I’m starting to think, that as a church, we don’t believe in following the core teachings of Christ nor his example. Follow the prophet…sure. But, follow Jesus?
Minister to the “Least“
I love the Savior’s parable about the preeminent importance of reaching out to “the least of these.” Over the past 3 years, I have become associated with more and more members who are on the margins. Rather than minister, we reject them. We ignore them. We silence them. We force them to pursue their journey in pain and loneliness. We bury our heads in the sand. According to this beautiful parable, Christ would say to us, “Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.”
“Protect the Good Name of the Church“
As a church leader, I heard this phrase many times. I heard it again yesterday.
No way is this the embodiment of Christ’s example. The babe was born in a lowly manger. On a starry night. Filled with peace and light. But…he didn’t remain a helpless babe. He grew into the wise, powerful and OUTSPOKEN adult, whose life and teachings we worship. At least, we say we worship.
Where did He ever command, suggest or intimate that protecting the good name of the church was even a thing? Never. Instead, he called out the very top leaders of His church in unequivocal and embarrassing terms. Here is a sampling of Christ’s words spoken directly to the church leaders of his time: Fools. Hypocrites. Blind guides. Whited sepulchers. Murderers. Generation of vipers. In one chapter alone, he called the leaders hypocrites seven times. Openly expressing disdain for these men, their traditions and their policies was a glaring hallmark of His ministry.
Suppose Jesus lived among us today. If he were to openly criticize the church leaders in the same manner, He’d be excommunicated from His own restored church. Much like He was 2,000 years ago. Excommunicated by crucifixion, at the instigation of the highest leaders of the very church that He had founded through Moses.
Christ did not author the sentiment, “Protect the Good Name of the Church.” He exemplified the exact opposite. So, who is the author? Where is it found in scripture? Where is it found in doctrine? If our doctrine does endorse it, then our doctrine condemns the very Babe from Bethlehem whom we claim to follow. I’m pretty sure Satan condemns the Babe from Bethlehem, too.
I have been told not speak out about the wrongs in our church. I have been told to shut up and sustain the leaders. I have been told not to criticize church policies. Finally, many have said that if I continue on my current path, I’ll be excommunicated.
The next time any of these sentiments are expressed, this will be my response:
“I love you, my friend. Apparently you and I worship a different Jesus Christ.”