In a day-n-age of consumer-friendly Jesus, handsome-leather-bound Purpose-Driven daily journals, coffee table study Bibles for men, women, sports fans, and arm-chair theologians, I have no vocation to sugar-coat the message that first called people to risk their lives just to go to church. So when I go to church and sniff on the breeze a whiff of namby-pamby pop-theology that has served a modern church, on whose watch divorce rates have soared, the pornography industry has taken over even the checkout stand at the grocery store, and pastors now endorse everything from abortions to alternative lifestyles while flying in and out of resorts in their private jets, I speak up and challenge the offerings.
I am no chaplain of empire, whether the merchant-friendly empire of global commerce or domination through military might. I will not pray with our soldiers on the boats before we invade with heavy weaponry, nor on the beaches after they are taken. Jesus did not say, “Take up your M-16 and follow me”; instead he said, “Take up your cross and follow me or you cannot be my disciple” (Matt. 16:24). How can I serve that other master that gives lip-service to this Jesus while making you feel better about killing the enemies he would have you love?
Apparently I am “blunt”. And it would seem that being blunt keeps me at arms-length from others with whom I should otherwise share unity. I don’t understand why.
I grew up as the son of a preacher, the grandson of another, and the nephew of still two others. I was socialized for church. But I also grew up as the red-headed step-child of the church, for every time my dad got fired (and every single time that happened, he was taking a stand for Jesus among Jesus-people), I got kicked down the road along with him. “Nice” is a farce. It’s not real. Church people put on a show, but they are not nice. I am a first-hand witness to the unpublished carnage.
I might be a bit cynical, but I am not bitter. I love the church. Every single thing I say and do is part of that love. We have a lot of nonsense to cut through. A lot of fake nice – to borrow from presidential rhetoric. Perhaps I should be sharp instead of blunt, since sharp cuts better than blunt. But blunt is the description I get from others.
I am not apologizing for it. This is barely an explanation at all.
Can I have patience? Sure. But that does not mean I won’t challenge.
So when I go to Bible class and hear a teacher suggest “It all boils down to attitude”, I am going to challenge that. That kind of teaching just keeps rubberstamping the status quo which is a world rushing headlong into destruction.
Think I exaggerate?
I have met numerous small children on the streets of Lubbock at midnight completely unattended by adult supervision. The breakdown of the family is deeply eroding society. Think about that. Babies in diapers running the streets at midnight in a conservative town like Lubbock, Texas! Just how long do you think society can keep going like this? How long will welfare, Medicaid, or any helping organization/institution be able to hold this together? 10 years? 20? 30???
And you were worried what the Democrats would do. You were worried about the Russians, the terrorists, the North Koreans. Ha! We are the enemy. This is LUBBOCK, TEXAS ya’ll! We are conservative here! If we are suffering this kind of carnage in Lubbock, just imagine what is happening on a far more grand scale in Los Angeles, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Chicago. Between the giant banks and investing firms and their greed, the dissolution of families in the projects, the breakdown of “the middle class”, and the KKK with their neo-Nazi friends, our society needs Jesus more than ever. The need is urgent. And it’s not a confused empire-compromised Jesus our world needs.
Where is the church in all this? Baptizing troops? Is your pastor browsing the porn sites when he could be opening the door of your church to the poor? How about you??? Is your nose just a little too buried in that handsome, leather-bound Purpose-Driven journal to open your door to the poor? Where did you think you would find Jesus?
Read Revelation 3:20 and then answer that question after. Not before.
And then pull out of that whore! (Rev. 18:4-5). And let’s get busy.