There is a divide that exists between the Church and the world that must be obliterated. With expanded thought from my last post about our frat party, the issue of the disassociation between the church and the world has been burning on my heart. Our culture seems to have forged the illusion of Church on the top of a hill with the rest of the sinful world at its base. This is wrong.
We were chatting about throwing a frat party and strolled in conversation to the unavoidable topic of alcohol. “We can’t be allowing alcohol or drunk people there, we don’t want to be sending everyone the wrong message,” someone said. Centuries of organized religion constructed this thought, this idea that the Church cannot associate with sin.
What message are we afraid to be sending? I don’t mean to be picking on the individual who said this, but I would like to challenge the millions of pastors and deacons who would have said the same exact thing given the opportunity. Since when did becoming a Christian make you as a human less of a sinner? The only difference between my God-fearing pastor and a God-blaspheming crack whore is that one has accepted the free gift of love and grace from God. My pastor accepts the forgiveness for all the crap he does, but in relation to the world he shouldn’t be seen as any holier because of anything he did. My pastor, a great leader and wise seeker of Christ, is just as much of a sinner as that crack whore.
I am sick of the churches sitting high and mighty, poking sinners from a distance with their so-called righteous rod. I have two responses to this. The first is that they must not be thinking about how their actions are reflected; if I were being poked and prodded and told I was not holy, I would say “*#$&% you,” and never want anything to do with them. The second is that if they were in the business of poking sinners, they ought to aim those prods at themselves as well. Everyone is a sinner and accepting Christ into your heart doesn’t make you sinless. What it does do is allow Christ to have his sacrifice cover your debt to God. God’s free gift of mercy is what we should be excited about and enjoying, not pointing out the fact that others don’t have it or that others don’t deserve it.
There’s a church in Massachusetts that I’m sure you’ve heard about. They rallied in their town centers holding up picket signs that said “GOD HATES FAGS.” I think Nate Cartel had the best response to this by saying that God doesn’t hate fags… he loves them. Actually, he loves them so much that he sent his one and only son to die for them.
Brennan Manning, an author and pastor, writes “something is radically wrong when the church rejects people that God has accepted.”
Go hang out with and love sinners.