Another Little Christian Mystery

CLINTON, NEW JERSEY – I can’t understand why, with all the suffering in the world, we evangelical Christians are known by the non-evangelical world mainly for our stands against abortion and gay rights. Why these two issues, but not our campaign to stop the rape and genocidal-scale murder of women and children in Darfur, not our stand supporting AIDS medication for the poverty-lashed sick and dying of the world, not for clean water for the world’s polluted villages for Christ’s sake. Not even save the whales for God’s sake. I think it might be because there are no such campaigns.

Did you read about the Rev. Joel Hunter who resigned as president of the Christian Coalition last week before he was even installed? He’s the senior pastor of one of those giant megachurches down in Florida, as evangelical as they come. The Christian Coalition changed their mind about his suitability after the Washington Post reported that “in addition to opposing abortion and same-sex marriage, Hunter, 58, wanted to take on such issues as poverty, global warming and HIV/AIDS.” Hunter said, “My position is, unless we are caring as much for the vulnerable outside the womb as inside the womb, we’re not carrying out the full message of Jesus.”

That was enough for the Christian Coalition. Hunter resigned gracefully. About the CC, Hunter said, “They began to think this might threaten their base or evaporate some of their support, and they said they just couldn’t go there.”

To me, there’s a staggering inconsistency in the way we practice our faith. I tend to blame it on the inherent small-mindedness and village attitudes of our sinful human nature. How can people go on reading the Bible yet ignore the suffering in this world beyond their own families and friends? Where is the Holy Spirit? Why isn’t he filling our lives with the grace to fight back against growing worldwide suffering and misery? How come?

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5 thoughts on “Another Little Christian Mystery

  1. Kirstie is right to point out the fact that there are lots and lots of followers of Jesus who are doing exactly what God desires. Perhaps the trouble is they don’t get the press…or not the secular press enough to make the general population know. (Or the rest of the Christian population that seems to be unaware too.)I think that many Christian congregations DO “walk the walk” in different areas, maybe not in politically/environmentally “hot” issues, but in hosting homeless families through Interfaith Hospitality Network, feeding the hungry in soup kitchens, building homes after Katrina, sending supplies to orphanages around the world, helping in pregnancy crisis centers with hands-on care, counseling, supplies, etc., and a bunch even volunteer to clean up rivers and rescue oil-soaked seal and birds. They just don’t toot their horns for all to hear. We can’t begin to count them…but God knows who they are, and the work they do certainly makes a HUGE difference in the lives of the oppressed, the brokenhearted, the poor, and yeah, even the trees and animals.From another optimist!

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  2. I firmly believe that the main problem hindering the North American church is our immense wealth. We never suffer! We never know want! Not really. One of our dear ones may die, but that’s not real suffering.–people die everywhere, every day. We may feel depressed, I’m not belittling that. But are we truly hungry ever? Are we ever tortured, kicked out of our homes, do we ever have to decide what is more important–food for our family or our morals? We don’t! We never suffer! We never actually have something to be depressed about!!So as a bloated church, we find things to attack to give us a reason to exist. If there is evil to fight, then we must fight it, right? But we fight things that threaten us here, that we can feel superior about.I say “we”. It is a portion of the church, part of our body, but not all of it. Truthfully, the war is being fought on quiet fronts by humble people who don’t draw too much attention to themselves. When one is laying down one’s life for the least of these, one doesn’t usually have time or energy to call a press meeting. I’ll put my lot in with the quiet soldiers and leave the blustering to others.

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  3. I think you took the poor comment a little out of context, Mr. Chronicler. Torah puts it this way: “There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your brothers and toward the poor and needy in your land.”-Deuteronomy 15:11Jesus put it this way: “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.” -John 12:8Neither of these suggests that we can’t fight poverty.Actually, they assert that we can. The first, a command from God to the chosen people, was that they had to fight poverty. The second, Jesus’ words, were not anywhere near “Nope”. They were a reprimand that they had plenty of time to fight poverty but had him just a little while. It was a matter of prioritizing.

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