For Christ’s Sake
WARNING: this post deals with issues of Christian faith. If you’re not interested in my opinion on the matter, you might want to skip this one.
This Post is brought to you by the bumper sticker: Jesus Called. He wants His religion back.
Learned yesterday that Nate Phelps was one of the speakers at a recent Atheists Convention. If you don’t know, Nate is the son of that paragon of Christian compassion, Fred Phelps, Pastor of Westboro Baptist Church.
If the story is accurate, Nate left home at the stroke of midnight on his 18th birthday to exercise his Free Moral Agency and declare his non-belief.*
My first thought? Good for him.
I mean seriously, anyone with the common sense of a houseplant would reject that notion of God and Christianity. Wouldn’t you?
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices–mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law–justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.” – Matt. 23:23
I love this sign. I think it’s great. In fact, I want to buy lunch for whoever thought of it.
This post is an appeal to all decent, thoughtful, people out there.
Fact is, there are stupid folks on every continent, in every walk of life, in every group. I know the contradiction is more shocking in church, but God loves everyone at whatever stage of life and maturity they’re at. Literally anyone is welcome. I’ll let Him separate the wheat and the chaff Himself.
As a Christian, I’m painfully aware of contrasts between Jesus and his representatives, currently and historically. (I include my flawed-self in that number, btw.) I became a full-time missionary in Nova Scotia just as the Jim Baker/Jim Swaggart scandals broke. Think that effected people’s perception of an American missionary knocking on their door? I’ve lost count over the last 26 years of the number of vapid emotional song services I’ve endured, followed by sermons so stunningly ignorant their obtuseness was only matched by their irrelevance.
Confession: There was a time I was so fed up, almost choking on my frustration, I nearly registered the domain name “Stupid Christians.com” (just checked – already registered.)
What kept me from doing that, and from washing my hands of my entire American evangelical experience, was I couldn’t dismiss Jesus. He is too large, too gracious, too radical to ignore.Twenty-six years ago, He made himself real to me and forgave me. I’ve been trying to honor that ever since.
Read the Gospels yourself and you’ll discover Jesus is nothing like Rev. Phelps, or (insert whatever poor example kicked your own faith in the stomach.) Stealing from C.S.Lewis here: Jesus is not safe, but He is good.
You see, trying to restore our relationship with our Creator, attempting to repair the brokenness in our own lives – let alone make a difference in our world – on our own, is like trying to swim across the Pacific. You may get much farther than many of your peers, but you’ll never get anywhere near Japan. And the thing is, even an idiot will cling to a life preserver; it’s the good, decent folk who think they don’t need one and try to make it on their own. The distance between our flawed, foibled humanity and God’s perfection is even greater than an ocean, and Jesus Christ came and died and rose again to bridge that gap, however much you need.
Listen, you’re honest enough look around, look inside and know what I’m talking about. So I’m begging you; be reconciled to God. Ask Jesus to forgive your flaws, defiance, self-sabotage, then to reveal Himself to you personally. Believe me, God wants you. His Kingdom needs you. Don’t let Heaven be populated by stupid people. Please.
For Christ’s Sake.
*I understand N.P. has become a vocal advocate on Child-Abuse and GLBT issues since then.
Figured this might happen, so I need to clarify… This isn’t pro/anti GLBT at all. I’m trying to transcend single-issues here.
It’s very clear in the Old and New Testament that sexual immorality of any stripe is a symptom of our brokenness and sin nature, and needs to be repented of. (turned away from) I don’t see any rankings for particular sinful conduct – we’re all sinners who need a savior. We can be forgiven, regardless.
Disagreement doesn’t equate to hatred. I’m going to look for the human being in people, regardless of their choices.