February 09, 2009

Correcting the View of American Christianity

I wish I could claim credit for writing this piece, but I at least want to share it with you:

Imagine what would happen if all the Christians in the world became genuine lovers of neighbors. I believe that one of the reasons the contemporary church has not made a greater impact on secular society is that we’ve strayed from the theme laid down by our Lord. We have been influenced by the culture for more than we have influenced culture. We have fought fire with fire; hatred with hatred. We have sometimes exalted ourselves and put others down—often in the name of defending the Truth. We have treated others with disrespect in an effort to convince them that they are wrong and we are right. To many secularists in western society, Christians are seen as a right-wing political party motivated to promote its own agenda while attacking others in the process.

I am not suggesting that Christians refrain from involvement in the political process. As citizens, we should be involved on every level and in every corner of society, but our attitude is to be love. We are to seek the good of others, treating all individuals with dignity and respect, even when we disagree intellectually or politically with their position.

I think the writer's description of the view of Christianity is, sadly, very accurate, and I also think the very basic steps he followed with are the key to changing it, making Christians more effective in leading people to Christ and growing in Him vs. passing ballot initiatives, often ones that restrict civil rights.

The interesting thing about this piece is where I found it, in the most recent edition of "In Touch" magzine, the publication of Dr. Charles Stanley's ministry. Dr. Stanley is clearly NOT accepting of homosexuality, but GLBT people could certainly embrace this excerpt from his magazine if his ministry applied it to them.

The piece was written by Dr. Gary Chapman, the author of "The Five Love Languages" and other faith and relationship books. I was not able to conclusively ascertain where he stood on same-sex relationships, but he is clearly not an open advocate of them. Despite this, his words should resonate with all Christians, and impact how even those who don't accept the rightful place of the GLBT community in God's kingdom.

Carrying a sign and shouting "God hates fags" doesn't even remotely resemble Christ. Neither, I believe, does denying GLBT people full fellowship in His church and full rights in society.

When will people like Dr. Stanley, a learned, gifted preacher of the word of God, move beyond his blind spot and open his arms to accept GLBT people as they are? I wish I knew, but in the interim there are words of wisdom to glean out of his and other ministries who, while they are not affirming, still have a lot to teach us about building and strengthening our relationship with God.

No comments:

Post a Comment