Our "credibility' deficit..some thoughts...

I can't remember a time when the United States has been more partisan, more divided, and more "unrealistic" in our approach to civilized society. Sadly, some "christians" have done little (if anything) to help remedy these maladies.

I grew up in a very conservative (fiscally, theologically, socially) environment and local church setting. I'm very, very grateful for my "upbringing"--even though I was poorer than overused soil. I was pretty much raised to see issues "one way"...and that was the 'way our church' or 'our culture' viewed them. Rarely, if ever, did I think there just might be more than "one side' to any given issue. While very "narrow" indeed, this training saved me a lot of heartache, grief, and trouble that might have otherwise destroyed not only my "faith" but my person, as well.

When I entered the "real world" (after college), I found out that there is often "many sides to any given issue." While I firmly believe in the BIBLICAL ABSOLUTES, there are many things that we considered "absolute" that I would later learn were anything BUT absolute.

I'm deeply troubled when CHRISTIANS 'swallow' everything that any particular "political" or "social" media feeds them--without the least bit of discernment. Example: Some folks will believe every bogus email about President Obama or Madeline Murray O'Hair or Mickey Mouse that is circulated--and particularly those of defamatory character. This is not only sad...it reflects POORLY on those who claim the name of our great Saviour! Some of these same people swallowed every 'spiritual tale' that was spun concerning former President George W Bush (praying for a guy in the Grand Canyon, feeding a hungry child in truck stop, et al)...when such "tales" were proven to be false. While I want to believe the very best about our former President's "heart" toward those who are less fortunate than himself--there's no need to make things up. We lose our credibility when we insist on manufacturing untruths--no matter how well-intentioned these 'untruth' may have been. They are still false.

Not all gay men are rapists, child molesters, drag queens, exhibitionists or philanderers. Some may be guilty of one or more of these awful things. BUT, to paint every person with such a broad stroke is wrong. Morally, ethically, legally, mentally, spiritually WRONG. ( I have an openly gay friend who is a theologian...and none of the above would apply to him.) But labeling people with such defamatory accusations when there is NOT ONE SCINTILLA of truth is not only unkind, it is UNCHRISTIAN.

A very wise pastor once told me, "Remember every piece of bread, regardless of how thin it is, always has at least two sides...and then some edges..." That is advice that I do my very best to remember...every day. I may see one side of the issue...and I may not agree with the "other side" of the issue---but just because I don't agree with it, doesn't mean that it CEASES TO EXIST.

I am not talking about Scriptural absolutes (I wanted to repeat that before anyone reading this decides to label me a "liberal heretic worthy of being burned at the stake"). But Scriptural absolutes and cultural trends/activities are often two birds of "very different feathers."

Jesus Christ is not a White, Anglo-Saxon, Conservative Republican. He is not a "bleeding heart" liberal Democrat either. While I'm all for the political process...the church...and CHRISTIANS in particular must lead the way in restoring civility and credibility to how we view those with whom we disagree--regardless of the issue on which we disagree.

I received a mailing from PLANNED PARENTHOOD the other day (so there really IS a first time for everything). I didn't call their office, ranting and raving. I simply returned the envelope and requested that I be taken off their mailing list. I disagree with 99% of what the organization stands for. Their letter, requesting money, offended me. But I found no need to be "offensive" in return.

I hope I can treat all those with whom I disagree with the same dignity.

1 comment:

Bill (cycleguy) said...

Phil: definitely agree with you on this. I tire of the endless chain emails rehashing the old garbage that never was true to begin with about Madalyne Murray O'Hara. And to think it is still making the rounds years after her death! Some Christians are so gullible. Sheesh! But it is more than that. It is the "air factor"- what we show others about the Christ we serve. Good post and good thoughts.