It’s been a while. There is so much that goes on when pastoring a church. I love what I do, but there are so many things that pull for your time, especially when for the time being you are the church office staff. We are working hard and praying hard and doing life with the people we are called to serve. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but it does make my writing, for pleasure or commentary drop off. Having said that there are times when I read something in my quiet time, or when I see something that is happening in the wider church world and I feel a need to get out my thoughts on the subject.
My thoughts regarding the church unitedstatesal…(see how I made up a new word just for my blog…man have I missed that) has lost it’s way, especially the evangelical establishment. Instead of following Jesus, many follow a denomination, an individual, or a political party. It’s hard to admit that Jesus has been taken out of the equation, His teaching reduced to suggestions or antiquated in some respects. I don’t understand some things, and on occasion I find myself shaking my head when I read some of the things that people in the church are doing and how they are interacting with people that need to have a relationship with Jesus, I cringe.
Recently the mayor of Houston decided to subpoena the sermons of several pastors that disagreed with the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance. While I agree that she or the city had no business or right to do so there is a wider principle involved in this thing for me…
Here are two headlines from Christian publications…
The Pastors Strike Back (CBN), Houston’s Sermon Scandal:Is This Enough For You Ms. Mayor (The Christian Post)
Then Mike Huckabee in what I can only describe as a childish oh yeah moment called for Pastors to Flood the mayors office with Sermons.
I don’t get this. If we are supposed to be more like Christ we should attempt to react like him, and in all my study of the life of Christ, I can’t see him doing what is being done in this instance. Looking at Jesus interaction with people who were lost, or hurting, or in need of an encounter with God was always marked by compassion, grace, mercy and more importantly forgiveness. Don’t get me wrong, Jesus never once said that sin was okay, it’s obvious that it’s not, but he never turned a person into their sin, that’s a church thing, it was a church thing in Jesus day, it’s still a church thing in ours. It’s always been interesting to me that when Jesus reprimands or rebukes people publicly, when he cleans house as it were, it’s always attached to religious leaders, and religious people Jesus harshest words are reserved for the people who claim to have a relationship with God, the ones who claim to speak for God, the ones that were teaching how to have a relationship with God.
What would happen if people who claimed to be Christians would focus more on being like Christ and less on their rights guaranteed under the constitution. What would happen if instead of waging verbal ideological war against the federal, state, or local government, they decided to be more concerned with the least of these? What would have happened if the guys that were asked for the sermons simply sent them over? What kind of testimony could that have been. I didn’t say that the pastors should stop preaching the Gospel, or what they feel God has laid on their heart. I didn’t say that they should roll over and hand the state their pulpit, but think this through. If instead of reacting in the predictable way that the person who sent the subpoenas had to know would happen, what if they had just said sure thing, then when the sermons were delivered what if they had requested a meeting with the mayor and her staff, not to argue, not to prove a point, not to point fingers but to ask them if they could pray for them for anything, if they could help out in some way, if they could be a part of any initiatives that the city had, that didn’t go against their principles, morals, or beliefs as Christians? What if they and countless Christian media outlets had reacted in such a way that would make the people involved take notice of a group that reacted in a completely different way than what they have always done when it comes to dealing with people who are outside the club?
I am becoming increasingly convinced that a better way of dealing with people “out there” is to treat them better than we treat the people “in here.” Instead of complaining all the time about how unfair it is, we were excited about the fact that we have a relationship with the creator of all life, and that that relationship is larger, and the freedom that comes from that relationship is greater than the freedom we so desperately feel we have to fight for?