“I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to practice a Christian faith that says this is all there is to belief.”
I said this in a conversation with a Christian leader, but I don’t think he heard me.
It has been said for years but much of the North American church was probably in a business meeting.
I have said it in nearly every conversation via text message and in emails, over FaceTime and while in Zoom meetings.
When persons ask me about the state or the future of Christianity, I’ve been consistent in saying, “This can’t be what Jesus died for.”
My conclusion won’t change. I will not give the North American church the benefit of the doubt when it has claimed to be so sure of things, so right about everything.
The salvation offered through Jesus the Christ is not the saving of your favorite things, your way of doing things.
I don’t even have the energy to get my hopes up anymore and have no desire to put up a fight.
Spats, votes and splits, is that it? Is that all the North American church has to offer to younger generations? This is your story, and you want millennials (Generation Y) and Generation Z to stick to it?
Is there nothing more to being a Christian than division, separating, drawing and towing lines? Still settling scores, still waging wars?
What else is Christianity used for? Is that all Christian believers in North America have to give and have to offer the world? Because that is the public witness. It is what Christians are most known for.
We are known for being hypocrites. For talking about Jesus who did one thing and then hiding behind his cross to do another.
No accountability – save parking lot meetings, Christianity has been reduced to another holier-than-them club with membership dues and weekly activities.
We remove the Holy Spirit’s work by committee. We work the Scriptures until they work for us and do our bidding.
Denominations pass resolutions and then resolve to do nothing and nearly all are declining. Getting grayer and older, why can’t they see that this is not “fighting the good fight”? Don’t they know that if they don’t put their pointing fingers down this faith won’t have a fighting chance?
Sure, you can continue to spiritualize and then weaponize it. It’s been done before and it will be done again and again – unless we interrupt the story. We need to say, “I’ve heard this one before.”
This is why our gospel goes so well with capitalism, militarism, nationalism and sexism, why it supports our belief in race, our traditions of hate, props up patriarchal systems and keeps the status quo in place. Because being baptized with Christ, that troubled water made no difference, if we got up and were able to get back in place.
What is the point of being a Christian if it makes no difference to us first? What exactly are we confessing, baptizing, blessing, commissioning, teaching and preaching? What are we even saying if it is no different than the American empire?
The church in North America is not really doing what Jesus would do. Good marketing, the question is stuck on bracelets but it’s not on the tip of our tongues.
Because Jesus wouldn’t silence women, tell them not to speak in his name. Jesus never stuffed her mouth with scriptures or treated her as if a second-class citizen in the “kin-dom” of God.
You must have him confused with his disciples who questioned, though not aloud, why he was talking to a Samaritan woman.
Talking to a woman, he was on the wrong side of the battle of the sexes (Matthew 4:27). Because Jesus “wouldn’t be caught dead” with a woman though they were (and remain) his disciples, the benefactors and principal supporters of his ministry, right?
Jesus did not dismiss or discount women. But gender bias, sexism and patriarchy do.
Also, Jesus didn’t enslave anyone. Jesus didn’t kidnap, rape, murder and pillage in order to spread God’s love. But European colonialism and socially colored white supremacist terrorism empowered by hundreds of years of the so-called Enlightenment’s theories did.
Yes, Jesus talked about exclusion; it’s in the same chapter on judging: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:22).
So, what is the North American church doing exactly to serve the spiritual and social needs of the LGBTQ+ community?
Women in ministry, slavery and LGBTQ+ inclusion continue to divide the North American church, and we’ve got to talk about it. Meetings and more divisions are not the answers I’m looking for.