(Some) “believe that it is only great power that holds evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I have found that it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of love and kindness.” Gandolf the Gray from “The Hobbit”
Recently there has been a lot of hubbub surrounding what Phil Robertson said in a GQ article regarding homosexuality and racial issues. I’m not really going to talk about that since I think it is just to get some more viewers to the show. The new season starts mid-January and I believe he’ll be reinstated by then. At that point many Christians will be praising God for the victory over the liberal left and Satan. (Sigh)
For the last several years, I’ve noticed that Christians seem to get up in arms over what I see as insignificant things. This past week was one of those moments. Please understand that when I say Christians in this case, I really mean those on the right side branch of Christianity. The farther right the madder they seem to get. For them, Christmas time is normally set aside to fight the “war on Christmas”, whatever that is. They seem to think that Fox News gives them the true news of God. They have considered the likes of Jerry Falwell, Franklin Graham, Pat Robertson and others to be their prophets. These Christians believe in boycotting events or groups solely on whether or not those groups live up to their ideas of biblical values. In other words they have certain rules and if a company doesn’t live within those rules they are a sinner on their way to Hell. I understand this because I was once a part of that idealism, but during my college years I began to find it unfulfilling and really unchristlike.
Remember a couple years ago when Chick-fil-A had their big whoop di doo with the homosexual community? All the Christians yelled for a support Chick-fill-A for being pro biblical marriage. I so wanted to go “eat with the sinners” as Jesus would do, but was a little afraid of what people would have thought of me. Today I would go. I’ve gotten over that petty pride.
I don’t see Jesus as one who boycotted or protested things in life that were wrong or anti God. He was often called a “friend of sinners”. In other words, he went out of his way to love those who the Pharisees and Sadducees (the church) said were unclean and out of the will of God. Today that is homosexuals, liberals, atheists, and others who don’t fit in with the accepted rules.
The Christian right likes to spout off all their scriptures about how this or that is wrong, just like the Sadducees and Pharisees often told Jesus what the laws and prophets said, and yet Jesus always seemed to teach them how to love and forgive. If we truly want to follow the biblical laws then we need to find a bunch of stones, because those who curse their parents, to adulterers, are to be put to death. Lev. 20:9 & 10). How many adulterers are on church boards? Remember any divorce and remarriage is adultery. (Matt. 5:32)
I really wonder though if there isn’t more to the problem than whether some things are sins or not. The outrage over some things just seems so unbalanced. I have begun thinking that it is more about the loss of power and influence that the right once had that is more the issue. I feel like the right acts more like a wounded or cornered animal that is lashing out to protect itself or what it has left. 30 years ago it had a lot of influence and was able to get Ronald Reagan elected president over what I see as a very devout Christian in Jimmy Carter. Pat Robertson had a good following when he tried to get the nomination several years later. But since the 80’s it’s influence has steadily gone downhill and the right has tried hard to hold on to it with little success. It rose again when it barely got G. W. Bush elected president. But is this working in the right direction? I think the movement of Jesus was from the bottom (least) to the top, not from the top (Washington) to the bottom. If Christianity wants to influence America again we must start with the bottom. That would be those that the church or society mistreats and love them. Get rid of our rules and keep God’s grace. “Love God with all your heart soul and mind and love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Matt. 22:37-40) For those who want to follow rules, every law hangs on love. That is exactly what Jesus said. I know a lot of people come out and say that we love them but hate the sin, but that is not how they actually come across. I believe that we need to put our words aside and let the world see some action. We need to show true love, not bound with rules, but love given without expecting anything in return. We need lives of sacrifice for anyone who is not us. Only then will Christianity ever regain any influence. Why? It is because it will not be about our rules or even us. It will be about loving God and loving others and isn’t that really more important?