Hey friends, and after you read this article, some no longer friends. So I am sitting in my office enjoying some sunshine and coffee. Those are two of my favourite things! Not maybe in that order but they need to both appear for a 10/10 day. I am reminded of how our beautiful city is becoming more multi cultural, thusly making it more beautiful. I have really enjoyed watching our progression as Canadians welcoming people to Medicine Hat to learn about Canada and find their fit in our culture. I can’t wait until someone brings a falafel hut downtown! If you have the ability to do this, we need to talk!
Then I see a friend pop up in my messenger, which irritated me. He didn’t irritate me, I like the friend, but the video he asked me to watch irritated me. I watched a video put out by some dude in a cowboy hat calling for rallies against Islam. He stated some ridiculous stats, not backed up by anything tangible and wants 100’000 Americans to come to Canada to rally against … that part I am unclear of. I am all about a good rally! Like come on, I am a Christian, we love our out door church services, public baptisms and doing events to serve the community and show love and even the existence of Jesus today. But I am not cool with a rally that brings people together under the guise of hostility. I am REALLY not cool with it when that hostility has a God bless you at the end of it. The crazy thing is, I respect my friends who have solid views that they back up, even if I disagree with them. I love it, I learn from them all the time. Even in Christianity we all believe some very different things and that is ok!
Rallies aside here is what annoys me enough to write this, the underlying theological battle. Please please please, know that if you are hostile and aggressive in your Christianity, you are doing it wrong. Somewhere along the way you learned to read scripture upside down. This is not the God who loved the WHOLE world enough to send his son. AKA put on skin and show up to re-direct us to a life of love. Matthew 11:12 might help too. “And from the time John the Baptist began preaching until now, the Kingdom of Heaven has been forcefully advancing, and violent people are attacking it.” NLT. So why do we want to be the violent ones? Why use the tactics of an opposing army like Rome? Another topic for another day, I promise to get to that soon.
So if we do need to make someone an enemy, which we probably don’t need to do. But Jesus, our greatest peace advocate said in Luke 6:28 and Matthew 5:44 to love your enemies, and pray for those who mistreat you. Loving looks less like a rally and more like a hug to me. Even if that doesn’t work for you Paul tells us “ For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.” (Ephesians 6:12) Does that sound like a call to action? What might push the delete button on our friendship is that I don’t consider my Islamic friends my enemy… yea friends! Sorry North American Christianity I used the F word. I like people who aren’t exactly like me, I like people who make me think and continually re-establish my own faith. I like that a lot. As a pastor I don’t even read that many Christian books. I want to be challenged, it roots my faith deeper and causes my relationship with Jesus to become more real as I see where He is in the world around me.
If we need to pick someone to be against then we should choose to be against everyone who is different than us. They are as excited about what they believe as we are. How about anyone who is not of our same biblical views as you. Or those who believe something you can fight with some out of context scripture and a clever Facebook video. Let’s just keep it to people inside the church to be against in this post though. Vegans, people wearing cotton poly blends, those heathens with their tattoos, ladies who don’t wear head coverings to church, those who eat too much food and have weight problems or even ladies who dare talk in church. Let’s start those rallies too! I hope you caught the sarcasm. I kinda have tattoos and prominent spirit filled members of my church are vegans… and my wife is also the Sr Pastor… oops.
OOOORRRRRR As Christians why don’t we highlight what we are for, thats where the good stuff is. When we talk about what we are for we don’t have to assume we knew the context of every scripture we are quoting. I make more friends by simply loving people for being people that I do by pointing out what it is about them that doesn’t line up with my inturprutation of scripture. Heaven forbid someone wants to learn about Jesus. I hope our rallies and hatred doesn’t get in the way of them seeing the faith, hope and love that is Jesus.
Yea I get it, I over simplified the issue for you, I washed over all your main points. I guess that’s why I have a blog and the ability to write this in my spare time. With all that said, Jesus loves you no matter who you are and you are welcome at my church any day of the week! Except Monday, that’s my day off.