I was reading the Ten Commandments and was reminded that keeping Sabbath is one of them, as in - don’t murder, don’t steal, keep Sabbath. Rabbi Yehoshua and I talked at length about Sabbath and how it has saved Israel. I was actually able to join him for a Shabbat dinner in his home in Jerusalem and watched the detail with which they observed this sacred command. I’m not sure where that became not a big deal, but I don’t think I know any Christians who take that seriously. I know that Christians aren’t held to Jewish law and we’re supposed to observe the heart behind the law, but we are held to the Ten Commandments aren’t we? Earlier this week I was reading an author who was referencing the seven deadly sins, which is a really dramatic name especially when you remember they are things like pride, envy, gluttony, anger, greed, lust and sloth; of course maybe those are really dramatic things and we’ve completely lost sight of what is and isn’t a big deal.
There were some laws that were passed recently preserving the religious right of business owners by allowing them to refuse service to clients that they don’t believe they should serve based on their religious practices. Do you think they ever refuse service to the gluttonous clients? No, just the LBGTQ community?
It’s so interesting to me that this is what we’re known for. I don’t really know what I think about homosexuality and Christianity, I know it’s a complicated issue and I’ve done a fair amount of research and reading on the topic. There is all this talk about grace vs truth related to homosexuality and the church and I think it’s the silliest argument coming from Western Evangelical Christians because whatever the case we’re all on the hook. If it’s grace let’s extend it and pray to God we’ll receive it too, if it’s law we’re all under-performing, either way we’re all in desperate need of a savior, no?
What if we spent less time discussing the Christian rights of the LBGTQ community and instead looked at ourselves. I think we’re supposed to be financially generous, we’re supposed to adopt orphans, we’re supposed to know poor people and love them, we’re supposed to be humble, we’re not just supposed to be heterosexual monogamous wealthy church attendees who hang out with people just like us.
That’s one of the biggest things I gleaned from Rabbi Yehoshua. He believes in following the law to the minutia for his own life, but when it comes to others he believes in leniency and grace for the sake of the other. We’ve swapped it, we give grace to ourselves and impose the law on others, when what we should be doing is remembering what has been asked of us. We celebrate all kinds of people into the church understanding that if someone truly believes it will change them, that by the grace of God parts of us might get a little better over time. Maybe I won’t hoard my money so much, or I’ll stop being lazy, or I’ll be more selfless.
How many times have we said this, how few times have we listened? I suppose it’s hard to accept we’re the ones who are on the outside, we’re the ones who are lustful, eat too much, are lazy, don’t care about the broken and orphans, who are prideful, and if any of us make it through the pearly gates, it is only by sheer grace. I look around at Christians and we’re so clear on what’s outside of our faith, things like homosexuality, and yet we’re not doing what has been asked of us because we’re reliant on grace for ourselves. That bothers me. I’ve always felt frustrated with overstated grace within the church, I think within the church we should talk more about what we’re supposed to do, and when we look outside that’s when we should be shouting grace.
I’m afraid every day that we missed the point, that the millions of Christians who have said the prayer of salvation and joined churches, but who hardly look different from anyone else, that we’re the ones that never knew him, we’re the ones that missed it and yet we’re the ones screaming from the top of our lungs for the outsiders to stay outside unless they change, maybe we should scream that at ourselves. Or perhaps we should just say something else.