Church attendance is in steep decline and it has been for quite a few years. Church leaders respond by preaching sermons, writing books, releasing pod casts blaming the culture, media, the public school system, politicians, everyone and everything but themselves and their congregants. Yet, if any one group has done more to confuse the non-believer, and turn off the pagan, and anger the godless, it is believers themselves. What follows is an incomplete list of things we do/say that has driven thousands from the grace of God.
First, we call them heathen, non-believers, pagans, and godless. There are many “pagans” who are believers in gods, goddesses, or spirit beings. And there are multitudes more that believe in a monotheistic god/goddess. To classify people in these pejorative terms is to trivialize their belief system, thus turning them off to what you have to say. Paul didn’t do it in Rome and neither should we in America.
Secondly, calling ourselves values voters, and our political party of choice, a party of values. The implication here is that everyone that does not hold to a particular belief on abortion, or marriage equality, or LGBT rights is not a values voter. The majority of people in this country hold to some sort of values. Those values may also include a concern for how the poor, marginalized and disenfranchised are treated by the larger society. Other values may include a burden and passion against how we rape and pillage the creation, or how we treat and care for the sick or the immigrant. To overtly or covertly imply that only me or my church are “concerned” about values (which consist of only two or three) is to sound bombastic and prideful.
Thirdly, only what you or your group believe about the “family” is pro-family. This phrase attacks and minimizes single parent families, families where grandparents/aunts/uncles/other relatives and friends may be raising children not biologically their own. It also degrades the families of gay and lesbian couples. All those people groups would consider themselves pro-family as well. It would be better to identify yourself and your church as pro-nuclear family, which, by the way, is just one type of family in Scripture.
Finally, at least for this post, being hypocritical. This aspect of fundamentalism is particularly loathsome to those who do not call themselves Christian. Here are a couple of examples. A morbidly obese pastor preaching against the abomination of “the ho-mo-sex-ulls” yet has no problem/restraint eating half a dozen donuts, a double quarter pound value meal, and a pint of ice cream on a nearly daily basis. Or how about the “value voter” voting against a President because said President agrees with the constitutionality of equal rights for all American citizens (LGBT included) and then voting for a candidate that lies ( an abomination according to Proverbs), and believes that his destiny is to be a god some day (an abomination according to the Ten Commandments).
Read, as I close, my translation of the words of Jesus being spoken again to my brothers and sisters in Christ…
“They tie up rules. regulations, judgments, and condemnations hard to bear and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to offer words or deeds of encouragement, comfort or love…
Woe to you right-wing fundamentalists and civil religionists, hypocrites! For you slam shut the door to the Kingdom of Heaven in people’s faces and stand guard over it with your pontifications and pronouncements, not even realizing that in blocking the “sinner” from entering, you yourselves will not enter either.
Woe to you blind zealots of a “turn or burn” works saturated religion. You travel far and wide to win souls for a Savior you claim to follow and then those followers become twice the children of hell you are as they initiate their countries laws and rules that imprison, kill, and destroy marginalized people.
Woe to you, facades of righteousness. You make sure you tithe a tenth of your income, sing ancient “christian” hymns, and only read an antiquated Bible translation, but you forget the reason that I came in the first place. I came to offer unconditional love, mercy, forgiveness, and unlimited grace and it was what you were called to do too.
Woe to you beautifully polished white mausoleums of death.”
God have mercy on us.
15 thoughts on “How To Turn “Heathen” Away From Jesus.”
Mark, I think it is so sad when people “judge” others, instead of getting on with their own lives and seeing their own faults, they just love to condemn, critisize and put others down.
It made me really sad to discover recently that certain people I know were just like this, they see something which they do not like and go all out to voice their opinions without thinking of the feelings of those whom it concerns.
I have some really lovely friends in the LGBT – the nicest folk you could ever want to meet, they do so many good things, quietly, without any fuss, have done so , so , much for our Church – for me, for so many others (including those who choose to critisize) and , it breaks my heart to realise that some people do not see that – instead they choose to think differently
Looking at others through the eyes of Jesus – in love,
That is all Jesus asks us to do to love, not condemn, point the finger, belittle.
I wish “Churches” would grasp this more – it is the real meaning of Christianity.
Hope you are feeling more yourself too!
Thank you, I am feeling a bit on the upside the last few days. And thanks too for you comments. They are true and convicting as well. I love the line you wrote….
“looking at others through the eyes of Jesus- in love”
that is what is all about. Peace to you and thank you for your love and prayers.
I so agree with this, christians do far more harm to the church than anyone else, particularly with the ” I’m saved you@re not ” statements which exclude and destroy
Thank you for reading and thanks for commenting too. “Church” should not be this way.
I think the issue is we Christians are not fully convinced of our own faith. We don’t truly take Jesus at His word. We ask how far do we need to take his words on peacemaking and turning the other cheek. We ask do we tithe off of our gross or net income. We ask what is the minimum we can give and still be considered a Christ follower. Instead of asking, how can I fully live out the forgiveness, mercy, love of Christ.
Until we become fully convinced of Christ’s love for us and that his teachings actually work in this world, the world will never see the need to follow Christ.
Your words are true. Thanks my friend.
Wonderful thoughts here Leanne, thanks for commenting. Peace to you.
I’m a believer, and the church has nearly driven me away with all of the issues you cite above. I’m tired of hearing that, because I’m a “liberal” my Christianity is inferior, my values aren’t good enough, and I don’t believe the “right way.” Personally, I believe that James had it right: “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” I was in a Bible discussion one day about the last sentence, and I suggested that to really grasp it, replace the word “faith” with “love.” If your love is all in your mind, it doesn’t do much good; you have to say it, act it, live it for anyone else to believe that you love them. The best statement on spreading the gospel is still St. Francis’ : “Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words.”
Thank you fro reading….some great thoughts to ponder from your words as well. Peace to you.
Awesome post. I really don’t know why other Christians treat people this way, other than the point that they believe in interpreting scripture verse by verse (cherry picking) and when you do that, yes those verses can be translated out of context to condemn people (IE gays). But that is not what is intended. My stepdad is one of them… he contacted me the other day to warn me that I am endangering myself by believing in equal rights and unconditional love and acceptance for all. That I am not believing RIGHT and I risk going to hell for my beliefs… but he did express the “willingness” to understand my POV in a biblical sense, so I sent it to him. I told him why his comprehension that I was doomed was wrong, and why what he was doing was even more wrong, and why it is not my place to say whether or not a homosexual is going to hell or not (thought I feel they are not going to hell for being gay)… I gave him what he asked for – an extremely, in context biblical answer of why I believe this way… and he shut it out. He just pulled the “older and wiser” card and disagreed with me.
Just wanted to add – every point and answer I gave, I quoted the scripture that backed it up, and he still just ignored it.
Sarah thanks for your comments. I also am sorry that your step-father is not willing to really listen. he hears what you say but does not listen to what you say, He is not really interested to learning and changing, rather he is interested in knowing enough of what you believe to refute and argue. Just keep praying that the Holy Spirit will open his eyes and heart to understand grace. That is what I do for many of my friends that hate what I believe and what I stand for. And I ask God to help me extend unconditional love to them as well.Peace to you my friend.
After reading your article and the comments I have to wonder just where you are coming from. Are we to just “love” everyone and not call sin what it is? Of course we are do all we can to bring people, all people, into the Kingdom; but we must agree with God;s Word and call sin what it is, sin. Is homosexuality sin? The Bible plainly says it is. Is abortion sin? According to Scripture it certainly is. It is obvious that you support Obama, who supports both of these. How you can do that is beyond me.
Thanks for reading and writing,
I do not disagree with you that sin is real and it is responsible for the brokenness of humanity, It is the very reason Jesus came to vanquish sin and it’s power over us, That being said, it is not the responsibility for believers to point out the sin of anyone outside the church. Jesus didn’t command it and neither did the writers of the NT. You will not find any admonition for us to condemn, judge, ridicule, dismiss, or demean anyone.
As far as supporting the President, I do, Why? Because he seeks equal rights for ALL Americans according to the Constitution.. he seeks to stand in the gap and protect the poor, the disenfranchised, the immigrant, the elderly, those without basic health care and for the general well being of all Americans. Thus, not being a two issue voter as so many of my fellow Evangelicals, I will vote for him again in November,
Peace to you,
I think religion corrupts spirituality. For many of the reasons you’ve stated in your post as well as others is why I walked away from Christianity. Since doing so, I’ve never felt more free and, dare I say, happy and joyful. No longer are my core beliefs at odds with what I was being taught in the “church”. Peace, at last.
thanks for commenting. I have heard the same thing from many of my friends similar stories of how walking away from Christianity freed them to really live. I am sorry that you could not have found the freedom and joy within Christianity. But I am happy that you have found freedom and peace in your life. Thank you too for reading my blog as well. Peace to you.