Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Crux: The Point Where Reality Overtakes Fiction

I was just reading my brother's blog today and he came across a marvelous quote from Martin Luther King Jr. I have decided to dedicate a blog to it.

"I must honestly reiterate that I have been dissapointed with the Church, I do not say this as one of those negative critics who can always find something wrong with the Church . I say this as a minister of the gospel, who loves the church....I felt we would be supported by the white church. I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents, refusing to understand the freedom movement and misrepresenting its leaders; all too many others have been more cautious than courageous and have remained silent behind the anesthetizing security of stained-glass windows." - Martin Luther King Jr.

"I like this passage because it demonstrates the philosophy that "every brother ain't a brother." King and his followers were going through the toughest challenge of their lives while the people they thought were friends turned their back and said nothing; more importantly they did nothing. I think it's a good lesson." - John Bird

Strong quotes about the state of the church, like 40 years ago! Funny these are the same churches today (Southern Baptists & the Religious Right) that both defend war with Iraq and support anything for the 'Nationalistic' pride of God, which I never knew he had. I will paint this with an all too familiar brush from the past so we can see what beloved Christian religion is steeped in, and it ain't no rock I can tell you that...more like waves of ambiguity.

King Jr. was a minister of the gospel of Christ, no more than that...he lived it out. When civil rights was in it's beginnings King Jr. took his beliefs and joined the rally, even led it. He knew that 'all men were created equal' and that segregation was an oppressive force leading to the ruin of African-American neighborhoods. So he sat at the counter's and ate with African-American students, lead peaceful marches through the south, decided to ride the bus with Rosa, got hounded, persecuted, arrested, and thrown in jail by police, and even gave his life to the movement...all he wanted wanted was freedom. What did the church do? Well some came out but by his own admission '"I felt that the white ministers, priests and rabbis of the South would be among our strongest allies. Instead, some have been outright opponents" (King Jr.)

So the southern church never backed the equality of the African-American, I wonder why? Doesn't Christ teach us that we are all equal? Does Jesus love some races more than others? Is the church 'middle-class' white folk who don't give 2 dimes to the impoverished? It's funny but I see the hypocrisy of the church in this enlightened age where we are 100% sure that God never thought one race was better than the other. Southern church never expected one thing, God would call upon them to 'take up the cross' and walk to their shame, persecution, and possibly death for fellow brothers in Christ. Why did they not expect it? They had money and respect amongst their peers, to do so would mean forfeiting that stuff to be shamed amongst their communities. They may have debated over 'God or money', we don't know, but we stand here today knowing they backed the wrong side.

I guess the real 'rub' in the story is why didn't more southern white church folk stand up and 'condemn' their fellow brothers & sisters for being 'un-godly'? And fear being thrown out of the community of God also, can I hear a 'hell no'. These people self-justified that they were doing God's will and that doing 'social justice' was just not gospel, it was anti-gospel or so they must of taught (or just turned a blind eye). Where was the voices of reason in an unreasonable generation? The voices of reason were tried alone & died alone...King Jr., Evers, and many others. Don't you think we as a church need to 'speak up' against social ill's like this that plague humanity? Don't we think Christ just might of took up the cross and followed along? WWJD?

I find it absolutely appaling when churches let things slide out of control around them when they have the right (I might say duty) to lend a helping hand. They talk a damn good game about salvation but when the act is called for in modernity 'few there be that follow'.

I just finished learning about a Mormon commune called Bountiful, it's in BC somewhere. This community not only promotes in-breeding, polygamy, deism, but also child abuse (marrying off 15 year olds to 50 year olds). Now I got to wondering if the the local church in the town (within walking distance) has something to say for that situation? Now I can let go the polygamy, in-breeding, and deism but 'child abuse'...well I think they drew a line that we have to 'cross'. Or 'live and let live' and God will sort justice out in the end? I got 1 word for that, bullsh*t.

The church has a duty to go down to Bountiful, at least the church in that nearby town, and at least present choices and options to these oppressed teens. So what if these 'Mormon' priests condemn them and call them every name in the book, these same 'priests' are marrying 15 year olds in the name of the same God we worship. I say at the least, present them the 'good news' of Christ and start setting up shelters for these young women. If that town cannot do that then I can't imagine them on the day of Tyre and Sidon's judgment. Ouch, too critical.

I am just saying speak out at injustices that are obvious injustices, be the responsible body of Christ. Injustices are happening around us all the time and the church focuses it's attentions on the damn dumbest things like gay marriage, prayer in school, 10 commandments in courts, and in-fighting with other denominations over 'gospel' validity and interpretation. Problem is there are real social injustices that need to be stood against and problems that need to be addressed with answers.

Oh, we can wait for gov't to step in and maybe 'Koresh' the situation, or maybe they'll just keep up with the 'Jones's'...still maybe if some other 'God-believing' people stepped in they might see a better outcome seeing we come from a similar perspective. You see what they knew about Waco and in Jonestown was something simple we haven't quite learned yet...people of faith might have been able to persuade people away from these 'radical' theologies coming from similar footing. I still don't see why that is something the church cannot do? We have a voice.

All I am saying is we need to stand-up for 'civil rights' amongst humanity, isn't that what Jesus taught and lived out before us (ex: Samaritan and leprosy issue of his day)? All I know is if I see someone using God for their 'weird' benefit that we have to step in and be the voice of true reason. Let's not pretend we came into a faith that let's us off the hook to the people around us, cause that's not what I read. There are issues out there that are not worth 'looking the other way on' and we as a church have to unite, stand together, and both protest these problems but pool our resources into answers. Jesus really is the answer, now go find the question.


chris said...

Wonderful post!! In your opinion should a Christian support the issue of Gay marriage. This is something I have been wrestling with. It seems to me that in a free society a person should have the right to choose whomever they want to spend their lives with. What is your opinion? I hope I am not putting you on the spot, but I am wrestling with where I stand on this issue myself, and would like some input from a fellow believer that is asking hard questions as well. I know the church has taken a hard stand against it. But, I don't trust the mainline church much.

SocietyVs said...

Hi Chris, thanks for blogging on my post again and again asking me a question that gets me condemned by mainline church, thanks (lol).
I really spend little time worrying about the gay issue and the problem it puts upon the church. I think it is a sin, but no more than what we do on a daily basis. I think they should be welcome in our midst and within our churches, homes, prayer meetings, etc. I have credentials here, I have been to the 'gay bar' tonnes of times with some gay friends, they were lesbian. If they welcomed me, I welcome them.
I am not God and I am not their judge so let the person who claims to be gay answer to God alone. I can make up all kinds of things about these people, some do, but I think in essence they are human 'beings' just being. I may not agree, because I am straight, but I also know that God loves them too. I figure it this way. If gay people are going to hell for their sins (and we spare them no time) then so are most guys for pornography (I mean that's the same). I see mercy first and that's all I am concerned with.

BruceD said...

Loving another human is more important than bodily functions. Love first, and let the rest fall where it may.

Besides, "marriage" is more of a legal/governmental issue than a church issue. Let the lawmakers deal with that one. Whatever they decide is fine with me.

The Work on God on the Cross redeemed all of creation to the Father... homosexuals, prostitutes, pornographers, even murderers and rapists! The Father's love extends equally to all. I think it is His greatest desire that we do not harm ourselves or others, but in the end, we will all be rejoined with the Source of our spirit.

God is not disillusioned with us, because He has no illusions of us in the first place. He knows that we will all fail to measure up to His perfection, and He understands that none of us is worthy of His love, but He loves us anyway. We are His offspring, and His heart will always adore us... no matter how big a mess we make of things.

Danny Kaye said...

Sweeeet post, Societyvs!

I agree. The church needs to stand up for what is morally right. And it needs to do so without fear of the condemnation of the world. There are many people benefitting from the name of our Creator who ought to be firmly, lovingly, and immediately confronted.

The question comes when we need to take a look at which of the infinate injustices are being committed on a daily basis. I believe God has put "this" on one man's heart, and that will be his stage. But God puts "that" on another man's heart, and that is that man's stage.

Emotions tend to play a bigger role than they should in these things. If I let my emotions rule, then I am able to be convinced that people should not do laundry on Tuesday nights! Obviously that is not a rational conviction. But if my emotions are involved, it's as real to me as standing up against an adulterer!

So I recommend that, before getting on our soapboxes and blasting people about their Tuesday night laundry habits, we run things past a few of our more rational friends first. We might be surprised to find out we are making much ado about nothing.

Regarding Chris's question (and this will really surprise you):
I don't care about gay marriage.
I did not say that I accept it. It is a sin, to be sure. I just don't care about it as a political issue. It doesn't matter that the person who is doing the ceremony says something like, "I now pronounce you husband and husband." That does not make them married in the eyes of God as if He is bound by such a great authority as a Justice of the Peace! So I don't care about it.

However, if someone wanted to become a part of the church, that is a different story. People in the church need to be living lives of repentance. And if we believe that homosexuality is a sin, then it is to be repented of.

Great post!

chris said...

Sorry for the dumbass question. I just was wondering where you stand on the issue. Anyhow, feel free to ask a random dumbass question on my blog if you like. I at least owe you that much. So, Keep up the good work, because I enjoy reading your blog. But know this, I am full of dumbass questions and I'm not afraid to use them!!

Jim Jordan said...

Hi society
Great post. Dr. King would have the same complaint today about churches that serve merely as a reflection of the small minds that attend it rather than serve as a conduit in the body of Christ.
Most churches are either silent or on the wrong side of the issues.

I love my church but sometimes I think it's afraid of its own shadow, meaning I sense that the pastors are consciously aware of not offending anyone and would never consider criticizing the abuses of a religious sect like Mormonism. (There's a movie coming out later this summer on William Wilberforce, the English evangelical abolitionist - a must see).

As for Chris's question on gay marriage, God calls us to be the spiritual children that He originally designed and endowed with His spiritual image. Therefore, our sexual urges should not define us. Being gay or straight is not really part of "who you really are" and should never stand in the way of a relationship with your Creator. What would you do in Heaven with your sexuality anyway, get laid for all eternity? Not!

Take care, Jim