Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sorry for the rant....

I've been following a story in western N.C. about a high school student, Kalei Wilson.  Kalei is an atheist who wanted to start a club for like-minded students to organize and do community service.  I guess this is similar to what groups like the Fellowship of Christian Athletes do.  At least a dozen students had expressed interest in joining the club.  Anyway, this was posted on Kalei's page this week:

"It saddens us to report that due to the numerous threats and the verbal attacks on Kalei along with the vindictive witch-hunt to hurt the reputations of affiliated local groups and our own family , Kalei will not be continuing with the group.
We have contacted GoFundMe and requested they return your generous donations. They have assured us that your funds will show back up in your respective accounts within 3 to 5 days.
Your love and support are priceless and we apologize in letting you down. It was our single goal to support Kalei in her efforts to start the much needed SSA club.
However, we never expected our family and friends to be sought out and demonized. Please know that we recognize the importance of the club but we can not justify our involvement with the risk of our families safety and well being."
It does not take many clicks to find the text to some of these threats or to find the unbelievable vulgar language that was directed toward Kalei.  It makes me so incredibly sad and infuriated at the same time. What are churches teaching children that would cause them to think that this kind of threatening behavior is not only appropriate, but it is "Christian."  Seriously.  How does that square off with the life of Christ...yes, I guess you could say that Jesus called people names.  He called a group a "brood of vipers."  (Matthew 12:34 and 23:33).  And, yes, he got mad and a little violent when he turned over a bunch of tables (Matthew 21:12, Mark 11:15, John 2:15).  And, guess what?  His anger was not directed at unbelievers.  His anger was directed at the religious people whose attention to self-righteousness kept them from being decent human beings.  That is a call to repentance for all of us in the church.

And, in Matthew 25, when Jesus does indeed talk about the final judgment, he does not talk about belief and getting the beliefs right.  He is much more interested in how we care for others. He says that those who will be welcomed into paradise will be those who fed the hungry, gave the thirsty something to drink, clothed the naked, took care of the sick, visited the prisoner.  That was his deal.  He took care of people.  He welcomed people that nobody else wanted to be around.  He allowed them to touch his life.

Sometimes I am just overwhelmed by how far Christianity (at least the Christianity that gets all of the publicity) has fallen from those behavioral covenants.  We'd rather bully a non-believer than understand her.  How arrogant!  We'd rather bully a non-believer than show her the love of welcoming her, by practicing radical hospitality, and maybe by working side by side with her in projects that could benefit an entire community.

Think of the witness THAT would have given.  That would have shown a group of Christians so secure in their faith, so moved by the love of Christ in their own lives that they don't have to bully others who do not believe the same.  They don't have to use strong vulgar language "in the name of Christ."  They don't have to draw the line in the sand and refuse to budge.

They can welcome others into the love of Christ by welcoming them into their own lives.  They can get on with the business of feeding the hungry, giving the thirsty something to drink, clothing the naked, etc. What a witness we could have if we stopped our obsession with judging others and left that up to God.

Sorry for the rant - but that article got to me.

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