“Today, I will not look at Facebook,” I thought to myself as I groggily rose out of bed this morning. Skip ahead two hours later. I had already been on Facebook at least a dozen times, checking to see who “liked” the photo of my new barbeque grill, scrolling down my feed with my thumb, as well as engaging in a couple discussions about the implications of a certain monumental Supreme Court ruling made last Friday. After breaking the resolution I made earlier when I was stumbling out of bed, I was clearly going to be reading a lot of opinions the rest of the day (like everyday since Friday).
Whether it’s in the fellowship hall at church or in the inch-deep Limbaugh-esque drivel we post on Facebook, clarity, depth and the richness of the gospel is traded in for a bastard right-wing version of Christianity.
Simultaneously, NPR was now wafting through the speakers in my truck, belting out news coverage and busting out as many segments on responses to SCOTUS’ affirmation of same-sex marriage. In normal standard operating procedure, NPR’s correspondents gathered as many Christians as they could find and somehow convinced them to opine, in soundbite fashion, about their usually negative views on gays and gay marriage. I never understand how people with opposing views to the status quo find themselves awkwardly stating their beliefs into the microphone of journalists who only want to use the interviews as a sideshow attraction in between serious dialogue.
And I suppose this is where my post is heading. I’m not trying to add my reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling, but I do want to share my thoughts on reactionary Christian responses. I’ve read a good deal on assents, dissents, quick run downs, and opinions from all sides of the paradigm shifting milestone in history. In all honesty, I really haven’t cringed so much as I have in the past few days, reading the glib memes and anonymous “inspirational” quotes on my feed, and coming to terms with a few things. Somewhere along the line we will actually have to engage in real person-to-person talks and we won’t be able to use canned lines from the Meme section of the Internet. Speaking from the Christian corner, we who profess Christ will have to find the right equilibrium as we seek out the best way to engage the dynamic world we live in. (Pardon the rambling tone found in my writing. I don’t do second drafts because I do most of my blogging after the children are in bed and I don’t want to stay up freaking late crafting a post only fifteen people might read.)
When I listen to Christians talking Christianese to NPR correspondents or the culture at large, I think to myself, “The gospel is not being heard, and the context (if there is any) has no meaning to the audience sitting back listening.” Whether it’s in the fellowship hall at church or in the inch-deep Limbaugh-esque drivel we post on Facebook, clarity, depth and the richness of the gospel is traded in for a bastard right-wing version of Christianity. It doesn’t matter how many times you post “America, Bless God,” your non-believing friends don’t care. What is needed is a gospel-centered life lived humbly in the midst of a world indifferent and hostile to the crucified and resurrected Jesus of the Bible. They still may hate you and me, but at least we won’t sound like Donald Trump.
The world doesn’t need any more punditry. It needs Jesus. Gay, straight, bi, trans, how will they hear about Jesus when all we’re talking about is a Confederate Flag and how “God Hates Gays”? In the Book of Hebrews, the writer commands that believers “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14, ESV). I am continually amazed by how paranoid and reactionary social media has rendered the faith of some of my fellow Christians. I am convicted by the realization of my own shortcomings in reflecting Christ in the relationships with my non-Christian family, friends, and acquaintances. I am driven to repentance, giving more attention to my own sins over the sins of others.
The Bible has some strong words for sin and the Church needs to be bold in proclaiming Christ to our sin-soaked world, but not in fragmented way. Reacting to individual sins is pointless and will make a caring heart callous; sincerely showing Christ and speaking the truth in love and in full context is much better. Such sincerity is born out of the reality “that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8), which helps empathize with other sinners who desperately need Christ. I’ll end with that.