Lumped In.

I hate being lumped in.

I just don’t like sharing that name “Christian” with some of the other folks who call themselves Christian.  We seem to have some different opinions on what that name means.

  • I watch people on some news channel claiming to speak for the entirety of Christianity, and I can’t help but think –“You ain’t speaking for me!”
  • I’ll hear about young people becoming atheists, and talking about all the bad things the church has done — money grubbing, hypocrisy, clergy with no boundary training, intolerance, etc., and I’ll think –“Hey, that’s not my Christianity!”
  • I’ll read articles about how the church in America has failed in so many ways, and I’ll think — “Look at all my church accomplished this week.  We’re trying! We’re really trying.”
  • I’ll see a report about some church making a decree or taking a stand that is, in my opinion, against everything Jesus would do, and I’ll think –“Why would I want to be associated with them?”

Now, if you’re a critical reader, you may have figured out that some of these criticisms, especially hypocrisy, DO apply to myself and most Christians. Sometimes a lot. No church is perfect, as an institution or as a movement.

We have so much work to do.

But that doesn’t change the fact that some churches do things that, (at least from my Christian perspective), are reprehensible. Not just irresponsible or misguided, but dangerous and damaging.

Things like claiming an earthquake or 9/11 was God punishing certain people.  Or treating women as subservient, second class citizens.  That kind of stuff drives me crazy.  Your criteria may be different.

I wonder. To keep us from being lumped in with Christians that give us fits, should we abandon the name all together?

Call me a Jesian, or a Christ-Follower, or part of the J-Crew (well probably not that last one), just don’t compare me to such-and-such Church as if we’re saying and doing the same thing.

I don’t know.  There are a great many other denominations that I see acting in integrity, mission, and purpose.  I want to be connected to them.

But there are some others out there I’d very much like to disassociate from.

Until we can all truly agree on what it means to follow Jesus as individuals, institutions, and movements, maybe we’re better off not being lumped into one category.

But who knows?  In 50 years believers may go by lots of different names.

I’m not planning to arm-wrestle somebody over who gets to use the name Christian…

That’s not the sort of thing we Jesusites would do.

 

Have a great week,

Mitch

H(illary)(tr)UMP DAY

28736470374_f9fbe46dfe_b

It was the worst of times, it was the even worster of times.

Nice grammar, huh?  But that’s kind of how I feel about the 2016 Presidential Election.

It was a time that seemed to bring out the worst in everybody.  Finger-pointing, nit-picking, lies, and immorality.

And that was just Facebook.

Debates that seemed to unfold like boxing matches.  Media feeding Americans’ insatiable desire for more dirt, more drama.

Everyone was drawn in the fray.  This election became personal for women and men, well-educated and less-educated, Latinos, African Americans, veterans, the working class, and so on.

Over the past month I’ll admit I became obsessed.  Every hour on the hour I found myself checking various news sites to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

But I did miss, quite a lot.

I missed civility.  I missed unity.  I missed a constructive exchange of ideas.

I missed out on several good night’s sleep.

I missed verifiable truth.  I missed the America I love.

I wonder…will it ever be the same, here?  Have we burned ourselves too badly with all the nastiness?

I hope not. I hope…for something more.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.   –Jeremiah 29:11-13

This is how we get over the HUMP of H(illary) + (tr)UMP

By focusing our attention where it should never stray.  On The Lord, the one true source of our Hope.

I’ll keep that in mind as I watch election results tonight.  This is an important moment in our country, but there is never a day — not even Election Day — when God is not at work in us and through us, and even through people who don’t vote like us.

So rejoice, friends!

Today is election Tuesday.

Thank God tomorrow is over-the-HUMP day.

Have a great week,

Mitch

maxresdefault-1