The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

In and Out of Step With Jesus

The title of an opinion column in the Birmingham News certainly caught my eye this morning. "Modern Christianity out of step with Jesus' teachings."

Ok, many of us have recognized this for years. Many of us have been driven away from churches or denominations for this reason. Many of us are appalled at the modern "church's" influence on society and politics. Many of us have found Jesus' teachings to be inspirational, along with the teachings of other spiritual leaders, and have learned to use them to guide our lives without the need to be controlled by a man pretending to be God (whether that is what many pastors and priests claim or not).

So this column by Leonard Pitts Jr. was a must read.

Pitts starts out by quoting Rev. Hayes Wicker of (no surprise) First Baptist Church of Naples, Florida, who called same sex marriage a "tremendous social crisis, greater even than the issue of slavery." Who is more insulted there? American blacks for whom our history is tainted with their sweat and blood, and without whom this country would never have reached the status that it did, or gays whose inequality is championed as being even worse?

Pitts says that remark is in step with much of modern Christianity, and I agree. One does not have to look far to find a preacher demonizing gays; local television one Sunday morning recently had a local church broadcast where a black pastor was sending gays to hell right and left.

Pitts quotes James Lawson, an icon of the civil rights movement, who supports gay rights, "The human rights issue is not a single issue. It is about all humankind. And all humankind has been endowed with certain inalienable rights." Responding to the Wicker quote, Lawson said "Obviously he does not know anything about 250 years of slavery or the 143 years since slavery as the nation has largely failed to deal with the issue of slavery and its consequences...And he knows even less about the gospel of Jesus."

I will continue to quote Lawson. "Much of Christianity in the United States has been more influenced by violence and sexism and racism and greed than by the teachings of Jesus."


Pitts closes with "Lawson is out of step with modern Christianity. Thank God someone is."

OK. But Lawson is not getting the headlines, Jeremiah Wright is. Gee, if we study the teachings of Jesus and begin to apply them to America, we might just realize that Wright's sermons irritate us not because they are so radically anti-American, but because they expose the truth. America is embarrassed by much of its history (as well it should be) and we have a strong desire to ignore that which pains or embarrasses us.

I for one am glad Rev. Wright has begun to explain his statements. Listen and learn, America.


Anonymous said...

Thanks, Joe. I agree with your comments 100%. Though I wish that Jeremiah would tone it down just a bit at least for Obama's sake, I am appalled that while much of what comes from the pulpits these days is just pure and simple hatred for gays, "liberals," and those who choose to live by the social gospel. Those so-called churches actually hand-out prepared advance ballot endorsements for the right wing. Talk about politics from the church! Somehow, though, it seems those quasi-self ordained John the Baptist's, don't seem to get the attention of the media. I for one will not apologize for Rev. Wright, as he does not need one!

Daniel Calloway

Anonymous said...

Amen on the Rev, Wright part!

Anonymous said...

Wright is wrong.
Lawson is right.
Get outside of the born-agains and southern baptists and you will find very little hostility toward gays.

Anonymous said...

Wright may be wrong about some things, but he is right in saying we are a terrorist nation. Any country that is founded on terror (ask the native Americans in the 16th and 17th centuries), enslaves other humans for 250 years, and starts unjust wars (Iraq)is terrorist.
As for the hostility toward gays, you left out Catholics and many non-denominational fundamentalists (well I guess the born agains qualify for that).

Anonymous said...

So if someone believes the Bible that homosexuality is wrong, then that makes them hostile? I dont understand why Gays want everyone to be tolerant of their beliefs but yet they don't want to be tolerant of what others believe. I am Catholic. I believe the Bible plainly teaches that homosexuality is wrong. I'm not hostile. That is just the way I believe.

Anonymous said...

I've been to various churches around Bham - mostly "evangelical" - and have never experienced pre-printed ballots being handed out.

There is much demagoguery in the church today, no doubt. You can take comfort in the fact that God will handle that situation.

On the other hand, a preacher does not send gays to hell. Sin takes care of that. Because of that it is so very important to deliver the message of reconciliation to God through Jesus Christ!

Have a great day,


Joe said...

Anonymous. I love this country, and we are seeing more acceptance of gays on a daily basis.

We are not forcing anything down anyone's throats, but it is important for children to understand so that gay kids quit killing themselves. Search my blog more and you will find more about that.

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