Today I wish to direct your attention to a Michael Spencer post from several years back.
Lately I have been hitting hard on the question of what kind of people we as evangelicals are becoming. I have approached this through the gay marriage issue and the issues of women’s equality that converge in complementarianism and purity culture. Just this past week I have approached it through the church’s treatment of sexual offenders, which is problematic because in many places they are coddled while their victims are shamed, but in other places there are calls for their exclusion. This is a difficult question because churches have a high volume of families with children and it seems unwise to allow sexual offenders access to such an environment, yet participation in the Church is a vital and necessary discipline of the Christian life so it is not right to exclude a certain class of Christians from church life because of the nature of their sin. I think this piece is timely because it speaks to all of these themes. Here is a sampling:
Over and over, Jesus reached into the lives of people like that preacher. The last, lost, least, losers. The unacceptable, the unreformable. The failures and the frauds. Those whose lives could not be tidied up with a little cultural religion. And from that, we have constructed a Jesus who prefers the “good Christian.” A Jesus who wants moralizing and religious superficiality. A Jesus who hardly needs to die for us, because a little exhortation to do better and keep on the straight and narrow are more our style. A Jesus without a cross, but with smiles and blessings for our homes and marriages full of “Christian moral values.”
So what kind of people are we becoming as evangelicals? Are we becoming people who prefer to continue going through the motions of believing that everything is OK? Are we truly leading others to a Jesus who went out of His way to reach the last, lost, least, and losers of the world, or are we inviting them to join in an exercise of denial and self-deception? Are our churches and communities places where moralizing and religious superficiality are the order of the day, where Jesus doesn’t need to die for us because all we need is a little exhortation to do better and try harder, to stay on the straight and narrow, to apply good principles for a happier life? Or are they places where all are welcome and it is truly safe to show our humanness and brokenness?