*This was originally written in August 2016*
Dear Progressive Church, My Friends,
I can look you square in the face and tell you all of the reasons why we shouldn’t drive faster than the speed limit. I know it increases mortality rates. But yeah, I just got a speeding ticket for going 15 miles over the speed limit a couple of weeks ago so… So my point is, what I am about to write about isn’t something I’ve perfected. In fact, I think I’m actually pretty horrible at this and I want you to know I’m really not saying that to sound humble. But I’ve been feeling really convicted to write about it. This is one of those pieces that I just can’t shake. So here it is.
I avoided Christianity for years because I didn’t like Christians. They seriously annoyed the heck out of me. How can people be so exclusive? How can people be so judgmental? ESPECIALLY people who claim to follow Jesus, a man who radiated love and inclusiveness. A man who effortlessly loved the outcasts and the marginalized. The outcasts of our day, the LGBTQ community, immigrants, people of color, muslims, etc., are seeming to receive no such love from the church. How can a group of self-proclaimed Jesus followers be so hateful to those groups of people?? It makes my blood boil. I’ll stop there but let tell you, I could go on for paragraphs about this.
I don’t think I’m alone here. I’ve heard many of my progressive Christian friends and even pastors talk down about this group of people. We are harsh when we remind them that the only people Jesus was harsh to were the Pharisees. We rally ourselves around this and claim that we will not be like them.
Now, I’m going to write about the part I don’t want to write about. The part where I admit what is probably quite obvious to outsiders. Wait for it, it’s going to sting. Take a deep breath: We’re projecting.
The Pharisees were the judgmental, exclusive, rule-obsesesed religious folk of Jesus’ day. Somehow, this has given us license to exclude, judge, and maybe even hate the Pharisees of our day. This is not ok. We are doing to them, the same thing that they are doing to the “least of these.” My fellow liberal Christians, we have to figure out a way to extend love to this group and here are a couple of reasons why. Continue reading