Monday, February 9, 2015

Be Honest

I've been following the storm of reaction to President Obama's message at the annual prayer breakfast. Perhaps you have too. If you follow the chatter on the Internet, it appears a lot of people have noted Obama's speech. And reacted. Most of the vocal have been condemnatory. But let's be honest.

President Obama's reference to the evils that have been committed in the past in the name of Christ were sadly all too correct. If there was any lack it was that he did not go far enough. He could have mentioned the bloody fighting between Christians over the Nestorian controversy in 430. He could have mentioned the Protestant Reformers in the 1500s who tortured the Anabaptists because they did not baptize infants. He could have mentioned the brutal treatment of native Americans by the Catholics when they did not convert to the gospel spoken to them in Latin or Spanish, or the Protestants who murdered whole Indian tribes for their land because they were less than pagans. He might have mentioned the American church that seems to want to draw boxes around ourselves and  everyone else. If you are a Democrat, you are outside the Christian box, no matter your personal confession of faith. Or vice versa. Yes. That all happened. It is happening. Let's be honest.

 God thankfully does not draw boxes. He does not know me by my political party or by the strictness of my theological orthodoxy. He knows my heart. And if there is evil there, God calls it evil. He does not gloss over sin. He forgives sin and evil, but he does not condone it.

Obama's call to humility was right. If I think that I, of all the millions of believers who have gone before me, am right in my theology and practice, and they are wrong, I am simply being stupid. There are no doubt errors in faith and practice which I am not even aware of. I am a person affected by my culture as much as any. And my culture is hardly Christian. Yes. Humility. Let's be honest.

 I am tired of this idea: my country right or wrong; my religion right or wrong; my theology right or wrong. I am tired of people coming to blows over issues that are meaningless to God. Does God really care about politics? Does he not rather care about people? Does he care about the fine points of our theology? Does he not rather care about the heart?

If the heart is toward him, is that not what matters? The heart that is toward God he can correct. That is the story of history.  Let's be honest. With ourselves.