Kevin’s Conversations: Representing Jesus
I feel like I often get repetitive in my writings, which is one of the reasons I have cut back in my writing here. Sometimes, it would seem that one can go back to the same well only so many times before the eyes of others start to gloss over and disinterest sets in. With that said, for those whose eyes haven’t yet glossed over and can withstand the well one more time, let’s take another visit.
Recently, I wrote a Facebook post that was designed to address my Facebook friends. With a few small tweaks, I figured I could post the same message here. For the few of you who already saw my Facebook posting, you get to gain an extra layer of gloss. 🙂 So let’s give it a go:
I will post with some consistency things that trouble me in Christian culture, more times than not, things that apply to the Evangelical or Conservative Christian culture. I post things that I desire for my fellow Christians to think about, hopefully in a clear and conscientious fashion. I do this being an Evangelical Christian myself.
As much as I find in common and agreement with Evangelical theology and practice (while realizing that this is a very broad swath and I certainly don’t agree with everything), I do also believe there is a significant amount of shenanigans and impropriety that goes on in our culture that we are often ignorant of, unknowingly and even willfully. Many things that are often overlooked, explained away, and even justified.
The last couple years of political happenings has been the biggest driver of these types of postings as I submit that too many segments and people within Evangelicalism and Conservative Christianity have conflated Christianity with politics to an increasingly unholy degree where ethics and righteousness take a back seat to political expediency. But it goes beyond politics and to the actions and behavior and beguilement of many Christian leaders and organizations and the damaging effect and influence they have on rank and file Christians, and sometimes even others who may not even be believers.
These things disturb me because we are representatives of Jesus Christ and they drag His name through the mud. It is bad enough that people are being hurt, wronged, deceived, marginalized, and taken advantage of, but to have Jesus’ name attached to it makes it all the worse. These types of wrongdoings happen in all branches of Christianity in one manner or another, but since Evangelicalism is my most immediate family, this is where it disturbs me the most.
I am just as guilty of sinful words and actions and in need of God’s forgiveness and I do not say all this as being morally superior. Yet that does not mean that I or anyone else should overlook and excuse and justify and join in on wrongful behavior that takes place in a visible and public fashion. There are many, many good Christian men and women and pastors and churches and organizations that lead imperfect, yet faithful lives. Many who don’t make it a practice to wrong others or take advantage of them or unjustly speak about others or support depraved conduct or publicly justify all these actions. Yet, disturbingly there also Christians who have a regular pattern of doing these types of things, sadly even by powerful and influential leaders and organizations, and we too easily just accept them or turn a blind eye to them in our culture.
We all have and will do wrongful things….. things that are sinful before a holy God. Yet, through Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross, we can be reconciled to Him. Jesus endured great suffering upon our account. There is forgiveness for sins, but for those of us who claim the Christian faith, let’s try not to heap additional mud upon the name of Jesus in the manner in which we manifestly accept, justify, or even join in on wrongdoing happening in plain sight. And for those who may not profess a faith in Jesus Christ, please see Him for who He is and what He has done, and not always for what His followers may do. It is because we are guilty of sin and wrongdoing and need a Savior that we who follow Christ, do so indeed.
As a postscript, I would be remiss to not mention Rachel Held Evans. Just as I was finishing this article, I saw the news of Rachel’s tragic passing. I did not follow Rachel much and I surely had disagreement with some of her theology and positioning. However, her voice was a much needed one that challenged a lot of the “shenanigans and impropriety” that does go on in Evangelicalism and conservative Christianity. She spoke for and stood with many who had been mistreated or marginalized. Some wisely took her thoughts into consideration while others foolishly dismissed her because she was a “liberal” or “progressive” or “heretic”. We need more like her who are not willing to just sit back and accept the status quo when that status quo is littered with concerning disquiet. And we need more who are willing to listen. May Rachel’s life and witness be remembered and may God comfort Rachel’s family and those who cared about her.