This afternoon our girls were chatty. They started out discussing silly teen antics of school kids. I listened and asked questions because these moments don’t show up that often. And then the discussion took an unexpected and unsolicited turn.
Our 16 year old talked of a boy who talks with her in school. She is warm and friendly to everyone. She talks with kids that many ignore. He asked her one day, “I know you are Christian. I’m sure you won’t want to have anything to do with me anymore now that you know I’m gay.” She was surprised and reassured him that he was mistaken. “Why would he think that?” she asked me.
Our 13 year old told of a girl who asked her during the course of working on an assignment –“Are you Christian?” When our daughter said yes the girl said that she didn’t think that she was because Christians are usually mean.
These two tiny interactions speak volumes. They scream loudly of the anger, prejudice, judgment, and cloaked hate that people see in church people every day. THIS is how the church is viewed. THIS is what we have become with our boisterous leaders shouting against homosexuals, refugees, women who consider abortion, addicts, and all who are not perfect.
Allow me to stress that we live in a rural and predominantly conservative area. There are churches on many streets. Just two blocks from the school there are two churches across the street from one other. And still this is what people see. This is how people feel.
“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.” (Matthew 22: 37-40)
If Jesus chose to call this the greatest commandment, I think we Christians should be known for something quite different than what my girls told me today.
Unless there is a new definition of love, many are doing it wrong.