Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Being "fools" for Christ.

For those of us who take seriously the words as ascribed to Jesus in our scriptures, there is a definite belief that love conquers all.  There are the words "do not resist an evildoer but turn the other cheek" and "you have heard it said, love your friends, but I say, love your enemies".  There is definitely something "unrealistic" or "impractical" about all of it, and yet, we are called to believe in it, to fight for it, to created the world of love, to "bring the kingdom to earth as it is in heaven" (whatever it is you believe heaven to be).  We are not called to fight hate with hate, but to fight it with love.  We are not called to seek revenge or even to punish an evildoer.  Instead we are told to not judge and to love the unlovable.  This isn't what our current politics espouse in any form, but these are the words of Jesus.  For those who say they are Christian and yet espouse hatred, fear and self-protection at the cost of harming ANYONE else, I can only say you either haven't actually read the gospels, or you just plain don't take it with any seriousness.  There isn't room to be "practical" or to fight hatred with killing, to self protect with violence, fear, or anger.  There isn't room for revenge or even punishment. Those things we are supposed to leave up to God.  Is this easy?  Of course not.  Are we expected to fail sometimes?  Of course.  But to claim that violence, killing, hatred are ever Christian responses is to utterly fail to understand the gospels.

I will, again, admit that those who say that these practices aren't "practical" are right at some level. Even our scriptures tell us to be "fools" for our faith, believing, hoping, trusting, and choosing love even in the face of hate where there is no sign that these will get us what we want.  The very fact that scripture calls us to be fools for believing in these values shows them to be different than what many who look for practical will find.  Our idealists who espoused these values (whether Christian or not) worked to change the world, and I believe they have - MLK, Carter, Kennedy, Ghandi, etc. They were idealists.  And while their policies may not have been practical they changed the world, and they did it without violence, without hate, without killing. Ultimately, we do create the world we want.  But unfortunately, it is equally true that those who work to keep the world practical, and who therefore fight against the belief that love conquers all also have a hand in creating the world and they fight hard, refusing to believe in the possibility of a world where love genuinely and completely wipes out fear, hatred and darkness.

I find I have no comprehension for those who claim to be Christian and yet who espouse violent reactions to things they don't like. I simply don't understand if they have failed to read the scriptures they claim to believe or if they simply don't take them seriously. They sometimes quote scripture, but it is always Old Testament or occasionally Paul's writings.  It is never Jesus.  EVER.  So if you don't believe in the words of Jesus, stop saying you are Christian.  Just own that you aren't. Stop dragging the name "Christian" through the mud of hatred, fear, violence and killing when that is so very antithetical to the teachings of Jesus.  Just STOP.

Unfortunately, there are too many of those folk out there right now.  There are just too many who live by fear and hate and call it practical (many even dare to call it Christian. Again, have they actually READ the gospels?).  There just don't seem to be enough who are brave enough and faithful enough to choose to live by love at whatever cost.

And I have to admit, it breaks my heart, on a daily basis.