One would think by now that I would have become desensitized to the ranting’s and ravings of the Christian glitterati…At this point I have heard enough of it, so have you. With each passing day another “important” famous Christian person is taking a stand for something.
A couple of weeks ago…at least I think it’s a couple of weeks ago, when the whole bathroom thing took over the world of right wing, conservative, values voters, I of course chimed in. I talked about the fact that as a dad of three daughters we have been making bathrooms unisex or nonsex or non gender or whatever you want to call it off and on for the last 13 years. This past Thursday I took Amberly to her 8th grade trip to Six Flags, and also had Jo with me as Thursday is Daddy day. I was again wishing for not just a family restroom but a unisex bathroom with multiple stalls that I could use for the two of us. That incident almost prompted me to make the church restrooms genderless, until I realized that they pretty much already are. If one is in use people just naturally go to the other, they aren’t that big after all, (the bathrooms I mean.) Anyway as I’ve already written about this idiotic issue I am going to leave that situation here.
What I want to talk about is an increasingly disturbing trend among “Christian” leaders who for whatever reason seem to have the ear of media, be it conservatives who seem to give them a pass as being an oracle from above, or the liberal media who seems to go out of it’s way to find anyone claiming to follow Christ that also happens to help them beat on the Christian faith as antiquated and unenlightened. See how I did that, no one is exempt from intolerance. The problem is Christians should not even attempt tolerance, Jesus was never worried about tolerance, he was worried about this four letter word called love that we put conditions on but that He just handed out willy nilly…anyway there I go again, talking about how Christians should go above and beyond the whole tolerance thing and….
Ah. Stupid adult add…anyway back to it.
The thing that bothers me more and more is the ease with which people that have a platform spew and the apathy of people who don’t agree with them in the world of Christianity to just let them do so.
I have such a conflict every year as I pray for and plan for ministry at the church. I love what Samaritans Purse does with it’s shoe box campaign for kids. I love how you can actively involve families in not just throwing money at a problem but in being involved in picking out gifts to give to kids who get more excited over a pack of crayons than my kids do over whatever it is they are asking for. I just can’t support Franklin Graham mainly because he keeps opening his mouth. Same goes for his lesser known (at least to me) sister who again finds it more important to fight about a bathroom and yell at people that the end is near instead of trying to actively engage the people she claims she wants to see “saved.”
The most recent and again it’s this stupid bathroom issue is Dobson. Someone that I haven’t really followed for…wow just way way longer than I can even remember seems to find it more important to brand our president a Tyrant and to condone people shooting people for using a bathroom.
All of these individuals spend an inordinate amount of time being outraged and debating bathrooms, meanwhile The State of Homelessness in America report for 2015 tells us that on a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness. As of 2012 there were 20.9 million victims of human trafficking world wide, with 1.5 million of them happening in the US. According to the World Alzheimer’s Report 2015, 9.9 million new cases of dementia would be diagnosed with the number of people living with dementia to rise for 46million to 131.5 million by 2050. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis Reporting System shows 415,129 children in foster care on September 30 of 2014. According to The Sentencing Project there are 2.2million people in prison or jail in the US, incarceration has increased by more than 500% in the last 40 years. What’s my point, well aside from the obvious parallels that can be made to Matthew 25, and what we should be worried about. There is something deeper at work here, at lest to me there is.
Evangelical Christians like to point to Romans 12:2 when the decide to rant and rave about the direction the country is going. In case you were wondering what it says, I’ll clue you in.
This verse, at least in my estimation, is so misused it’s tragic. Conventional wisdom for the average evangelical that follows this thought process states that the way we don’t conform to this world is to take a ranting loud stand about things that bother us, make us uncomfortable, or demand we see people through they eyes of Christ instead of our own. It’s easy to stop at do not be conformed to this world…because then we have a cause, we can be the hero to other like minded individuals, in this case “Christians” and the heel to the rest of the world, read martyr to again, other people who think like we do. But what if we really worked on the rest of what this verse says…what if we worked on allowing God to transform our minds, what if we were willing to actually work harder at seeing people as individuals instead of as enemies.
What would happen if we went from verse 2 to verse 3, keeping in mind that there is more than just refusing to conform. That part of conforming to the world is fighting the way the world fights. What if Christian leaders would take the rest of the verse and allow it to penetrate their lives and stop telling people they have the answer to what it means to have a renewed mind, because if you follow their logic they feel that the only way my mind or yours can be renewed is if we swallow what they say. If we stand up with them for whatever cause they have decided to fight. That the only way my mind and your mind can be renewed is if we fight the bathroom wars, or the cake wars, or the tolerance wars, or the creationist wars. I wonder if we would all work at allowing Jesus to renew our minds if things could be different. I wonder if these and the countless other celebrechristians would be willing to read Romans 12:3 as written specifically to them…
Romans 12:3 (HCSB)
3 For by the grace given to me, I tell everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he should think. Instead, think sensibly, as God has distributed a measure of faith to each one.
Whenever one of these people gets up and starts speaking for the rest of people who claim to follow Christ I find myself dropping my head in defeat. Because it’s not about any of the things that they have decided are important.
If we would spend more time doing what Jesus talks about in Matthew 25 (notice how I keep referencing that set of verses but I don’t pop them up here…why not just read it for yourself…) If we would worry more about loving God and loving people…, there would be no time fight these stupid fights and take these stupid stands because my world would begin to be changed by the love and grace, and mercy and justice of Jesus, renewed and changed not into what I think it should be, but what He designed it to be.