Being a Christian Doesn’t Mean We Can Act Like A***oles

My Good Friday began with a conversation with a mother who adopted an African-American baby.

She was telling me that her son, now pre-school age, was asking about church and wanted to take him to a church. Only that her son has two mothers and knows that her family is not welcomed everywhere. She asked if they would be welcomed in our church.

And I was completely honest with her. I told her that she and her family will be whole-heartedly and fully embraced, welcomed, accepted by me — that I can guarantee 100%. I told her that our church would be welcoming — but don't know what will happen after. Because it's possible that someone from my church will love them; but expect them to “change” — to leave behind their decades together and become heterosexual folks (to which I began to wonder — is that “welcoming”?)

But I'm not writing this to talk about this issue — and won't approve comments dealing with this issue in the comments section — regardless of what side you're on.

She wanted to ask me if her family would be welcomed at our church because of a run-in with her neighbor who is a devout church goer and Christian.

He told them (in the presence of their child) that they were “N***** loving D****.”

I don't know the context this was said in. But whatever the context — that's not never okay. No matter what you believe or what side you may fall on this issue or any issue, being mean; using slurs… just not okay.

Maybe the mothers were in the wrong and upset the Christian neighbor — but to me, that kind of hate and use of slurs can never be justified. Especially to utter those words in presence of an innocent child. What does it solve? How's that redeeming? How's that Christlike? How is that loving someone the way Christ has loved us?

I fully understand that we are passionate about social issues and theology and ideology. I appreciate passion. It lets us know that we are alive. But we can discuss; debate; argue; converse without being jerks. Just because we may be assured of our salvation doesn't give us the license to be jerks. After all, we are called to love.

I have to admit, I was angry all Good Friday long. It wasn't until the near end of Good Friday service where I let go of my anger. We have a tradition of taking flash paper, symbolically laying our brokenness on it, nail it to the cross, and watch the paper (and our brokenness) go up in a flash, leaving no trace of the paper (and our brokenness) behind. As I began to nail my flash paper, I realized my own brokenness and darkness. I realized that, sure I may not use degrading slurs — but that I am jerk in many other ways. That I am not innocent; that I, too, have done harm.

I can't control what people say or do — but I can control what I say and do.

Shane Claiborne wrote that we could be the only Jesus someone may ever see/encounter.

And though I (will) fail quite often, I need to continue to try to be the best representative; the best ambassador for Christ that I am called to by

doing no harm, doing good, and stay in love with God.


6 thoughts on “Being a Christian Doesn’t Mean We Can Act Like A***oles

  1. Great post.

    Several years ago I gave up complaining for lent. I’m a verbal processor so there were many times during those six weeks that I found myself frustrated or annoyed (I was also jumping through a bunch of the ordination hoops, so there was ample opportunity for frustration). Since I couldn’t complain about it to others, I was trying to work through it in my head. I frequently found myself asking the question, “Why does this really bother me so much?” and the answer was often something like, “It feels disrespectful of my time.” or some other equally basic thing. It was a very humbling lent as I realized all the times my actions (though different actions) probably had a very similar frustrating result in other people’s lives. It really is easier to see the brokenness in others than it is in ourselves. Maybe because we experience the pain caused by the wounds other people’s brokenness leaves in our lives and we don’t always realize the pain we are causing to other people.

    1. thanks for your comment, but I couldn’t get over the fact that you gave up complaining over Lent DURING your ordination process… I wouldn’t have survived if I couldn’t complain while jumping through those hoops!

      But sincerely, thanks for sharing.

  2. Joseph, you are right. There is never a time when this type of comment is appropriate for anyone, much less a supposed “follower of Christ.” May we all strive to faithfully represent Jesus in all that we do and say.

  3. Thank you for posting this. I appreciate your openness and honesty. And I appreciate the way you extended grace to the person who had been turned away by a church person. It is so sad when we choose not to extend grace to someone we don’t agree with. “gasp, that person won’t know they’re a sinner!” – I thought that convicting of sin was the Holy Spirit’s job, not mine…

  4. Great post, bro! Some great thoughts… hopefully my community will feel as welcoming and loving rather than discouraging. No excuse for us to not be more loving.

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