"Having a blog is like wandering around your house naked with the windows open; it's all very liberating until someone looks in the window. However, while being caught unawares is one thing, it is quite another to stroll up to the window and press your naked, flabby body against the coolness of the glass in a hideous form of vertical prostration for all the world to see..." These posts are the smudges that are left behind on the window.

Friday, 23 December 2011

You Don't Have to be an A**hole

So, this one is going to require a bit of explanation. First off, I write this blog because it’s cathartic and I can feel free to say whatever I want because no one besides myself, my wife and a friend of ours (who can handle anything I have to say) ever reads it. In case there is someone out there reading this that doesn’t really know me, it also requires a bit of background information.
We live in a small town just outside a large city. For a number of years we attended the local evangelical church, which at one point produced a spin-off church in a smaller community not far away, with the pastor of that spin-off coming from the parent church. We tried an experiment a few years ago, that involved not going to church for a year, to see if our faith was based on the church or on God - we never did go back. We have been looking for a home church that is more closely aligned to our current spiritual beliefs; but so far no luck.
The other day, which was a few days before Christmas, spin-off pastor and his wife come into the dental office in town where my wife is the receptionist. They chat about various mundane things such as the Christmas programs that spin-off is having at his church. Eventually he asks what Parent church is doing for Christmas programs. With some trepidation my wife explains that she doesn’t know, because we haven’t attended there in three years, and when we do go to a church, we go to an Anglican church in the city.
Insert wet blanket on conversation, here.
After his appointment, spin-off comes back to my wife to make a follow-up appointment for 6 months down the road.
Wife: “So, were booking 6 months from now”
Spin-off: “That’s a long ways away, maybe the rapture will happen before that”
Wife: “Then I guess you won’t have to worry about it because you won’t be here”
Spin-off; “Yes, but maybe you’ll be”
My gracious wife laughs awkwardly and moves on. Spin-off’s wife, who wasn’t present for the previous conversation, is appalled at his comment and tells him so. It’s a good thing I wasn’t there, because I’m almost positive that the first words out of my mouth would have been; “You know, just because your an evangelical christian, doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole”. Or, if I had the presence of mind to control myself, I’m sure I would have said; “I’m pretty sure there will be more Anglicans in heaven than Baptists”.
To take a page out of Tony Campolo’s book; the sad part is that if you are an evangelical  reading this, you are probably more offended by my use of the word asshole, than you are by the fact that one of your spiritual leaders acted in such and un-christlike manner.  It’s not that I’m anti-evangelical, but I am anti-stupid, and I think that if you look at any of the conversations that Jesus had with the Pharisees, he was too.
I can hear the chorus of protests from the pulpit already, as so many disembodied voices that I have to take medication for; “nobody is perfect...we all make mistakes...take the plank out of your own eye” ...and I get it. We all act un-christlike at times, so much so, that the bible has a word for it; “sin”. But, there’s more to it; those in spiritual leadership are called to a higher standard. And, it’s not just the leaders. There seems to be a virus of superiority that runs through most evangelicals to a greater to lesser degree. Don’t get me wrong, not all evangelicals are like this - some are actually human. But, it is this pervasive, ubiquitous attitude that drives the rest of the world nuts. Yes, the world is being evangelized, but not because of evangelicals - it is being evangelized in spite of them. If they would get out of the way, or finally drop their arrogance, the whole process would get much faster. As Gandhi said; “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ”. 
By the way, if spin-off would like to apologize, I would be more than willing to forgive. The only problem with that is that he is merely an indicator of a systemic problem.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to leave a comment. Your comment will not show immediately as I am moderating them for now.