Give Me Jesus

Give Me Jesus

I walked out of church today during a pastor’s sermon.  It’s the not the first time I’ve felt compelled to leave during a teaching, but it is the first time my feet acted on it. I went to church today with a lot on my mind from the previous weeks’ news.  I try not to spend too much time in the news as it often weighs heavily on my soul.  I’ve taught my children to guard their hearts against commercials and shows on television that might be difficult for them to get out of their little minds.  It’s hard to unsee some things sometimes.  My babies are so sweet, covering their little eyes or burying their little heads in the pillows until the worrisome images pass. For me, some news stories linger long after I hear about them or read about them; therefore, I try to avoid too much exposure. As much as I’d like to bury my head in the pillows, I also don’t want to live an oblivious existence, walking through each day unaware of the pain and darkness falling on others around the world. This is what brings me back to the news reports from time to time, a refusal to get too comfortable in my own blessed life. That being said, I walked into church with images of a lifeless little refugee, his tiny 3-year old body, face down in the sand.  I bowed my head during worship and prayed for the little girls victimized by Jared Fogle, the Subway pedophile, and his innocent wife and children.  I lifted up every refugee and family who are fleeing the terror of a dark and evil ISIS movement.  I prayed for a fellow teacher whose husband passed suddenly from a massive heart attack last week.  I sought the comfort of God for a former student’s family who also passed away suddenly, leaving them in despair. I walked through the doors of church today with compassion and empathy for victims on my heart, but I walked out in frustration and anger over how we as a church got it wrong once again. My pastor was not in church today.  A visiting pastor filled in and directed our attention to Jude.  After reading through the first 7 verses, the sermon started to take a turn in an all too familiar direction for me as a Christian. After honing in on verse 7, I could clearly see where we were going yet again, and my soul began to stir.  After mentioning the sins of the city of Sodom and Gomorrah, only one of those many sins was stated specifically: homosexuality.  He then went on to inquire of the church, “Just because the Supreme Court says something is ok, should we as Christians agree?” He got a few murmurings in response.  After noting the half-hearted reaction to this question, he repeated it again, making it clear his shock that more of us were not amening at the top of our lungs.  After shaming out another answer, he got a bigger response, but one man in the back said a loud, “I don’t know.” And I think that’s where a lot of Christians are right now.  Many do not know how they should be feeling on this subject.  Some of us do know and are constantly made to feel shame over our response to such questions.  Some disagree with recent laws but want to walk in love, obeying God’s ultimate commandment. Some are in the midst of figuring it out.  Perhaps that’s why so many did not respond after the question was posed the first time.  More interesting, maybe some of us waited quietly out of respect but not in support of the direction the sermon was taking. Regardless, why brow-beat the answer you want from the congregation?  Why force some into becoming nodding sheep for fear of what others around them will think when they don’t respond in the affirmative to the pastor’s questions?  “In the nonessentials there is liberty, in the essentials there is unity, and in all things there is charity.”  Right? Despite my frustrations, I stayed, even though I could predict the direction of the sermon.  I told myself if the pastor mentioned a recent name from the news in a positive, role-model-for-Christians-kind-of-way, I would leave. After asking the question a second time, he then went on to hold up the actions of Kim Davis in an honorary light.  He also pointed out the dangers of a shifting approach of grace for homosexuals by some churches as a huge infraction for our faith.  My my body rose, my feet moved, and I found...

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