How many times has a government, corporation or organization exaggerated or altered statistics in order to make something appear as they say it is? More often than some would admit, there are “preachers” who come up with strange stuff in order to prove a point that has little or nothing to do with actual scripture. I have some examples.
First example is a southern New Jersey pastor’s statement – from the pulpit – that was simply un-scriptural, judgmental and legalistic. Dig this…”Homosexuality is the worst sin. It breaks all of the commandments!”
Really? I know what the Bible has to say about this, but that ain’t it.
Next one is of a children’s pastor in Hampton, Virginia, over 30 years ago, who wanted to prove the “evils” of certain entertainment to a group of young people. He cited the Smurfs. He said that because they were blue with “black lips” (yes, an outline, I know), that this represented a dead body. Then he went on about those who worship the dead. No..really…I was there and heard it, myself.
Wow. How have we lived without such great insights?
Finally, a quote from Franklin Graham: “What happens is we think we can fight by smiling and being real nice and loving. … We have to understand who the enemy is and what he wants — he wants to devour our homes. He wants to devour this nation. … We have to be so careful who we let our kids hang out with. … We have to be so careful who we let into the churches. You have immoral people that get into the churches and it begins to affect the others in the church and it is dangerous.” (Italics added for emphasis)
Apparently, when Jesus said, “Love your neighbor…”, He also meant to keep your distance from him. Uh…no.
The goal is not to try to change these purveyors of inaccurate doctrines, but perhaps extend some encouragement to walk and act in his love. We have stepped off the path, so to speak. For that matter, we have become our own architects and paving crew for our own super-highway of selfish and judgmental speech, actions and doctrine and we have had the audacity to put Jesus’ name on it.
We need to stop embracing the Pharisee-esque messages and attitudes of many of our “leaders”. We most importantly need to get back to actually following Jesus, examining Who He is, reading His example as He walked among us. We need to stop asking, “What would Jesus do?” and start seeking, “Who would Jesus be?”
In following posts, I would like to communicate how we have built a wall apart from the Cornerstone, having forgotten love and grace. Within various categories, I plan to discuss more about where we need to be, with brief examples of where some of us are. I try to use pronouns like “we” and “us” as often as possible, as we can all be culpable of un-Christlike actions and attitudes.
Essentially, we will be walking through this, together.