In light of Christians gathering en masse at Chick-fil-A to protest a protest, I feel compelled to interject a few thoughts. This isn't a theological piece or a hermeneutic piece. I believe this is a piece on people, that were created in the image of God. This is a piece on love. This is a PR piece - a perception piece. And largely, this piece speaks volumes of your view of Jesus…
- I'm saddened by the fact that Christians will gather at a moments notice in front of a fast-food chain to support an issue of the "culture war," but will remain silent in speaking against our national policies that don't view all nations as uniquely created by God; by enacting and inflicting financial sanctions that will forever cripple and weaken entire people groups and continents.
- I'm saddened by the fact that Christians don't gather every time capital punishment happens. When Christians are overwhelmingly supportive of government-sanctioned death (complete with last supper), a message is being spoken - not the message of Jesus (who also enjoyed a last supper before his government-sanctioned execution).
- I'm saddened by the fact that Christians don't gather in support of the alien and immigrant. The message is that not all are created equal, but only Americans - that not all are made in the image of God. The fact that Christians aren't petitioning the government in a very well-organized way, is sad. (If protests are happening, they're usually in support of keeping the alien away or deported)
- I'm saddened at how flippant Christians are at going to war with other nations and people groups. Again, Christians are overwhelmingly supportive of war - which deny's the claim that God cares about the sanctity of life, and that Jesus really meant the whole, "love thy enemy" thing.
- I'm saddened once again that Christians are known for what they are against, rather than what they are for - not a great PR and perception move. This time, the whole world watched Christians gather against people, enemies, and neighbors. (Don't be surprised when Western-Christianity free-falls, and has even less opportunity for honest and healthy dialogue in culture)
But I'm mostly sad that the same Christians that would argue that Jesus can redeem the broken, give grace to the lost, heal the sick, disrupt systems of power, death, and destruction, with love, would be the same people that cannot show grace to the very people that Jesus came to serve. These people serve a weak Jesus - a reactionary Jesus.
So what's the answer?
Let me first tell you what its not…it's not protesting gays, gay marriage, or co-opting faith and politics for the sake of a culture war. The answer is never an idolatry of nationalism.
It's also not tolerance. Derek Webb says it the best in my opinion. He writes, "we prize tolerance too highly. People don't want to be tolerated, they want to be loved. Our standards are far too low."
We must see people as people; not as issues, moral failures, enemies, or opportunity for political gain. We must see people as image bearers of God, that truly matter to the narrative of God's kingdom.
We must learn love.
We must practice love.
We must embody love.
For more on this, check out: http://continuedconversation.blogspot.com/