Saturday, December 29, 2012

The Church Lacks Imagination

 For several months I have been trying to articulate some thoughts I have on the Christian Church in America today and I feel like I was finally able to some of those ideas in response to something that was floating around Facebook a little over a week ago.

This came out shortly after the Sandy Hook Elementary massacre that had everyone arguing over gun control. I am adamantly against guns and violence and frankly I'm quite sickened by the culture of death we have in America. You might be wondering what a culture of death is and I would point to the fact that we find it acceptable to kill a person who tries to steal a television in your house. Nevertheless, that is not what this blog entry is about so I will return to what I've purpose to write about. I wrote the following in response to this,

"I am most definitely not a conservative but I'm not a rank-and-file pro-choice advocate. I do not believe legislating against abortion will have the effect my fellow Christians think it will, but instead will widen the gap of understanding and communication between pro-life and pro-choice people. I think that if Christians want to see the end of abortion, we should try something really radical (something Jesus suggested) and knock the locks off of churches and welcome in anyone and everyone who may be seeking help. Regardless of whether they're gay, straight, pregnant out of wedlock, or what-have-you. Apostle Paul adamantly stands against using the court system as a method of doling out moral precepts on those who don't believe. For Paul that wasn't really even a consideration since during his writing the religious authorities (both pagan and Jewish) were in the process of figuring out what to do with Christians and an out-and-proud Christian was likely to be shunned by the community or worse."
I hear it all the time from the pulpit of churches that being a Christian is more than just a Sunday-Wednesday or a Christmas-Easter gig (and all the youth turn red-faced because the pastor just used "gig" to try to sound hip). I also hear that the Church is more than the building we meet in to worship together, but rather that the Church is the people who gather in the unifying name of Christ. There are quite a few more catchphrases I could spit about the church being a hospital and all that, but suffice to say they've become quite cliche.

I finished off my thoughts on that first graphic by saying this,

"The Church has failed the community outside the four walls of its cathedrals and buildings when it comes to the issue of abortion. Instead of embracing the people who may need guidance and help in figuring out what to do, Christians have slammed the gavel down and passed judgment. We have heaped loads of fear and shame on those who we should have been welcoming in. Until we change this, Christians are not in a very good position to say one way or another how to handle the issue of abortion. Until we have done everything to mend the wounds of our every hateful word and deed; until we have done everything to make ourselves available to lend a helping hand without passing judgment, we stand with powerless words. As a cis-gender male and feminist, I don't feel it is my place to tell women and trans-men what they can and cannot do with their bodies."

Folks, the message of the love of Jesus Christ was worth dying for and yet somehow the Church has been pigeonholed into a very narrow way of thinking and approaching problems. This is exactly the opposite of the way Jesus did things. When  Jesus needed to pay the temple tax, what did he do? He told Peter to go fishing and pull a coin out of the mouth of fish (Matt 17:24-27). I don't know about you, but all the times I've gone fishing have not ended in me being a dollar or two richer than before. I'm usually lucky to catch something worth eating, much less get enough money to pay the highway toll or something like that. We see it in some of the great prophets, like Elisha, who did a little CPR on a dead boy and then G-d the boy sneezed back to life (2 Kings 4:34-35). Are you getting this, my friends? G-d is far stranger, far more imaginative than we can possibly conceive but we have been given a sample of that (think of it like the trial version). G-d gave us imaginations of seemingly unlimited potential, so I ask why are we not using it to enhance the kingdom of G-d? Why do we fight with weapons of the world and play their political games? I know we're all pretty used to it, but most of us were pretty used to breast milk and as far as I know none of the people reading this are still living off of breast milk.

Do you know what breaks my heart about all of this? Many people will agree with what I'm saying, but tomorrow they will wake up and go about their day and argue about the same stuff in the same way they did yesterday. Something tells me that must be a bit like what Jesus feels when watching the modern-day disciples twist and pervert The Way into a nationalist American propaganda piece.

Peace that surpasses all understanding,

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