How to avoid making Christians appear legalistic & unintelligent to the world.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’d rather reason with a devout Atheist than try and reason with a self-righteous, religious, legalistic man who thinks too highly of himself.

The legalistic backlash leading up to the movie The Shack has already begun. Never mind that the book is an allegory telling a story of God going out of his way to bring an individual broken by tragedy closer to him, repair him, restore him and then reveal himself for the loving Father he is. Never mind that millions of people read and love the book and testify how it either introduced them to thoughts of God and higher things or brought them closer to God and gave a better understanding of his deep love for us. The film must be boycotted because it depicts God as persons. One highly vocal critic had a particular issue with that person being a black woman. Maybe it would have been ok if George Burns were alive to play the part. I am not sure where he finally ended on that debate.

Anyway, irrespective of how you feel about the book or the movie (I neither recommend or condemn it) PLEASE consider how you make Christians appear to everyone else when you spread the legalistic viewpoints of those who don’t feel Christians have the mental capacity to distinguish their bibles from fiction novels or movies. I am so tired of being embarrassed by these ridiculous arguments. Their result is always the same, people and relationships are damaged as well as reputations. Don’t invite that upon yourself. If your God is afraid of a movie or a book, your idea of him is much too small. My God is above all and can use anything for his purpose. If you are studying your theology, I suggest you put down the fiction novels and get into the bible. If your motive is entertainment, see a movie or read a book and try not to stress out over it. Life is too short for all that.

We all need to follow God to the best of our ability, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide us and not the rigid prodding from men. If he tells you not to see the movie, by all means avoid it. Just consider he may not have us all within the same boundaries so it isn’t our duty to round everyone up and herd them into the same fence.

Do you really care about others?

It seems like today you can’t get through the day without either witnessing or being involved in someone’s argument about how we should be taking in refugees and caring for them. On one side of the argument, it is the only moral choice and we should gladly accept these refugees regardless of the obvious dangers. On the other side of the argument taking in hundreds of thousands of Muslim refugees poses a serious risk to our Nation’s safety.

Both sides have very valid points to consider & I hope before we jump into an argument we have taken the time to consider these points.

I have one question for both sides; Asside from the issue of Refugees, what are YOU doing to aid in the plight of the millions of Americans already here that need your help? Think about that. Right now we have millions of Americans living in extreme poverty. They are malnourished, cold, hungry, maybe even homeless. When is the last time you cried out for them and demanded they be helped or helped them yourself?

I’m not against Refugees but I do feel we have our own crisis to deal with and it is largely being ignored and I know why that is. Many will not like this observation but it is what I see as a minister who spends a lot of time in the streets dealing with these issues.

We are a nation of do-littles that think the Government is the answer to all the problems of the world. It is a lot easier to pay our taxes and expect the Government to cure the world with our tax deductions. That is the same logic that works a Pastor to death and when asked to serve responds “That’s what we pay the Preacher to do”. It’s the same logic that  gives you that feeling of great accomplishment when you slip that dollar bill to the panhandler through the tiny crack in your car window rather than asking them to get in so you can take them to a restaurant and spend some time with them while feeding them. The truth is, we don’t care as much as we try to convince ourselves. We want people to be taken care of as long as we aren’t inconvenienced in the process. “I pay my taxes, let the Government handle it. That’s what I pay taxes for”. 

So, as much as it hurts, if you agree with my observation you may be asking where we go from here. I don’t think it is a great feat to take the next step. What we need is to delegate less and do more. I had a co-volunteer once who absolutely believed he had a gift of delegation! He would come up with seemingly endless things that others could do to help people. The trouble is all the rest of us were getting burnt out from all the hard work and this fellow never got his hands dirty himself yet he took great pride in all that we had accomplished. If we’re not careful, we can be that same way. It has become the American way to be as loud as we can be and as visible as possible while demanding someone else take care of the problem-of-the-day hot topic. What if we made less noise and took more personal responsibility for taking on these problems? That’s the way it used to be in America. You know, back before welfare and silencing our Churches. Back then the church was the safety net and was very effective because we also believed in doing our best even if we fell short.

Just my thoughts. It has little to do with Refugees and all to do with real compassion for all people. We have plenty of needs right here, right now without importing those their own neighbors won’t take in. Let’s get to work on those issues first. We can do it. We just need to correct our plan of action just a little bit.