Christians like to talk about truth. Well, that’s not really accurate, is it? What Christians really like to do is claim they are in possession of the ultimate truth. It seems to me, though, that many times that “truth” is narrow-minded, exclusive and just plain mean-spirited. The other day, I saw a photo on Facebook listing 25 adult truths that consisted of things like “Was learning cursive really necessary?” and “Bad decisions make good stories”. I started to make up a snarky list of Christian truths like “Everyone is welcome in our church…, except for those people.” However, when I tried to put it together, nothing except that first one came to mind. Instead, I came up with this:
- God is more concerned with what you do that what you believe _ When someone asked Jesus what they needed to do to attain eternal life, His response was always action-oriented. Like “All who want to come after me must say no to themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow me” or “If you want to be complete, go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. Then you will have treasure in heaven. And come follow me“. That’s not to say belief isn’t important; how can you follow someone you don’t believe in? But, as James said, faith without works is pointless.
- Love with conditions is not love _ God loves the unlovable so much that He sent His son Jesus to make the ultimate sacrifice, i.e. death on the cross, to show these unlovable people just how much He does love them. Set against that example, telling people you won’t let them into your club unless they conform to an esoteric set of rules written 3000 years ago for a different culture seems a little petty, don’t you think?
- “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors” should mean exactly that _ That’s a tag line for an old United Methodist ad campaign, but it’s a laudable ideal for any Christian organization. Unfortunately, it’s just that: an ideal. Even the UMC, the group who came up with this line, drop the ball because people are excluded from the ministry due to who they choose to love. Not much open about that.
- We are all brothers and sisters in Christ _ That includes the smelly, homeless guy who shambles down the street talking to himself; the openly gay couple who shows up at your church on Sunday; the college kid loaded with tattoos and piercings who makes your coffee in the morning or the Muslim family that moves just down the block. These people are just as much your brother and sister as the people at church or work that you’re comfortable with because they’re just like you.
- Opposing abortion but supporting the death penalty isn’t a pro-life stance _ In fact, it’s not really a Christian stance, either. When asked how many times you should forgive someone, Jesus answered “Not just seven times, but rather as many as seventy-seven times” (or “seventy times seven” depending on the translation). Now, correct me if I’m wrong, but it’s pretty hard to forgive someone after they’re dead and killing them after you’ve forgiven them takes a lot of the shine off that forgiveness. Not to mention the fact that a guy (Jesus) who was executed by the state (the Romans) probably wouldn’t be in favor of the death penalty.
I’ve read that blog posts that go over 500 words cause readers eyes to glaze over, so I’ll stop with five. If this goes over well (and I can think of some more), I’ll do a Part II and give you some more. Until then, chew on these and come up with a few of your own.