A post is circulating on social media with the caption “Why isn’t this going viral?” It’s about a Chick-fil-a restaurant in Orlando which, despite being closed on Sunday cooked up and brought sandwiches and food to people waiting in line to donate blood following the Pulse shooting. The story is awesome, but the post is abhorrent.
It originates with a website that lands on the conspiracy end of the far-right spectrum. They think the media is out to get conservatives – Christians for sure – by always profiling the ugliest warts of the church but the most lovely Instagrammed images everyone on the political left. There is some research about media bias, but the problem really isn’t as bad as most people like to think. Being a martyr is fun!
The post is disgusting because this act of kindness is the very least that the Christian community should be doing in an event like this. And we should do it without fanfare, with faces hidden and our hearts crying out to God for grace and comfort for these hurting people. Who cares if the news pays attention, as long as the people in front of us know we are there to serve them unconditionally. There is nothing heroic about opening on your day off to provide comfort, because our doors, as believers, should be available 24/7 to whoever needs us. Whether we agree with their lifestyle or not. Whether they leave our presence and go straight back to doing whatever we disapprove of, we are to be their resource. We don’t get to have the details about how God is working in their life we are just called to provide our barn for them to sleep in, and a manger for their newborn. My father always said “You don’t win awards for doing what you’re supposed to,” so no, you don’t get to go viral. We are the least of the least. It’s what we’re called to.
I know there are arguments against enabling self-destructive behaviors and that’s another conversation for another time. It’s the reason the body of Christ exists, so others can come alongside prodigal children or loved ones and bouy them up when family support would simply be destructive. This excuse is not a deal-breaker.
Author Jen Hatmaker made a great point on Facebook today about one problem with the way the church is responding to last weekend’s events. This is not an opportunity for any believer to pretend to be big-hearted. If you haven’t loved the gay community up until now, don’t pretend. Here’s a snip of Jen’s post:
“Can we have an important discussion together? And can we do it in love and respect?
I’ve been listening to my gay friends and leaders the last two days (Listening! It’s so 1991), and this is what I am hearing:
It is very difficult to accept the Christian lament for LGBTQ folks in their deaths when we’ve done such a brutal job of honoring them in their lives. It kind of feels like: “We don’t like you, we don’t support you, we think you are a mess, we don’t agree with you, we don’t welcome you, we don’t approve of you, we don’t listen to you, we don’t affirm you. But please accept our comfort and kind words this week.”
Do those words make you bristle? Then you may need to spend some time talking to God about your heart. About how, in your eager desire to please Him by what you think He wants you to do you have circumvented what He actually commanded.
Read the rest here.
Enough, Christians. Enough about viral news. Enough defense about every.way.we.are.persecuted. (We are not.) If you’ll look up for a moment and stop listening to carnival barkers posing as webmasters you’ll realize that we are in no little of having our religious freedoms circumvented. We still live in America, where we have the right to speak to our representatives and impact our government – using facts.
Hundreds of Muslims gathered to pray for the victims in Orlando yesterday. This mosque in Pennsylvania made a public condemnation of the actions of the shooter, if he indeed is trying to represent some radical Muslim theory. But instead I see my evangelical friends posting links to one video, of one Imam from Iran who was invited to speak at an event in Sanford, FL. He condemns gays and calls for their execution as an ‘act of mercy’. This is who Christians are choosing to give attention to? Then Satan has already won Christian hearts because he has made you afraid, angry, and protective of yourself. How can you possibly love in that condition?
Go without fear. Love with abandon. Serve with joy and live in grace.