I am constantly amazed at what I read from friends and acquaintances across the internet, equally troublesome is what I read and hear professional christians say or write or tweet.
It’s no secret if you know me, or read my blog that I have some pretty serious issues with the christianity of my youth. (By the way at 40 I put the christianity of my youth between the ages of 16 and 26.) Anyway, growing up in that tradition was easy in some ways, I am right and you are wrong, is a simpler faith to have and makes it easy to pass judgement on people of power who fell, easy to say those rules aply to others but I’m different. It’s equally easy for people like me on the other side now to lump everyone from that particular branch of christianity into one big boat full of un-caring, un-loving bigots. Neither side is right.
Still as usually happens on both sides of this fight the idiots are the most vocal. I figured I may as well add my voice to the mix, and possibly come out as a much more moderate person than some would think.
There is a disturbing trend in the church today, the need to advertise how welcoming they are. This makes no sense to me. A church having to tell people that they are welcome no matter what is sad! Of course there is a reason for this predicament especially in the churches and christianity I grew up in, it is sadly still in those churches today, the idea that the only way people can really belong in the congregation is if they dress, talk, look like and believe like they should, the kicker being who gets to choose what they should means.
Jesus didn’t opperate that way, at least not that I can tell.
The real issue, as I see it, is who gets to make the rules. Who dictates what sin is, what being a Christ Follower looks like? I think most of the people in authority in churches would be shocked, angry, bitter and resentful of who Jesus would hang out with, who he would let in the doors, who he would say made it, and who he would say see ya later too.
They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!”
This coupled with other pictures of Jesus eating with sinners, calling the least likely to be his closest disciples and friends, and a rather constant rebuke of the religious leaders of the day, points to a very different type of christianity than is evidenced in any number of churches on any given Sunday, or Saturday, or whatever day that church chooses to worship.
Why does the evangelical church take it upon themselves to bring the sinner to the crowd. To tell people how to act, to want them to dress, talk, and act a certain way to prove they are worthy of Jesus, love, grace, and mercy?
If Jesus was constantly questioning the motives of the religious leaders of his day, what makes us think he would pat us on the back and say hey, you’re doing great, keep being exclusive, keep judging others, keep telling people they have to be more like you before they can have a prayer of being anything like me.
I don’t know, I guess I want a church that is open and inclusive of all, because if I read it right its His desire that all come to repentance, that all have a relationship with him. My job as I see it is to tell people the truth of God’s word and let him do the rest.
Jesus didn’t tell the leaders they were wrong, he didn’t change the deffinition of sin, he simply loved and wept and then gave all…