All I am trying to do is follow Jesus and share Him with others. But the church, and Christian political action groups often make it much harder than it needs to be.
Masquerading as a religious movement, the religious right with its gay bashing, misogynistic, climate change denying, choreographed efforts to control elections and shape laws is delivering a carefully honed message.
God judges and God hates.
This very WRONG message may well be driving people away from the Father that loves them and the One we all so desperately need. We must make it known that right wing appeals to people’s fears and latent racism is not Christianity in action.
There are churches whose doors are open to everyone. They welcome people as God created them, young, old, doubters, believers, gay, straight, those who simply need a community to accept and love them as they are.
The problem is, people cannot determine from the parking lot whether they’ll be met inside with God’s love or God’s wrath. So, they stay away. Who could blame them?
You may disagree with this blog. It's OK. Fire away. Jesus didn't worry much about stepping on toes, and the Bible insists that we be just toward the least of these.
10 Force your religious beliefs and practices on others.
One of the strengths of the faith Jesus taught was meekness. The faith he taught valued free will over compulsion – because that's how love works. Compelling people to follow any religion, even your personal religion, stands against the way Jesus practiced his faith. There is a difference in letting your beliefs inform your political choices and letting your politics force your religion on others
9 Advocate for war.
There's a reason why He was called the Prince of Peace. Sure, you can quote, “I did not come to bring peace, but a sword,” but that don't hold a candle to the more than fifty verses where Jesus speaks about peace and peacemaking. It's funny how things keep coming back to love but it needs to be said, it is a long way from loving a person to kill them. In the end, love must win.
8 Favor the rich over the poor.
Favoring the rich over the poor is a slap in the face of Jesus, his life, and his teachings. According to Jesus, it is bad enough when we allow the rich to take advantage of the poor, but when we create laws that not only encourage the behavior but also protect it?
7 Cut funding that hurts the little guy.
To some degree, this is the inverse of #8. Favoring the rich is despicable. We Jesus minions should avoid it. Hurting the poor? Well, that's just something a lot worse than despicable. When Jesus said, “Whatever you do to the least of these, you do it to me,” he meant it.
6 Let people go hungry.
It is a spiritual issue and it is a political one. Spiritually, Gandhi said, “There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” Politically, hunger causes problems with education and civil behavior. More importantly, Jesus said when we feed the hungry, we are feeding him. So, yes, this is important.
There is not a food shortage in the world — there is enough for everyone. The problem is that we aren't very good at sharing.
5 Use the church to hurt people.
For the most part, Jesus practiced Dude-ism. He liked hanging out with people. However, there were a few times when he seemed to get more than a bit worked up (most notably with the money changers in the temple grounds).
What could take this chill, peace-loving, Jewish hippie from 0 to 60 in the flip of a switch? Using an institution whose primary goal is meant to be love, to hurt people. While you might describe Jesus as aggressive in the temple grounds with the money changers, even then he was not physically violent toward people.
4 Limit the rights of a select group of people.
Jesus loves everybody – but he loves me best. Kind of sits the wrong way with you, doesn't it? Well, it should. If you spend any time reading the Bible you know that we all were made in God's image. Exactly which part of us is in God's image is less clear, but what is clear is that we were equally made in the image of God. Any law that doesn't treat people equally is as good as thumbing your nose at God. Even worse? Doing it in the name of God.
3 Turn away immigrants.
Christian heritage runs through Judaism. We are an immigrant people. Abraham and Sarah, were told by God to pick up what they had and start traveling. Moses, Miriam, and Aaron led a nation out of Egypt, into the desert and ultimately to new lands.
If you don't think being foreigners in a foreign land is still our story, ask First Nations people. At best, turning away immigrants makes us hypocrites; at worst, it makes us betrayers of God.
2 Exclude people because they practice another religion.
Jesus was constantly including people, and he did it without regard for their religion. We never see Jesus asking for a person's religious affiliation before being willing to speak with them or break bread with them. We do have several records of Jesus seeking out those who happen to practice faith differently from him. There was even this one time when he used a hated Samaritan as an example of how we are supposed to take care of each other.
2a Exclude people for what they look like, how they were born, or things beyond their control.
Jesus had this rebel streak in him that sought out folks who didn't “fit in.” People who were different, people who were made to feel unwanted held a special place in His heart. He did it because he understood they weren't different at all.
Last time. Promise. Jesus was constantly including people. It's a little concept called love. He was big on it.
I would much rather stand with rejected followers of Jesus than with those who reject them.
1 Supporting capital punishment.
Jesus died by execution. He was an innocent man. Every year, innocent people die by execution around the world. It's time to be a shining city on a hill. It's time to express the fullness of love, to express the value of life. It's time to stop government-sanctioned killing.