Rev. Rich Lang
Instead of giving money to false prophets this Easter, think like Jesus and practice some tough love
If Jesus were still in his grave, he’d be rolling over in agony wondering why he even bothered to share the revolutionary news that God is a loving presence who has the power to tame violence and redeem the chaos that evil creates. These last couple weeks have been rough for Christianity. Seattle’s own superstar Mark “Macho Man” Driscoll, founder of Mars Hill Church, has been exposed as the abusive character his theology would imply, now that church elders are pursuing “corrective actions” against him after a church leader alleged misconduct. Joel “Slick Dude” Osteen, televangelist of the Lakewood Church in Lakewood, Texas, has had to explain why more than $600,000 was stolen from a religious revival at the mega-church last month. Think about that: To what purpose was that money supposed to be directed?
Here’s the thing. We live in a culture where 400 people have more wealth than 150 million Americans. But the followers of Jesus can’t bring themselves to admit that such an economic system is corrupt, evil and causes death. This way of life requires permanent war against other nations and increased militarized policing against our own, but the followers of Jesus simply won’t confess that such a system is demonic, a perversion of love.
We live in a culture that thinks it’s just fine to blow off mountaintops and rip apart the earth, cracking its layers even at the expense of continued human existence. But the followers of Jesus can’t muster the backbone to even whisper the word “repent.”
The liberal minority of the church occasionally squeaks out a protesting voice now and then. But who cares? Seattle’s liberal churches are politically useless given their aging members and decline in attendance. They’re morally irrelevant because they refuse to actually live in a way so that we can threaten the powers that oppress us.
And that’s the point. The Easter message of Jesus is that God so loves the world that those who are recipients of this love become freed from their fear of death. The recipients are transformed in their attitudes, actions, thoughts, words and deeds. They become, in fact, more like Jesus, whose love was so deep that he took the side of the poor, the excluded, the shamed and the have-nots. The love was so deep that it exposed the corruption, and rallied others to resist it. The cost of this love was crucifixion and being called a political terrorist and a threat to society. All of which is true. Anyone who loves the world must resist the forces and people who hurt the world.
But in churches there is a deafening silence. The followers of Jesus want therapy to help them adjust to the perverted normalcy of civilization. They pay good money to buffoons like Driscoll and Osteen to help them adjust. But what is needed is training in how to look good on wood.What is needed is a solid foundation concerning the content of love. In other words, God is on the side of the poor.
Whose side are you on?
CommentsRight on the button as always Rich.
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