Some friends reacted to my last post thinking I was going too easy on Christians. Hmph. And here I was concerned my Christian friends would think I was too judgmental of them. Whatever. In any case, it occurred to me that there actually are some words that should be said to the American Christian community that I’ve probably never said publicly before. I pontificate a great deal about people needing to call out wrongdoing on the part of our own. So, in the spirit of practicing what I preach, here goes.
Dear fellow believers:
1) Stop hating. Seriously. As I’ve emphasized so many times before, I know most of you don’t hate. But the truth is, many of you DO. Many of you look at, say, the gay man running the cash register at your local Target (or the slick-haired conservative preacher eating Chik-fil-A) and immediately feel repulsion. You don’t love him as Christ does. You want him to go away and stop making your world something you don’t want it to be. Admit it – you do. Deep down in the depths of your soul, that ugliness is there. Stop calling it righteous judgment or some such nonsense. It’s hatred, and it’s ugly.
If this describes you, I suggest you do a prayerful, extended study of the book of 1 John, not to mention the gospels. Love is a defining characteristic of a child of God. A defining characteristic. If you are not loving, with all due respect, you have much more reason to be worried about your own eternal destiny than about your Target cashier’s. That not me judging you – that’s me encouraging you to exercise some critical judgment on yourself.
2) Stop it with the “Christian Nation” talk. It’s irrelevant. Whether or not the United States ever was a Christian Nation, it is not now. What we have today is a nation where the majority of the people claim a shaky allegiance to a religion that they little understand and rarely practice.
And if the U.S. ever was a Christian nation, it was so by consensus and not by legislative fiat. AND if it was and is no longer, that is because Christians have failed to live the faith in a way that won the hearts of the people. It’s our own fault. Don’t get your knickers in a bind blaming the unbelievers for pulling the nation away from Christ. Just what else did you expect unbelievers to do? The onus was on us. It still is.
3) Get serious about your relationship with God. Not about your culture, or your doctrine, or your heritage, or your denomination, or your creeds. Your relationship with God. Because a depressing number of Christians don’t have one to speak of.
Your relationship with your church is not your relationship with God. Your knowledge of scripture and theology is not your relationship with God. Let’s be blunt here: an appearance of godliness is easy to fake – I know of which I speak. Jesus made it quite clear that there will be a whole host of folks who spent their days on earth crying, “Lord! Lord!” to whom he will be saying, “I never knew you.” That is, you and I did not have a relationship.
Are you worried about the moral decline of our country? Do you know who changes the world? Jesus does. Do you know how people meet Jesus? By seeing him in the lives of Spirit-filled believers who mean it when they call him “Lord”. Spiritual revival and social justice both start with God’s people getting themselves right with God. Get off your soapbox, and get on your knees.
Which is what I’m about to do right now.