Monday, March 3, 2008

"Practice what you preach"

It is no secret I am not a religious person. Although I would consider myself spiritual, it's not in any sense of an organized religion. This is not a post about religion, but it is a post about the religious aspect of people.

I have run into some very self righteous religious people. People who are ~very~ judgemental without needing a second thought to pass on these judgments to anyone who they deem deserving.

If someone is truly religious, wouldn't they believe in things like forgiveness and not believe in things like being hyper judgemental? Wouldn't someone truly religious seek to be as close to Jesus as possible? To act in ways He would act? Or does the fact 'humans are mere mortals' override acts of kindness and the ability to forgive? Does that fact give a person a pass to act like a jackass and to pass judgement? Or do you think people living in the religious community, especially those "employed" in a church, should live up to higher standards?

I really believe in the "practice what you preach" way of life. I'm not going to give much credit to someone who doesn't do what they are preaching to others. Sure, I don't think anyone is perfect and there is going to be slip-ups. But if you want the respect of your position - act like it. At least that's my opinion.

If I was a personal trainer who never worked out, how much would I inspire someone who was trying to incorporate working out into their daily routine?
If I was a dietitian who ate at mcdonalds 3 times a day, how much would you listen to me?
If I was a hair stylist who never brushed my own hair, would you allow me to style yours?
If I was a church leader who constantly judged others based on my own ideals, would you listen to my advice on kindness of others?

What do you think? Do you believe in the "practice what you preach" approach to life?


tammy said...

I am a horrible example of "Practice what you preach". I am more of a "Please don't use me as your measuring stick" kinda gal.

I have weaknesses and faults but I am very open about them. I struggle day to day to be a good example and everyday I fail.

But I try and that is all that matters in the end. I am not expected to be perfect, only to do the best I can and ask for forgiveness when I fall/fail.

I do, on the other hand, agree with you when it comes to profession. I am not going to go to an accountant that dot D's in school or has a high rate of audits. If I hate the hair on a stylist, I wound use her/him.

Like wise, a minister should be heald to a higher standard. We expect a higher tolerance from police officers, so why not a minister. If went to a church one day and saw the minister out the next day, letting a waitress have it for an incorrect order, I would never go back to that church. Ministers should "Practice what they preach" even more than the average layman.

Oh, and I refuse to take diet advice from a fat doctor or dietician. Call me weird but if they are as big or bigger than me, is their advice really that great?

Christy said...

"If I was a church leader who constantly judged others based on my own ideals, would you listen to my advice on kindness of others"

This is the main reason I have issues with religion. I was raised in a very very strict religion that is very anti-everyone who is not them.

Also my parents beat into us kids (literally) that they might eventually forget but they will never forgive.

I really am trying the practice what you preach. I am making an effort to rebuild bridges I burnt and to right major wrongs.

I know I spent many years being judgemental and I know I one day I will have to account for my actions. However I also know that as a human, if dealing with a rational and sane person, they often will see that I also as human am not perfect and hopefully can reach an amicable resolution.

That being said I know I am not an expert on anything. Therefore when I give advice I always let them know that I am not an expert, simply an outsider with a different perspective and leave it at that.

Jenera said...

I think everyone should pratice what you preach, religious or not. My aunt is like that-she talks all kinds of crap about things we do but she can turn around and do worse things and it's okay.

I don't expect anything of anyone that I wouldn't do myself. If it's good enough for someone else, it's good enough for me.

Oh and I hated having the fat doctor telling ME to lose weight or keep the weight gain at minimum while pregnant. I tried to give her the benefit of the doubt that she was trying but still. She was the same size the entire 9 months I was seeing her!

Io said...

Yeah, I hate people who want to impose morals on you and ignore that whole casting stones thing.
So did something prompt this? I read this and was like -ooo - did somebody try and get in Nancy's face?

Chas said...

I am a very devout Christian, and yes, I believe you should practice what you preach, of course. Many people lose focus on what Jesus actually taught, and many might not truly have a relationship with God. Some people just go through the motions...without the relationship, which is not easy, I don't believe anyone can have the willpower to truly walk the walk. I hate that an entire group of people is judged by the actions of a few (when compared to the size of the whole group). Either way, if a person truly believes that Jesus is the savior then it shouldn't matter if there are a bunch of hypocrites out there calling themselves Christians; it should only make them want to work harder to set a good example for those people and for all of those out there that need to find God.

Denise said...

Here here!!

Spill the beans, sister. What prompted this post?

Sarah R said...

I think as long as a person has good morals, he/she should not be looked down upon. I don't attend church (anymore...was raised Catholic but left organized religion because I didn't agree with a lot of the church's beliefs they tried to beat into the churchgoers).

Some of the most immoral people I have met in life happen to be really religious. These are the people I think of when I hear "practice what you preach".

Sometimes the greediest people get into vans with Jesus fish on them.

(By the way, I'm not bashing relgion. I think each person is entitled to his or her own beliefs. I basically stopped going to my church because the priest LITERALLY told us which candidate to vote for in the '04 election. Sorry! I can make up my own mind. Thank you.)

joyous melancholy said...

This is why I stopped going to church. I didn't stop being a Christian, I just don't want to be associated with the ones who are loud and obnoxious enough to make us all look bad.

You are abso-effing-lutely right. Jesus is all about love and acceptance. Period. He doesn't say "Love thy neighbor as you love thyself. Oh, and don't be gay." (Or any of the other myriad of things that people like to get all riled up about.) He just says Love. His only act of anger that is even recorded in the Bible was towards the sanctimonious, self-righteous, holier-than-thou a-holes who ran the church.

Times don't seem to change much sometimes, do they? Those who are "supposed" to be the most righteous are the most hateful. Those who have the most to be resentful about seem to be the most accepting and loving.

I'll take your brand of spirituality over most versions of organized religion any day.

HopingDangerously said...

i totally agree that church leaders should be held to a higher standard--and God agrees. Rest assured, those "professionally religious" people will have to answer to him, too!

In my experience (personal and with others), I've noticed that the more people understand they need grace, understanding and forgiveness, the more willing to give it they are.

Some jerks, religious or not, are just convinced they do no--or very little, or at least much less than the next guy--wrong and therefore feel that they can judge all they want!

But they're wrong, and this aspect of religion is certainly not Godly, but human.

Knucks said...

You're post is very interesting to me being that I'm a minister's daughter. I've always had gripes with the expectations set upon minister's kids. If they do something bad and a non-minister's kid does something bad, who's going to be the talk of the town? Anyway. . .

My philosophy is that we're all human and all have the same temptations - we all have faults, even ministers. I do think self-righteousness is an easy trap to fall into and people should learn to be humble and accepting. It really boils down to the Golden Rule: treat others as you'd have other's treat you.

By the way, best of luck with this IVF cycle!

kjames106 said...

Hey! Luker from Lurkerdom. I'm sorry you have had bad experiences with "regligious" people. Please know that it is the human people and not what Christianity is about. I absolutely believe in "Practice What You Preach," but I also believe we are all human and may not always go by that guideline. This is when people give Christians a bad name. I hope you have not been burned by a Christian. This Christian would never do that to you or anyone. To be honest, I have yours, along with many other infertility blogs bookmarked for the mere purpose of praying over your words and blog to help you battle with infertility. I had a very small morsel of it and it effected me in a such a way that I feel like I need to pray for those who are hurting from this. So, just to let you know, I am praying for you, for the miracle from God. That is what a true Practice What You Preach Christian does. I hope I didn't offend you and I hope you know that I completely understand what you are saying! Enjoy your day!

Barb said...

Absolutely! The problem is; most people who act like that are so blind to their own faults that they think they ARE practicing what they preach. suckiness.

Poltzie said...

Ok, this is my take on it. I think that you cannot take the bible word for word (or we would be stoning our children and such). This means that it needs to be interpreted. This is often left up to whoever is the head of that particular church.

I've found that this means that you are not truly worshiping the bible, you are worshiping your minister/preist's version of the bible.

This can be wonderful and I've known many ministers who preached to free will and wanted people to decide for themselves.

It can also be horrible and I've seen many ministers preach their own nasty take on things (ie. God does not love gay people etc).

I've found that the more strict the interpretation is the more judjemental the congregation is. It's like they honestly believe everything their church leader tells them meaning that someone not following this person's word is a sinner/evil.

It drives me insaine when people "assure me" about anything to do with religion. Unless you really know (ie. have been to heaven, or hell etc) then how can you be so sure. It's one thing to believe it for yourself but don't "assure" me that anything you are saying is true and therefor is the only way it is!

Just my thoughts...

Amanda said...

The words that popped to mind were:

Amen Sister!

Meredith said...

I do agree that preachers and ministers should be held to a higher standard since that is thier job. Like Ted Haggard for example - I really don't think he should have been saying homosexually is wrong, even if he believes that, and then and do homosexual acts. However we are also all human and all make mistakes. Worse than his acts was the fact that he tried to cover up his mistakes. You wouldn't fire a CPA for just one mistake. Especially if they realized their mistake, learned from it and tried to correct it.

I am a Christian, but I am also a sinner. I will be the first to say yes I judge people, tell lies, and countelss other sins. Do I know this is wrong to do? yes. But I am a sinner. Am I striving to do less and less of that, yes. But because of my human nature its impossible to overcome. Jesus tells us to love one another, and while I fail at this more than I would like to admit, thats what I try to do to. I know at times I am not always practicing what I am preaching, but I am trying.

Jen said...

I definitely agree with practicing what you preach. But I have to say that what gets to me more than anything when it comes to religion is close-mindedness. The self-righteousness of assuming that my beliefs supercedes everbody else's beliefs just because they are mine, really irritates me.

Kaci said...

I think this is one reason I've struggled to find a church. Whatever your feelings about religion, what can be wrong with "treat others the way you would want to be treated?" I think part of that definitely means you should practice what you preach. I think it's something we all struggle with at times, but if we don't TRY to do it on a daily basis, then it becomes a farce.

It's just like the personal trainer example! (Although I have to share, I once heard you should never have your brows waxed by the person at the salon with the best should find out who did theirs!)

Anonymous said...

As an Atheist, I'm all too familiar with judgemental Christians (or, excuse me, religious people). They automatically assume I have no morals or I worship satan...or I'm boiling chicken feet. Whatever.

I think many people, including myself could use the practice what you preach (or believe) approach to life. After all, I'm not living my life in order to get through some kind of imaginary pearl gate and sit on clouds when I die. I live for today and tomorrow...and hope to attribute to human kind while I have the chance.

Great blog btw!

nancy said...

Hey anonymous - I wish I knew who you were because I would love to contact you! You said the exact thing I say ~"I'm not living my life in order to get through some kind of imaginary pearl gate and sit on clouds when I die." although I say it in the "I'm not living my life in order to ~not~ go to hell". Yes, I live for today. I live for tomorrow. I'm good to people because I think we simply SHOULD. Just because I'm not a "christian" (or any other religion) doesn't mean that I don't live like they do (well, except that whole missing out on sleeping in on sundays).