Every so often, the phrase “Christian lifestyle” pops up on my radar. The latest is from Red Letter Christians, an article titled Grace”less Christianity. In it, the author, Christian Piatt, tells about Point of Grace Church in Waukee, Iowa. It seems that the good folks at POG had rented space to Happy Time Daycare. Now, I’m not sure if Happy Time was there when POG came into possession of the property or what, but the church recently (in August) announced that Happy Time was being reorganized as Point of Grace Children’s Academy and staffers would need to re-apply for their jobs. Okay, no problem with that; churches all over the place have pre-schools. And, having people re-apply for their positions is not an uncommon practice when an organization gets new ownership. Things get a little dicey, however, when you look at the application. You see, to be employed at POGCA, all employees must agree to live a “Christian lifestyle” which includes the following stipulations (taken from POG’s website):
- You are currently living in a marital relationship and are faithful to your spouse, or are single and not currently in a sexual relationship with someone whom you are not married, or in a cohabitational living arrangement with someone that is not an immediate family member of the opposite sex.
You are not currently practicing a homosexual or bisexual lifestyle.
You abstain from the use of illegal drugs or the abuse of controlled substances, such as prescription or over-the-counter drugs.
You abstain from viewing pornography online and pornographic materials in any from.
You either abstain from the consumption of alcohol, abstain from the abuse of alcohol and/or monitor your consumption of alcohol to avoid intoxication.
There are many problems with this list: it’s intrusive, discriminatory and unenforceable. But, bigger than that is they’re saying these are the elements that make up a Christian lifestyle. Pastor Jeff Mullen said in a radio interview,
“When you sign on the dotted line when you choose to follow Jesus, he says this is the way your life should reflect me. These are just standards for our believers.”
Now, as I’ve said before, I’m not a Biblical scholar or a trained theologian, but I’m pretty familiar with the Gospels and I don’t ever remember Jesus pointing to anything remotely like this list and saying it’s the standard. What I do remember Him saying was to love your neighbor with the same fervor you love yourself. In fact, He went to so far as to say we should love our enemies, even pray for them. Quite a bit different, isn’t it?
For a place with the word “grace” in the name, it seems there’s damn little available in Rev. Mullen’s church.