This past week so many posts flooded my news feed about recent Supreme Court decisions. Most were fair, balanced, compassionate, and loving, regardless if the author agreed with the Court. Yet, one of many posts by people in ‘Christian’ leadership in particularly caught my eye, as it did not fit the paradigm of compassionate and loving. He was not alone in his fear mongering, but he is the face of it today.
Rev. Mark Barclay it seems has an international following. So much so, that he raised money off the backs of hard-working people to buy a personal jet, followed by another fundraiser to raise $79,000 to have it repainted. I guess he bought it used. In my opinion, as a Christian well aware of the extensive needs in the world, no one living off donations has a need for a private jet. Period. That just seems crazy to me. But that’s a whole other discussion.
Especially in light of our pastor’s sermon on Sunday, the post by Rev. Barclay that caught my eye fails in so many ways. Simply put, it completely lacks an understanding of the Gospel and the teachings of Jesus. ‘The church’ doesn’t need ‘chicken little’ church leaders. It needs leaders who truly embrace the Gospel.
Those sucked in by this kind of leadership are often sheltered Christians who never get outside of their Christian bubbles. We need to know AND love those outside of Christianity. Too often Christians adopt the posture of fear and avoidance or antagonism. That is not the example Jesus gave us.
Jesus was driven by compassion. The Pharisees told him the godless and immoral were destroying the nation. Yet, Jesus ate with those godless people. In ancient culture that was equal to forming a business arrangement, giving approval, and establishing a relationship. Christianity is not an insiders club or the moral police. Rather, it’s throwing a banquet for ALL. Just as Jesus received sinners and ate with them. That’s the heart of the Father.
Our posture should be hopeful. Not fearful. Avoiding questions, or fighting is too often the posture. We should expect people to disagree with Christianity. Don’t be surprised by that or fearful. God is in charge. That has already been established. “It is finished.”
(Barclay: “Today I witnessed the beginning of the end. That’s right—the Supreme Court showed itself not so supreme today in its ruling on gay marriage. I see it as the sinners being legalized to overcome the Church and the truths of the New Testament Church (God’s Word).” Someone doesn’t know God IS in control. Really, he thinks anyone can ‘overcome the Church?’ He doesn’t know my God. Perfect love (God) casts out all fear.
We are called to live a humble life. God humbled himself when he entered humanity. Jesus extended honor to Levi and shamed himself (in the culture of the day) when he ate with him. Mark 2:13-17. That’s our example. He humbled himself to lift others up. We are called to surrender our needs and rights. We need to be ready to listen rather than fight. My prayer is that this great ‘apocalypse’ will force us to be humble and move us to compassion.
(Barclay: “It may be just my opinion, but it seems the justices today turned their back on the Church and gave permission for others to persecute us. Prepare yourself, Christian. I don’t see how you will stop the open persecution from progressing against the Church and what we stand for. They now have high court decision with which to go after us.”) Again, what God does he serve? A pretty impotent one it seems. Sad.
Jesus was more excited to be with sinners than the pious and religious people. We need to be friends with people who may never believe. Our job is to love and know people. Not be in their face telling them they are wrong. Our love and compassion will point people to our hope. Everyone is made in God’s image. We need to accept people as they are. When you meet the needs of people, they will see the face of God. It’s hard to argue with that.
(Barclay: “I’m not sure this won’t bring a horrible judgment on America. First we legalize killing babies in our mothers’ wombs (about 60,000,000 now), and now this. How long do we think we can mock God and still have his protection and blessing upon us? God, please forgive us for our sins!”)
Yes, Lord please forgive us. Forgive us for not having a loving, compassionate spirit. Please forgive our arrogance, our gluttony, and our lack of concern for others. Forgive us for focusing on things that distract us from your heart. Forgive us for not helping the poor and needy. Forgive our laziness and our selfishness, and our prosperous ease. We as a country have more than we need, while there is so much need and suffering in the world. Real suffering right outside our door.
Forgive us for worrying. Help us to consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds! “And which of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’s span? “If then you cannot do even a very little thing, why do you worry about other matters?
Most of all forgive us for our lack of love and interest in knowing people. People that bear your image.
And when all is said and done, “God presides over a universe that spans billions of light years and includes millions of galaxies and planets. He is outside time and has existed forever. I don’t know if He is discouraged or surprised by the actions of a country that has existed for 239 years and only makes up 4% of the world’s population. I think God is bigger than that.” He is definitely bigger than that.