Meanwhile, Back in Reality

There are days I simply don’t know where to start. Today I will start with Friday. Friday was horrible. My only day off for the week and it was only restful in the physical sense that I wasn’t on my feet for 8.5 hours and I wasn’t doing any hard labor.

The short of it is…God doesn’t miraculously pay electric bills.

Actually, God doesn’t do much miraculous, despite what we Evangelicals like to wish and preach.

He doesn’t actually change anyone. He offers them an opportunity to change. And if a man is content to neglect his family and give himself over to his porn addiction, there ain’t a whole lot God does about it.

I’m sure I sound heretical to a lot of white middle-class American Evangelicals, but, really, if you just open your eyes and look around you will see the same thing I do, namely a world God created filled with people He created to care for the world and each other. And not a whole lot of that going on.

Instead we make up crap like these lines from an old Steve Taylor song (which was formatted from scripture):

Never I seen the righteous forsaken
Never abandoned in the flood land
Never I seen his children out begging
Never I seen them slip through Your hand

This is intentional blindness. All one has to do is pick up the newspaper or read the latest news at Voice of the Martyrs to see that this is simply untrue. Lots of righteous people have been forsaken. Many more abandoned in times of distress. There are a tremendous amount of poor righteous people whose children must beg or work in slave labor conditions. And multitudes slip through “God’s” hands.

But in our comfy little middle & upper class neighborhoods we turn a blind eye to the suffering, we ignore the very people whom Christ commands us to help. We act as the Pharisee and the Lawyer in the parable of the Good Samaritan and avoid looking at the victims around us and around the world.

On Sunday morning we get up and go to church for our weekly pep rally. We drive past the homes where suffering occurs, we ignore the suffering in our midst, we get all amped for Jesus and we think we’ve really done something because we raised our hands or sang some hymns. We return home thinking we’ve experienced worship and fellowship and gosh don’t we feel so much better?

Then we return to work, the suffering all around us, and all we seem to be capable of is praying and inviting people to church.

It’s so much safer this way. It’s safer to pray and invite people to some event at church, far safer than becoming emotionally intimate with them. It’s easier to mention the need of an acquaintance in Sunday School than it is to actually meet that need or even to just get to know that person on a deeper level so they will not be alone in their trial.

And even those churches that are so conservative they don’t give pep talks beat down their people so much that they have nothing to give. You can only hear how worthless you are and how evil and how you are just lucky God condescended to save you so many times before the spiritual abuse empties and destroys you leaving you with nothing.

I have no answers as to how to change this problem because the other side is too comfortable to desire change. There will never be a church like the one in Acts. That was a one-shot never to occur again. So people in the church or out of it in need of help receive nothing because the few who know we are called to serve each other and give to each other are maxed out. The many who believe we are called to comfort and to tithe as little as we can get by and still receive God’s blessings are not interested in actually helping. Shoot, they don’t even want their tax dollars to go to helping others.

The church is not likely to begin preaching truly sacrificially helping others any time soon. I’m pretty sure conservative churches learned their lesson from the mainline churches who saw their vast numbers dissipate as soon as they began to preach the radical notion that Jesus wants us to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and care for the widow and orphan. Church members jumped ship in droves and ran straight to the nearest conservative church where, to this day, all that is required of them is tithing 10% and putting on a happy face.

The Gospel, regardless which conservative denomination you adhere to, is a personal Gospel between you and God where you do the bare minimum and receive a great blessing. It’s a lie, but it’s a soothing lie.

“Jesus said to the man, ‘Go. Sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor.’

“The man went away sad because he had many possessions.”

Matthew 19:21,22

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