Friday, October 16, 2009

the gospel according to Jerry Falwell

I'm sure it's a good thing when people are serious about their faith. I think people sometimes get kinda tied up in defending it, though. The more my grown and deep and rich my faith gets, the less I feel like I need to worry about it's defense.

The other day I was listening to this Christian radio station here in Houston. They have this short segment when a "Christian law expert," or maybe I Christian "law expert" (expert on our law, not God's, I mean) comes on and sounds the battle cry over Hebrew texts disappearing from courthouses or two men marrying each other or something else that threatens our God-given right as Christians to be comfortable and not get too close to any of the scary stuff we might otherwise have to see.

This day, the guy was talking about the right of landlords to deny applications of unmarried, cohabitating (hadn't heard that term for a while) couples. He talked about how terrible it was that so many Christian landlords were being forced to violate their faith by renting to such couples.

Here is the heart of judgmentalism. It's not just disagreeing, it's refusing to love people until they get their act together.

It's fine with me if they don't approve of that lifestyle choice. What's really disturbing is that people believe this is a violation of their faith to even rent them an apartment. It's like a manager at "The Golden Corral" deciding to turn away overweight people because gluttony violates his faith.

Or a pool owner who won't let women in because they might tempt the men. Sounds pretty funny, doesn't it?

Let's get real. Couples can get housing anywhere else. And if you turn them away, they will get it somewhere else. Why not with you?

We talk about wanting to change the world and reach people and all that, but when these people are delivered right to our doorstep, we judge them, deliver our lawful sentence and send these people further and further away from the gospel.

Robert Webber was an amazing theological scholar and teacher, and also, though an older gentleman, a man who was sensitive to the disconnection between American Christianity and the younger generation. In his book, The Younger Evangelicals, he tells the story of a woman who had been attending a pragmatic megachurch, earnestly seeking a deeper connection in her life.

This woman made contact with the Church, saying she wanted to become a Christian. Was she welcomed with open arms? Was she lovingly shown the deepness and wonder of the Christian faith?

No, she was told that, because she lived with her boyfriend, she needed to change her life before she could make a Christian commitment.

And all she wanted was a relationship with Jesus.

I wonder if it would be a shock for my church to realize I still struggled with sin, and that sometimes I struggle with it out in the open, for everyone to see. I've been a Christian for almost 20 years, but I can't say I've figured out how to avoid it.

God, help us understand how we can genuinely love people and how easy it is to get in your way. Help us finally learn to step back.


E. A. Harvey said...

Good post, jaigner. I recently read a book about the trafficking of sex slaves in the U.S. ("Renting Lacy" by Linda Smith of Shared Hope Intl.)-- over 100,000 women and children are sold for sex in the U.S. every single day. Where is the outrage among Christians in this issue? It boggles my mind that we will protest, boycott, and lobby against homosexuals but continue to be oblivious to sexual violence against women and children. It seems we continue to pick the wrong things to get upset about, and miss many opportunities to love the people Jesus loves.

jaigner said...

This is tragic. Tragic we focus all our attention on preserving Christianity as our unofficial civic religion. Tragic that we forfeit our opportunity to love.

Forgive us.