You Big Meanie!

December 19, 2007

I don’t think that Christians are mean. There is no good reason for the stereotype. The reason we think that Christians are mean as a whole is because the duplicitous preacher/priest/monk as a literary device goes all the way back the the middle ages (probably earlier, we do have false prophets in the Old Testament, after all). There is no better way to embody hypocrisy and cruelty than to take someone who is supposed to represent a kind and loving God and then making them a hypocrite or cruel.

Certainly there are plenty of mean Christians, but there are plenty of mean Buddhists, too, I am sure. People come in all types and flavors and some of those are pretty sour. I don’t believe that Christians are exempt from this truth. In fact, the only way to exempt Christians from this would be to engage in some sort of wordplay. “Christianity implies kindness and humility and therefore the self-professed Christian who is proud and mean is not an actual Christian.” That is well and good if all you are interested in is a party wherein the righteous hang out with the really righteous. But we aren’t.

The Christian party is all access. Therefore, you do not actually have to be nice to participate. You just have to want to be better. Expecting someone to go from jerk to shining beacon of love and graciousness overnight is a bit absurd. People do change under Christ’s influence, but unusually it isn’t the sort of change that is immediately evident.

Our duty to the mean Christian is to love them. If we would be true Christians, we will do it because we ourselves want to. For, while they may be unpleasant, annoying, self-righteous, reactionary, self-important, prideful, unsympathetic, ugly, and smell funny, they are our brothers and sisters in Christ. If we take that notion seriously, these mean Christians are our mean Christians. If a child is unpleasant, you don’t abandon it. You teach it, love it, and give it a chance to grow. And not one of us can claim membership among the nice or the perfect Christians. That’s a club far too exclusive for the likes of mortals.

Remember your duty to the mean Christian, for that Christian is you.



  1. Since Mormons are Christians, do I have to love mean Mormons too. This may be too difficult for me.

  2. Dear VSoM,

    I love your new look. Can you edit the template so the name of the user who authored the post appears in the header?



  3. Chris, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em 🙂

    Mormons think Christians are mean because we think they lack empathy for us.

    There’s some doctrinally mean stuff about Mormons, too. How cheerfully we sing, “The wicked who fight against Zion will surely be smitten at last!”

  4. Ann, I can’t agree with you more…

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