30 October, 2006

I have become convinced that we have missed the boat entirely! We have. While we are busy debating, people are busy suffering.

I was driving to work and I heard that song by Everlast, “What it’s Like” and it was on the verse about the girl walking into the abortion clinic… The line goes, “…Then she heads for the clinic and she gets some static walking through the door. They call her a killer, and they call her a sinner, and they call her a whore. God forbid you ever had to walk a mile in her shoes 'cause then you really might know what it's like to have to choose…” And this line really hit me and I actually really agree with him. It might be because I found out recently that a close friend had an abortion, but it might also be because how does standing outside of an abortion clinic – calling those girls whores show them Christ? Answer: it doesn’t! What woman, walking into those places ever heard herself being called a whore and said, “You’re right, now tell me about Jesus.”? Those girls don’t need condemnation – they need love. They need someone to give them a ride home, hand them a bowl of soup, come back the next week and sit down and listen! They don’t need judgment ("If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her." John 8:7) they need grace. Remember grace? That small concept that allowed you – in all of your muck and crap and sin - to become His Beloved? Remember that? Oh, wait, I forgot – grace is just for you. You didn’t do X therefore grace applies to do – but not to them who do X everyday. How could I have been so forgetful?


Or poverty! I know you’re all heard the stats, read the lines, “A dollar a day could save Africa in a year…” But have you ever stopped to think about it? The other day a friend and I watched Bono’s speech at the Prayer Breakfast. I had read the text but never actually seen it delivered. And hearing Bono speak, all I could think is – “We’ve sooo missed the point.” I’m reading Rich Christians in the Age of Hunger and the difference (to me) between Bono and Sider is grace – Bono gets it – Sider avoids it. Sider just makes me feel like a bad person because I buy gum at Target. Bono at least makes me feel that I can do that and still help the poor. Bono realizes (and Sider never gets to this) that you can be well off and love the poor. You can have a house on the hill and still dwell in the slums. You can be stuck in America and have your heart lost in India. You can do that – and it doesn’t make you a sinner. You can spend money on clothing and it doesn’t make you a bad person. But you still had responsibility! You can’t ignore the poor – because (and both say this) that is denying God’s heart. God bleeds for the poor, he aches for them, he identifies with them, and we’ll be judged on our response to them (I really do believe that). And too many churches speak of the poor like they’re a metaphor and not reality! Too many Christians choose to think that poverty is an OT concept, and Jesus spoke about the woman giving all she had because of her piety and humility – not because of the reality of her life and her faith! I hate to say this, but the church today (especially in 1st world countries) is more Pharisaical than we want to admit. We don’t take seriously the lesson of the rich young ruler. We want to think that he was an awful guy, but we are soooo much better. Yet, how many of our churches don’t support missionaries? When is the last time your pastor did a sermon on money, or tithing, or caring about someone other than yourself?

Too harsh? Maybe, but it needs to be said.

We have missed the mark, and now our church is sinking. We won’t take an explicit stand on anything. We won’t say, “This is wrong” and stick to it because we’re too scared of hurting someone’s feelings or pushing people away. Well, do you want to know what – read the gospels, Jesus was a pretty black and white dude – there’s not a lot of gray there. And the major difference between how Jesus took a stand and how we do is that Jesus was walking with those he disagreed with. Jesus had dinner with the prostitutes – he didn’t stand outside their homes and call them whores.

Get the idea?

It breaks my heart and makes me mad at the same time.

And yet, how do you change it?

By living like we ought to. By not being wishy-washy and by taking a stand, and by loving others while saying this is not what He had planned for you. It doesn’t have to be an either/or – like so many believe. They can be done together!!!

Don’t call me ideal, or ignorant, for I am neither. I am sick of the lazy, ill-mannered, scared, passive, ridiculous American church (and people in it) that stands for nothing and yet condemns everything!


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