#ThingsJesusNeverSaid

Hashtag-Comic

Right now as I type, the inter-webs is still blowing up along the hashtag #ThingsJesusNeverSaid – This is a very clever thing. A place for progressive Christians, non-Christians, and conservative Christians to sling the proverbial spit and mud at their blind counterparts in 140 characters or less.

I have to admit many of the posts made me chuckle. Many made me angry. Many more made me quite sad. Again we’ve found a way to rob our ‘one anothers’ from civil discourse and meaningful dialogue. We continue to pursue biting memes and short-hand kvetching as opposed to sincere conversation.

We can stand around pointing fingers all day long but on this day (It is ‘Good Friday’ as I write) no fingers were being pointed by Jesus. In fact on this day Jesus said very few things…one of the more profound things that the New Testament declares he said is, “Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

It breaks my heart that the church that is to be known for its ‘love of one another’ is instead trotting around and showing its disdain for one another. This is always the danger of taking a religion that had a communal concept of life and salvation and allowing it to transition into a faith that is all about personal salvation and personal gain/growth. If we could only return to the time when the church was in it together…not to win rhetorical dance-offs but rather a time when the heart of the faithful was about lifting the oppressed, serving the marginalized, caring for the downtrodden.

Jesus, it is said, died for the entire world…not for those we like or agree with. Jesus exposes power structures that rob others of their fullness of life. Jesus served the oppressed in order that their hope might be restored.

The irony of #ThingsJesusNeverSaid is that most folks sincerely believe that Jesus is in full agreement with their quips. I find it hard to imagine that Jesus, who fought for the dignity of ALL people, would side specifically with any of us in our foray into Twitter fame.

Put down your hashtags…put aside your polemics…lift up your neighbor whether they are gay or straight, conservative or liberal, male or female, fundamentalist or progressive, religious or not, optimistic or pessimistic, friend or enemy.

Because the one thing we are assured of in the Gospels is that Jesus did say to “love our enemies” and on this particular Holiday we are even called to remember that Jesus not only loved them he also stood before G_d asking on their behalf for their forgiveness. May we learn something from this day of remembrance.

Peace to you and yours. Remember: Agreement should never be a prerequisite for loving others.

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No longer wearing the label: Christian

Recently an article appeared in Rolling Stone in regards to Mumford and Sons’ lead singer and how/if he identified himself as a Christian (LINK)…this led to a discussion amongst some of my dearest friends and fellow arm-chair theologians.

Marcus Mumford of Mumford and Sons

We debated and debated…and, frankly, I was torn on whether it was good or bad to shed the term ‘Christian’ though I personally wasn’t feeling compelled to do so. I couldn’t decide.

It is so good when a ‘simple’ statement helps provide a shift in thinking. I often find myself disappointed with what the ‘label’ of Christian has come to mean in our world…how it doesn’t reflect me or my life. Thanks to a friend’s words I’ve come to see that if I truly believe I’ve been adopted into this family through Jesus…

Christian is NOT a label but rather it is my NAME. Thanks Chris for the beautiful reminder.

**Edit** Here is a poem on this topic from Chris (I highly recommend his blog)

I AM the resurrection and the Life,
He answers the question I never asked,
Adoption looms before my eyes,
This Christian within is soon unmasked.
This history of baggage,
Is the cross I carry,
This bride to be,
Waits to marry…

Yet I journey,
Following Christ,
“Christian” is my namesake,
Humility burns bright…
A contradiction like His cross,
Well clothed in original sin,
This scion grafted within God’s life line,
Will give rise to a bloom this world calls “Christian.”

By Chris Clody 4/4/2013

When following Jesus looks different than Christianity (pt. 1)

Jesus dancing

An Article just went viral (surprise surprise) about a community that is trying to create a separate prom that won’t allow gay students to attend.

WHAT?!?!?

I am not going to debate the theology that surrounds our friends in the LGBTQ community, as I know plenty of Christians on both sides of the proverbial aisle: those who DO believe homosexuality is a sin, and those who do not. However, it seems that for the most part instances of exclusion, discrimination, or outright hatred toward the LGBTQ community seem to arise from those who DO view homosexuality as a sin; therefore, what I want to address is what is seemingly anti-Jesus behavior coming from these folks.

Let me tell you a story (for those who feel that the LGBTQ community are “sinners”):

As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the prom ticket booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.

While Jesus was dancing at prom, many gay, lesbian, transgendered and queers came and danced with him and his disciples. When the “Christians” saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher dance with gay, lesbian, transgendered and queers?”…

For my friends that don’t view the LGBTQ community as “sinners” (at least not for their sexuality) – the notion that their Christian faith is demonstrated, in the manner in the article, is heart wrenching.

I fear that we are at a place where we need to have honest discussions about this. If you are in the camp that holds homosexuality as a sin then please follow Jesus’ examples of how to treat the folks you think are missing the mark – don’t wind up in the same camp as many of the Pharisees in this particular situation above (Matthew 9.10-12). If you are in the camp that accepts homosexuality please follow Jesus’ examples of how to love those that disagree with you as well!

Article (as referenced above)