Jeremiah Short, Feature Columnist
It’s rare that I’m obligated to speak on a topic as a sports writer and Christian. With Arian Foster recently admitting in an ESPN The Magazine piece that he’s an Atheist, I’m in that unique position.
“Everybody always says the same thing: You have to have faith,” Foster said. “That’s my whole thing: Faith isn’t enough for me. For people who are struggling with that, they’re nervous about telling their families or afraid of the backlash … man, don’t be afraid to be you. I was, for years.”
While I do feel Foster, the Houston Texans’ four-time Pro Bowl running back, is engaging in hyperbole with the “afraid of backlash” comment, his admission does provide an opportunity for a discussion on the changing face of religion in America.
According to a Pew, 78.4 percent of Americans identified as some form of Christian in 2007. That number has decreased to 70.6 percent. It’s no surprise that those who identify as unaffiliated with any religion have increased from 16.1 percent to 22.8 in the same time span (Only 3.1 percent identify as Atheist).
Why is there such a shift? Millennials. The LGBT movement. Rap Music.
None of the above.
It’s disenchantment with the formal version of religion. I’m a Christian and I’ve become disenchanted with the religion or the views espoused by those that identify as Christians myself.
I’ve been personally discouraged when I see Christians get excited for Photo Ops Mission Trips. But they won’t give a homeless person a dollar, and worse yet, they demean that same person and tell them they need to get a job, although there are numerous scriptures commanding us to help the poor and homeless–including this one.
“If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you”–Leviticus 25:35-36.
Sadly, the modern-day Christian rarely lives by these scriptures. They pick and choose the ones that accentuate their strengths. Now, there are Christians who embody what we are commanded to do. But the ones who don’t embody it make the rest look bad…the same way the cops killing unarmed black boys make the rest of the cops look bad.
One of the more stinging “graphs” in the Foster piece is when he speaks on his college coach, Phillip Fulmer, taking the team to church as a team-building exercise. But he wouldn’t take his players (Majority Black), to a black church.
It’s like he’s telling them: I like that you can pass, run, catch, block and hit, but I don’t want to be around your people when I’m worshipping.
It’s often opined that the most segregated place in America is the Church on Sunday morning. And it’s true. Some of it is natural. Most people go to Church in their community. And most people live around those who look like them.
The rest is by choice. And that’s the problem.
We are commanded to love our neighbor as thyself, not the neighbor who looks like thyself.
Multi-cultural pastors like Bryan Lorritts are working to change that mind set. I’m afraid it may be too late, though.
We all serve the same God. But it’s hard to tell sometimes.
How can a Black Christian believe that White Christians believe in the same God when they aren’t indignant when black women and men are getting hunted like dogs by the police?
How can a Hispanic Christian believe that they serve the same God when their fellow Christians want their family sent back home?
As a Christian, I feel that we’ve lost sight of why people wanted to become Christians following Jesus’ death and ascension to Heaven. Christianity was a loving religion that welcomed everyone. It didn’t matter what your race, culture, sexuality or gender was. It mattered that you loved God.
When Christianity was founded, it wasn’t supposed to be a social club to attain status in your community, it was meant as avenue for those who follow Christ to fellowship and love on each other.
If Jesus was to come back today, he would be disappointed and disgusted at what his people have become.
Why wouldn’t he be disgusted? He was homeless, an immigrant and loved people in spite of their differences.
Modern-day Christians are essentially saying: Jesus we follow you but we hate everything about you.
Let that sink in for a minute. The man we follow would probably be shunned and denigrated if he came back to share his message. The people who follow him wouldn’t let him in their country. If he got in the country, they wouldn’t give him a dollar. If he tried to go to the Church where they worship him, they might not even speak to him because he doesn’t look like them.
Arian Foster may not believe in God.
But I’m starting to wonder if most modern-day Christians believe in him, too.
Catch me on the “SportsKrib” on Wednesday’s 8-9 Central and Thursday’s 8-10 Central. Follow me on social media @DaRealJShort or check out my facebook page JShortJournalist or my Google Plus page J.Short- Journalist or follow me on Snapchat:JeremiahShort – See more at: http://www.locker-report.com/2015/06/25/what-is-racism/#sthash.c1mypASt.dpuf – See more at: http://www.locker-report.com/2015/07/07/the-myth-of-d-wades-greatness/#sthash.y3fw41dN.dpuf – See more at: http://www.locker-report.com/2015/07/11/perspective-needed-in-johnson-case/#sthash.JJcnVQrl.dpuf – See more at: http://www.locker-report.com/2015/07/13/deandre-jordan-yes-hes-worth-the-drama/#sthash.YCDxqgwJ.dpuf