“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments. – Jesus (Matthew 22)
Pastor Rob Morris – Image from Reuters article
Okay, friends, here’s my challenge: How do I post about what’s critically wrong with the “public face” of Christianity… without losing my objectivity and – in turn – becoming one more contributor to (and example of) what’s wrong, and possibly making it worse?
(I guess this is a discussion with implications regarding the fundamentals of what I’m about as a “faith-based” writer. And I’ll admit that I’m far from objective! )
CASE IN POINT: This week I learned that some of the higher-ups in the Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) got all bent out of shape when a pastor in Newtown, Connecticut participated in the community “Inter-faith” prayer service that helped the small town deal with the horrific shootings at the local elementary school.
According to Reuters, Pastor Rob Morris (God bless him) was forced to make a public apology.
The president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, Pastor Matthew Harrison, wrote a letter to church members saying he had requested an apology from Morris for his participation in “joint worship with other religions.” (Edith Honan, Reuters)
RESPONSE: What upsets me is the huge public slap-in-the-face such narrow-minded exclusivism gives the cause of the Gospel of Love. I took a long look at many of the comments Edith Honan’s article generated after it was posted at NBCNews.com, and it’s evident not only that the world is watching, but that the world very often makes the decision to reject faith in God based on the behavior and pronouncements of “Christians.”
My (tongue-in-cheek) response when I first saw the article (on facebook) was this:
Like Jesus was always saying, “They will know you are my disciples by the way you judge one another…” or something like that….
WE’RE CALLED “THE BODY OF CHRIST” FOR A REASON: Shortly after Jesus defeated death, God removed the physical presence of the man Jesus (The Ascension). Consequently – and according to plan – the responsibility for face-to-face ministry shifted to the Followers of The Way.
The bottom line here is that God has chosen (is choosing) us to share the Gospel of Love with this broken world via the day-to-day witness of disciples living gospeled lives.
That would be me, and it would also be you.
I believe we have a lot of work to do, you and I (along with the faith communities where we worship) if we are to make up for the tragic mess so many in the religious community are making of the assignment.
So I’ll repeat the words of Jesus once again, maybe more loudly this time:
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
ALL THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS HANG ON THESE TWO COMMANDMENTS.