a way that my brain converted it into a meaningful message.

Long story short folks, if you are a Christian, do not feel the need to do such things. You are allowed to create original work without Christian symbolism in it or Christian characters, God wants you to enjoy full creative freedom. I am currently writing a book (which is kind of finished) and I didn’t make my main character a Christian, despite him being the protagonist, it simply wouldn’t have added to the plot, in fact in my case it would have done the plot harm. I suppose you’d have to read it to understand why though.

Lastly, if you are not a Christian and you’re reading this thinking “ha Christians are bad, I knew it.” Don’t get excited. Christians have been making dumb mistakes since Adam and Eve. It’s easy to find flaws in Christian communities which is lucky for me because I like to write about those flaws. The average Christian lifestyle is very far from God’s plan for any of us. It’s why I write articles like this, in hopes, it’ll make at least one person wake up. If you want a good idea as to what a Christian is, don’t look at Christians, read the Bible.

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