Who We Are For, or What Are We Against… how do we want to be remembered?

Who We Are For, or What Are We Against… how do we want to be remembered? August 3, 2013


This past Friday, the House of Representatives voted to repeal/alter the Affordable Care act for the 40th time. While I am not an apologist for Obamacare, my Christian values lead me to be an outspoken supporter for the poor and oppressed, which means that I desperately want to see Obamacare implemented. Do I think it is the best plan? Absolutely not. But is it better than the “no alternative” option that’s been presented time and time again? Yes.

I get that my taxes will go up, but to be honest, I really don’t care. I want to see all people who are impoverished have access to the resources which make “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” actually possible… and I’m willing to render a little more money to Cesar to make that a reality.

Being willing to part with a little extra money so that others might live, seems rather Jesus-like to me.

For those who espouse the radical Kingdom values of Jesus which give the highest priority to the weakest members of society, we should celebrate anytime the cause of the vulnerable is taken up. In fact, we should be leading the charge.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. While Fundamentalism and American Evangelicalism is approaching her deathbed and is in the process of being replaced by a generation of Jesus followers who are passionate about the cause of justice; those powerful in the movement of the previous generation are still being found as obstructionists, instead of culture-changers. They’re still known as the people who are against something instead of the people who are for something.

Sadly, they’re often doing it in the name of Jesus. (and we wonder why so many people are leaving the church?)

Such is the case with the Family Research Council as led by Tony Perkins. The Family Research Council falsely markets themselves as a “Christian” organization even though they continually stand opposed to the teachings of Jesus. In fact, they’re actually a certified hate group. This past week, instead of using his platform to carry forward the message of Jesus, Perkins instead chose to use his influence to help defund the Affordable Healthcare Act.

As seen on his Twitter:

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Perhaps what is even more concerning than a “family” organization or a “Christian” organization fighting to strip money from a program intended to ensure poor people have access to affordable healthcare, is the preceding tweet Mr. Perkins posted:

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Because nothing says “that was a great worship service” as much as defunding healthcare, right?

While I’m not an expert on chapel services, I think it’s a safe bet that if you go to worship the God who says “I want justice flowing like a river” and the God who says “encourage the oppressed”, and can immediately turn your efforts toward defunding a program aimed at helping the poor… you’re missing something.

Which, begs the question– what do we want to be remembered for?

The previous generation of American Christians will be remembered for what they were against. Instead of a movement that that was focused on the Kingdom values taught in scripture, it was a movement aimed at “taking back” American culture.

Not exactly the meek Jesus describes in the sermon on the mount.

It was a movement against abortion and against gay marriage… and for? Who knows. They let the movement become defined by what they were against.

We however, have an opportunity to build something different… a movement that looks a lot more like Jesus. Our movement will undoubtedly still fall short, but if we’re smart, we’ll fall short in different ways.

In the meantime, we must build a Jesus movement that is different.

One that’s defined by how big it loves, instead of being defined by fighting a common enemy.

We have the chance to build a movement that, instead of pushing people to the margins, pulls people in… embraces them, and invites them to experience a loving Jesus.

Instead of being remembered for what we were against, we have the chance to be remembered for who we were for.

I want this movement. I believe we can build it, together.

I hope you’ll join me in this movement, and that together, we’ll be remembered by who we were for, instead of what we were against.




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