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 myself walking out of the sanctuary.

Why did I leave?  Did I leave because he was teaching about something I didn’t agree with and my feathers were rustled?  Nope.  I’ve had my feathers rustled a lot in church over the years.  I left because with all that’s been in the news lately, I had to sit and listen to a pastor glorify the actions of a woman who is going against the law.

I had to endure yet again a sermon on the dangers of homosexuality.  I had to listen once more as our church added yet another injury to a group of people whom we’ve deeply and irrecoverably hurt over the years with our hate and fear and lies.

I left because time from the pulpit was given to a woman who is selective in holding her moral ground as she’s had no issue asking for marriage certificate after marriage certificate for herself and other divorced individuals. She’s had no moral dilemma issuing certificates to cohabitating adults and interracial couples (three groups some Christian churches still refuse to marry).

I left because she is a modern version of people who refused to uphold the law of the land decades ago when slavery ended and laws were passed to end segregation.  She is a descendent of people who blocked women from having full access to their newly acquired, civil right to vote. Can you imagine an individual who fought against civil rights sixty years ago being named from the pulpit as an example of the appropriate Christian response? Do we not see the hypocrisy in our approach to this controversial topic?  Others do, and it’s hurting the Christian faith.

I left because pastors need to apply the sexual immorality verse to pedophiles and rapists and individuals who are selling women and children into sexual slavery around the world every day.  I left because thousands of people are fleeing and many are losing their lives in an effort to escape countries where one group’s extreme interpretations of their religion are being made into law.

I left because we are wasting our energy chasing the tail of a controversial topic in a never ending circle instead of giving time from our pulpits to address a 3-year old’s lifeless body on the shore.

I left in honor of the victims who are being injured at the hands of leaders whose religious laws are cutting like swords.

I left for those who can’t leave, for women and children in our own towns and cities who are abused and victimized at the hands of husbands, pimps, and pedophiles.

I recently read about a country whose sentence for the accused included allowing his daughters to be raped.  And churches want to glorify Kim Davis and once again tear into homosexuals?

Do we really believe it’s ok to deny citizens of this country their legal rights because we, individually, have a moral problem with that right?  What if the owner of a housing complex has a moral problem with couples who want to rent an apartment, but they’re not married.  Or a single mother who had her child out of wedlock? Can they deny those American citizens a home?  What if an employer interprets the Bible literally when it comes to tattoos.  Can he then deny anyone with a tattoo a job?

I walked out of church today because I am tired. 

I am tired of hearing the same ol’ same ol’ when it comes to the sinful in our churches.  I’m tired of people using he pulpit to further their own agendas instead of Jesus’.  I’m tired of imperfect people like Mark Driscoll, the Duggar family, and Kim Davis being used as examples and representations of the good Christian only to have discoveries of their humanness revealed later, discoveries which hurt the legitimacy of our faith.

The only legitimate representation of perfect Christianity is Christ, and the Bible makes it very clear, we will never obtain such perfection on this side of Heaven.  I’m tired of Christians jumping on the “we’re persecuted” bandwagon when true victims of religious persecution are being sold into sexual slavery, fleeing for their lives, or taking their last breaths at the hands of religious extremists.

So no, I do not want to hear about Kim Davis.

I want to hear about Jesus.

I want to be told to trust in Jesus.  I want to be told to walk in the same love and grace as Jesus.  When a 3 year old’s lifeless body lies alone on a massive expanse of a deserted beach because his family tried to flee a terroristic religious regime, I want to be encouraged to weep like Jesus IS weeping.

I want to be encouraged by Jesus, not Kim Davis.

I want to follow Jesus, not Kim Davis.

I just want Jesus.

2 Comments

  1. jane fernandez
    Oct 3, 2015

    Powerful statement. We go to church to hear abut Jesus, not controversial topics.

    • admin
      Oct 18, 2015

      Thank you Jane!

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