It started with this yesterday afternoon:
Go ahead and read the fine print...it's too deliciously awful to skim over.
Did you just say WOW with me? I find myself uttering it and shaking my head...smdh, in fb-speak, ...every time my eyes get pulled back to it.
(My friend, Brandon Mouser, posted it from another friend's page...he's been sHISdh over it too.)
Then, this morning, my favorite fiction author in the entire universe...Mr Ted Dekker...threw down the following:
"We have enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another." -Jonathan Swift. It's a complicated, this thing we call "religion". But do you agree? If so, LIKE.
Finally...or not...because it seems to be one of those facebook days...Brandon Mouser wrote a thoughtful sharp important blog, entitled Lifeway, The Blind Side, and Narcissistic 'Pastors'. If you follow me on facebook, you might have seen me re-post it this morning. It is a blog addressed to Lifeway Christian Stores, over a recent issue. You should go read it in its entirety, but I am going to post part of it here:
The power of social media directed me to a story on The Christian Post about a decision you recently made to stop selling a movie called The Blind Side; a movie that you have sold in your establishment since its retail release in 2010 with no consumer complaints. That is, until Pastor Rodney L. Baker of Hopeful Baptist Church decided to petition the Southern Baptist Convention to get you to pull The Blind Side from your shelves because of the movie depicts a certain level of reality that he, apparently, just isn’t comfortable with, or because it depicts a reality that just isn’t Christian enough for his tastes.
And I get it. People using rough language, drinking, guns, gangs, drugs, poor folk, homeless folk, KFC, interracial families (by adoption), etc is definitely not a reality to which real Christians need be subjected. It’s much safer for real Christians to stay cocooned in their white, suburban, gated communities, far away from the sin and depravity of ‘those people’ on the ‘other side of the tracks’. God forbid a real Christian actually encounter this alternative reality… then they might actually have to take Jesus’ teachings seriously!"
Double wow! Brandon, my friend, you get a standing ovation from me for those steppin on my toes, uncomfortably honest words.
Truth: I am all angry turmoil confusion inside right now.
He says...my paraphrase of what I've heard him say many times before:
I don't like to call myself a "Christian". Not at all. I call myself a "Christ follower".
Oh how I agree. I even cringe a little these days at the word "Christian".
Not that I don't love Jesus. Or hold my faith as immeasurably precious and dear. I do. But as Ghandi said so well, or perhaps it was Ann Rice...who knows with misquoted quotes these days:
"I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ."
When did our religion of love get hijacked by hate?
(I bet there are Muslims across the world wondering the same thing about their own religion right now.)
And I also would wager to guess I just lost a lot of you on that last sentence. I am sorry to see you go, but I know the price one pays for having an opinion which contradicts the status quo, and I believe there are Muslims out there who don't actually hate you or me.
The "religion" of Christianity was founded on love...it's our whole unique deal which sets us apart from all the other religions of the world...
crazy irrational complete and all encompassing sacrificial love to the point of absolute death, love that gives all without expecting demanding brokering for anything in return...perfect love which does not demand its own way, but allows for complete acceptance or refusal of love's offer.
Raise your hand if you have lived that way today.
But that's the reality Christ's love calls us to...the true message of the religion of Christianity.
Not hating avoiding belittling marginalizing judging mistreating ...afraid we are going to get sullied by the "World" if we interact with those heathen people that are going to Hell.
Maybe I am making it too simple. Perhaps it is foolish of me to believe Christ has full capability to deal with the sins of others...just as He deals with mine every single day...without my interference.
When are we Christians going to stop making everything into an "Us against Them" mentality, with them being all those people out there who don't have the same faith as us. Because I am pretty sure the only reason I am in the "us" category is because I made a choice. Yes?
It is the same choice we Christians seem to hold out as our weapon of choice when breaking down the ranks of people in this world.
The choice Christ died for to give us in the first place.
"For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE his only Son..."
Love freely lavishly given. When will we learn this lesson?
I have a friend whose ex-wife once made this statement years ago:
"I never asked Jesus to die for me."
At the time I heard this, I thought it was the most horrible awful blasphemous words ever to be uttered. I was very surprised God didn't strike her dead right on the spot...trust me, I waited for it. But there was no clap of thunder from the heavens, no displeasing voice damning her to Hell.
Because Christ's love is not a forced thing. It is arms wide open waiting. Just waiting.
Our love, human small conditional cannot truly fathom a love given fully and absolutely with no guarantee of love in return. Love which continues to give its all even when we spit in its eye.
I truly believe the best course of action for Christ followers...take your word "Christian" with all its judging hatred and go away please...is to love.
My prayer: God, uncocoon me and show me how to love.
Always love wins.
(Even if one doesn't agree with the way Rob Bell explained it.)
Peace dear readers.