EPISODE 052: Leaving A-Holiness Behind: Christian Piatt

Author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist Christian Piatt and I sit down to diagnose how big of an asshole I am.

Let he who admits he’s an asshole cast the first stone.
— JESUS

Ok, Jesus didn't say that.  But he did understand that change began at the acknowledgment of the problem.  If Christian's are assholes, the only hope of that changing is the admittance of our own ass-holiness.

One of the reasons that I, Zac, have renounced my Christianity is because it made me into a person that I didn't like.  The more authority I was given in the church, the more of a douche I found myself becoming.  The more biblical knowledge I had, the more I had to correct others that didn't have it.  The deeper I understood theology, the more arrogant I became, and the more distanced I felt from my humanity and experiencing the gritty, real, and beautiful humanity of others.

Christianity lead me to see myself as set apart, special, and different from others.  It put me at odds with those that were different from me, and in my own mind made them the enemy, and me the hero.  These disgusting, divisive, and arrogant beliefs became a heavy burden to bare.  The more caged I felt from experiencing my humanity; I just wanted to be myself and drop this disgusting, divisive burden.

What I saw in Jesus was a way to be more human and free. What I saw in Christianity was a way to be less human and caged.
— Zac Gandara

We spend time in this episode discussing these things and more.

ON THIS EPISODE

  • Christian's story and relationship tot he Christian Church.
  • Frustrations with Churchianity. 
  • His wife being a pastor at First Christian Church in downtown Portland Oregon.
  • The realities of the Christian market.
  • The sanitizing effects of the Christian entertainment racket.
  • All these rules that have to be made to hem in musicians, artists, comedians.
  • The Christian The Christian pre-masticated pablum
  • Do we hold hope for Christianity to change?  Does the institutional church matter?
  • Will it matter in the future?
  • Zac, the disappointed idealist.
  • Cynics often care the most.
  • The ridiculous psychology and uselessness of Facebook.

FROM CHRISTIAN PIATT

My name is Christian, and I'm an asshole. There was a time when I was pretty sure all Christians were assholes, and based on the God they kept telling me about, I was pretty sure God might be kind of an asshole too. 

It seemed to me that Christianity was about getting saved so you wouldn't be a jerk anymore. But the problem was, a lot of the most obnoxious, intolerant, hateful people I knew called themselves Christians. Then I heard a sermon by my friend which started with, "I'm a Christian because I'm an asshole." She didn't try to shrug it off; she embraced it. Not proudly, but fully and honestly. She needed what she found in Jesus every day, all over again because she was an asshole. 
Why aren't more Christians like this? 

Churches tend to feed peoples' sense of arrogance, superiority, and entitlement by telling them they're right and everyone else is wrong. As if their faith was some kind of one-and-done spiritual plastic surgery. We're all screwed up at some basic level; the real problem comes when we think we're above the brokenness. And why bother, when we live in a world that venerates assholes to near sainthood status (see: Donald Trump, Jersey Shore, Charlie Sheen, The Bachelorette...need I go on?)? 

I've heard tons of stories of redemption, but most of them end up bothering me more than encouraging me. Generally, it's because all of the bad stuff they talk about in their lives is always referred to in the past tense, and once they're "saved" (still not sure what that means), everything is sunshine and rainbows.

But if this was the case, and if becoming a Christian really cured us once and for all of being assholes, why do so many people in the world see us as judgmental, opportunistic, narrow-minded hypocrites?


Christian is a contributor to the Huffington Post; a blogger for Patheos; a contributor to Sojourners; and a contributor to Red Letter Christians.

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MUSIC FROM THIS EPISODE


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Zac Gandara

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