Bear with me for a moment.
So, over the past week or so (I’ve had some time off, and my mind wanders…) I’ve been reading some interesting things on the internet about Christians. There’s a group of us operating at the US Air Force Academy who are part of what’s called the “Shepherding Movement.” Essentially, this group believes that women are “sheep,” and need to be guided by their “shepherds,” who are, of course, men. Many of the women in this group have chosen to leave their careers in the Air Force in favor of “proper” womanly pursuits like having babies and staying at home to take care of their “shepherds.” (1)
There’s another group of us who’ve infiltrated some Army bases in the South who are holding evangelistic rallies and concerts and forcing all the soldiers–Christians and non-Christians alike–to attend. Those who didn’t attend one concert at Fort Eustis were taken back to their barracks for a “GI Party”–cleaning and maintenance duties, while their counterparts enjoyed the concert. (2)
Then, I read about a group of us who practice what’s called “dominionism,” which is the belief that the command of God in Genesis that humanity should “have dominion” over the earth applies specifically to Christians, specifically Christians of a specific fundamentalist belief system, and that said fundamentalist system should be the basis of all law and political systems in America and around the world. According to prominent dominionists, homosexuals, adulterers and blasphemers should be stoned to death. (3) Way to go, us!
Finally, there’s a bunch of us who are on the radio, the internet, and on street corners around the world talking about how the day of judgment is near (May 21, 2011, to be exact), and that only those who fall into their category of what a “true believer” is will be saved from God’s wrath. (4) I’m pretty sure that leaves out me and just about anyone who’s reading this blog entry.
All of this is not to mention the ones among us who preach doom and gloom, hatred and intolerance, and who wrap particular brands of political ideology (liberal, conservative and otherwise) up in the cloth of the Church and call it “God’s way” or “the Truth.” (As if any one of us has the lock on that…)
And the thing I’ve been struggling with is this– That is us. Us. Christians. At least in the eyes of the world–or those who don’t know much about the vast diversity that exists among people who follow (or claim to follow) Jesus. News accounts about nut-jobs like Fred Phelps (5) and his ilk do more damage to the gospel of Jesus Christ than any so-called sinner ever has. And the thing I’ve been struggling with the most this week is that we’re called to love them. They’re us…not some fringe out there that we can ignore. Nope. Jesus calls us to love them. Even them. Because they’re us.
And so are all the low-lifes and ne’er-do-wells and down-and-outers in the world. We’re all made in God’s image, deep within our souls, and we’re all seeking something–we call it salvation, or righteousness, or centeredness or mindfulness, but we’re all seeking it. And some of us claim we know the answers about everything, including the day the earth will die, and some of us try to sound humble while at the same time talking about how the other ones are misguided creeps. And that’s us. And “us” is who Jesus came for.
So, I’m struggling with this, and I hope you’ll understand. But most of all, I hope you’ll join me in praying for Us. Even those of us who are creepily misguided.
For you and me, and all of Us,
(5) Westboro Baptist Church; Nasty, nasty stuff. These are the people who do anti-gay protests at the funerals of fallen soldiers. Not cool.