The truth exposes. It places things out in the open. From there, we can respond and move on. The opposite almost always grows into something uncontrollable, as our quest to hide the truth leads to piles of increasingly larger lies piled on top of lies that all threaten to destroy our house of cards and expose our hypocrisy.
In all situations, consider how you would want it to happen if the roles were reversed. That’s what Jesus told us to do. I promise even the slightest consideration of this premise in our daily lives will radically transform our attitudes and actions toward the world around us. It will force us to acknowledge their humanity, their feelings, their pain. And it will force us to acknowledge our role in causing it. Maybe then we’ll actually be able to engage the world the way Jesus did.
Jesus sought these people out. In some cases they came to him, in others they merely cried out to him, and in several he literally pursued them. The savior of the world, God incarnate, went out of his way to affirm the humanity of these people. His empathy for them reflected his knowledge that they bear the image of God. His actions were those of someone pursuing a lost loved one.
When religious liberty becomes an effort by Christians to treat other people poorly, refusing service or care, those Christians actually abandon the core premise of their professed faith. Jesus called us to love our neighbors. His entire life is a demonstration of including anyone who comes, with no exception, meeting their needs, and treating them with genuine love and support.
It might cost us our jobs, our friends, or something else to stand up against a man who has the support of the majority of white evangelical Christians. But perhaps that’s the “vessel” God is using Trump to determine: who proclaims the name of Christ actually bowing to the god of political power, and who will trust God, defy the “king’s” command and choose to give up their life (or whatever else) rather than serve or worship any god except their own God
We can’t afford to be vague. We can’t claim on one hand that the Bible applies to us today and have application points at the end of each sermon while on the other hand try to close our eyes and ignore its impact on the single most powerful secular institution in our nation and lives.
As a follower of Christ, I’m torn. These buildings bring glory
to God and play foundational roles in the faith of so many people, both
attendees and visitors. They’ve stood for decades, centuries, and, in some cases, millennia, and we
should do everything we can to ensure they stand for more so future generations
can experience them. At the same time, what kind of impact could $1 billion dollars have to help the poor, hungry, and sick of Paris and beyond? And locally, what could $18 million do for the homeless of Pierce County? Do we really have our priorities in order when we are so willing to pledge huge sums of money to keep old buildings that we claim represent love for the least of these rather than spending that money to, well, love the least of these?
A couple issues with this. First, among all the different sects and communities of self-proclaimed (because, as I mentioned above, a lot of them clearly aren’t real) Christians, a lot of these focuses aren’t universally desired. Second – and most importantly – I actually don’t find any support for almost any of these in the words and deeds of Jesus. And if the “Christ” in our term “Christian” is supposed to be Jesus, shouldn’t His words and deeds warrant at least some consideration?
Leaders will be held to a higher standard. And for good reason, because people trust them to provide guidance. Jesus and James warned us of this fact. And even though I’m in no way a formal church leader, that truth terrifies me. Because I know people do look to me to represent Christ, I recognize that I am a leader. And I have been complicit for far too long with a bastardization of Christ’s love.
Our world is full of double-speak terms, where we politicize our words to make them sound better than they are. So I think it’s important to really consider our vocabulary from time to time and evaluate if it lines up with the meaning it seems to claim. I did that a little bit earlier this …