Thursday, May 12, 2005

Waynesville Pastor Reinforces Stereotype

To continue the ongoing posts on my blog about how Christians are viewed in the world/what it means to be a true follower of Jesus today, I want to comment on yet another incident that reinforces what so many people already believe about Christians being narrow-minded, unloving and exclusive. The news about the Waynesville, NC Baptist pastor who expelled members who did not vote Republican from his church is a bit old now, but if you haven't seen it you can get updated I read stories like this and cringe at the thought of what this does to the witness and work of the Church. Non-Christians and non-churchgoers, especially in that community, hear about this and I'm sure chalk it up to yet another reason not to attend church or check out Chrisitianity. Incidents like these and others add yet another layer to the thinking of a non-Christian, who may very well be interested in Jesus, that to become a Christian means to be judgmental, hateful, and the type of person who expels those who don't vote the right way. Brian McLaren reveals the thinking of "Alice," a woman he met at an event at the church he pastors, in his book More Ready Than You Realize. McLaren places excerpts (with her permission) of her emails to him about her issues with Christianity and church. In one of them, she states her interest in the Christian faith, but that
I need to make sure I am not being "lured in", just to find out once I go ahead and believe that a whole bunch of other stuff comes along with it that I can't feel comfortable with, and then my whole person will change and I'll become close minded and bigoted and brainwashed and everything bad . . . (p.32)
There are a lot of people out there who feel the same way "Alice" felt about Christians and I'm afraid our actions as Christians so many times keep them from seeing the Jesus they so desire to know.


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