It just goes without saying that the building wasn't the problem. Locked up inside our space we found solace and silence and security. The moment I found out that the superintendents of our building were fundamentalist Christians, I knew there would be trouble. The inalienable rights such creatures grant themselves always interacts poorly with those who do not tow their line. Instead of following a pathway and living by example, more extreme forms of Christianity (and almost any other world religion) tend to use Jesus (or any other icon) as an excuse rather than a catalyst. People who condemn others, figuratively crucifying men for their faults, will then go ahead and do the very same thing they accuse others of (most times even worse). The blood of a deity will apparently wash those sins away but this only manages to leave greater room for greater folly. Some new crack can fracture the window. Although these terms do not apply to all Christians, the ones that I have had contact with over the years have convinced me of nothing but fear and lack of trust. My restoration is my concern. Self-righteousness is not a positive character trait. Rather than being humble, they presumed. They presumed salvation. They presumed truth. They presumed.
You can measure the validity of a person's religious or spiritual conviction not by words or ideas but through their actions. It's not about what scriptures you know or how deep your meditation. Those who are truly enlightened regarding God should have no religion. Their focus should be on expressing the agape love they serve through acts, not semantics. Faith can only take you so far. At some point you're actually going to have to start living as the 'child of God' that you profess to be. It is your "fruits" that will define you. Not once in half a decade interacting with the managers of the Alexandrian was I convinced that they adhered to the beatitudes, let alone any part of their professed belief structure. Yes, every Sunday morning they shuffled out the door to church but they might as well have been going to brunch for all the good that it did. In all my years of soul searching, I have never experienced more artificial Christians than the husband and wife team who were paid to take care of the building. It started slowly, then it started to grow. One thing led to another and the place where we lived turned from comfortable and safe to decayed, abandoned and very much ignored. The quaint city living that we signed on for turned into an experiment in the ridiculous.
"Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's." (Matthew 22:21b, KJV)
If you're going to practice a religion, you have to play by the very same rules as everyone else. You make a commitment and are supposed to apply yourself accordingly. If you follow the Bible, for example, you don't get to pick and choose what scriptures to follow and what scriptures to ignore. Claiming to be a disciple of the Christ means adherence to the entire work, not selectively literalizing whatever works for you. Your belief is meant to change you, allowing you to better spread the Gospel. It is not just the Faith you practice through words that matters. It is your response to your experience that suggests your definition. You are not only bound to spiritual law, you are bound to mortal law as well. Jesus is very clear that we must not only do our duty to God but we must follow the laws of the land and government as well. "Giving unto Caesar" means that you pay your taxes. You appropriately respect the authorities. If you have a job, then you do it. If you have something against a "brother" you make it a priority to resolve it. To be a Christian entails a long list of dos and don'ts. Should you claim to be saved and live a 'Christ-like' life, then every single line of scripture becomes binding. It's just like scribbling your signature on a dotted line. You can't just say you're a follower of Jesus unless you actually follow Him.
People spout off about the God they serve all the time. Everyone thinks so differently so, of course, everyone else is usually wrong. We end up believing that we have been let into an exclusive club that secretly knows all the answers. This hyperbole has existed since before the library of sacred texts that mankind worships in place of the one true God. If I have been given the answers through Holy inspiration, then there is no way I can agree with yours. It's only my way or the highway. I would be constipated if I stopped to feed on the lack of professionalism and negligence exhibited by the superintendents of our former home. It was immediate but took time to become visible. It really started with the small things. Little by little, this was cast aside or that duty wasn't respected. Ever so slowly the place fell apart. It's one thing to skip a few things but if you continue on in the same manner, eventually there will be nothing left to ignore. No true Christian (or any other true religious person) would sit idly by and not do the work that they were paid to do. I have always found it strange that followers of this deity or that God always seem to ignore their own offenses. I guess not so well-meaning disciples of faith are not accountable like the rest of us.
Nothing gets done but somehow the cheque for the work you've done always gets cashed. Taking payment for services rendered implies you did the work. If you take the money well knowing you didn't meet the standards of the contract you entered into, then you are no better than a thief. Actually, you are a thief. For the entire tenancy, we witnessed the lies, the disregard and the deadliest sins of all. Rather than loving your neighbour, giving to your fellow man and attempting to live a Jesus centred life, sloth and greed and all sorts of vile hubris came with each encounter we had with the management. If either one of them had not at some point told me they were Christian, I would never have known, let alone believed it. You can't steal from people and still claim to be a servant of the Lord. Being born again means personal restoration, becoming a new being in Christ. In no way does that mean you get to do whatever the hell you want with no repercussion and no responsibility to others.
“You shall not steal." (Exodus 20:15, NIV)
As much as I hate to admit it, I am grateful for the experiences I had with the superintendents of our former apartment building. They have been a constant reminder that not everyone is always as they claim to be. Not every person of God is actually from god just as not every Christian is from Christ. I suppose that is why Jesus asked us to follow him (Matthew 16:24), not the Pharisees or John the Baptist. For me, these two pseudo-disciples are the epitome of what is wrong with Christianity. Granted, they do not represent every person in their belief system. In my personal experience, this is what a modern Christian really is. There are more of them than not. It goes to show that every single person, regardless of the idol they worship, comes into your life with a purpose in doing so. It may be grand or simple but there is always a reason in everything this life throws at you. Sometimes the light you're looking for turns out to be shadow. We can still learn from the dark. It can teach us what we should not be doing. If you pay attention, even the most offensive person has something to offer in the way of example.
"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:
The old has gone, the new is here!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)
Six months since our move and the company that owns the Alexandrian finally fired the pair in question. The details are unspecific, even the friends who still live there could grant little in terms of information. They have been removed just the same. I am unsure if it was karma that caused the downfall. I am unsure exactly why it took over seven years as deadbeat superintendents for justice to be served. I just assume they blame the devil rather than stopping to look at what they did to finally cross the dotted line. I could laugh inside at their folly. I could rest in their defeat. Unfortunately, such matters always make God look bad. Imitation is the most sincere part of flattery.