Who Is My Neighbor?

A friend of mine who is an evangelistic atheist posted a video of Christians spewing hate (or “sharing the Gospel” as they would say) about homosexuality. Some folk showed up to protest Pastor Charles Worley, he of the electric fence concentration camp solution to the presence of homosexuals in our society. A batch of vocal protestors showed up to protest the protest. Then another organization showed up to protest the protest of the protest.

Maybe it’s best if you just watch the video.

Then again, maybe not.

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My friend said this is the kind of thing that supporting Christian thought will encourage. This, he claimed, is what Christianity is about. I argued with my friend that the folks captured on video spitting venom are poor examples of Christianity, based on Christ’s statement that there are two greatest commandments on which everything else depends:

Love God fully.
Love others like you love yourself.

We went back and forth about what counts as “basic tenets” of religion. My point was Christ gets to declare what should be emphasized in the faith that bears His name.

That’s the backstory. Then my friend posted this linkabout military chaplains.

What is the purpose of a chaplain? How, in this arm of government called the military, do we justify mingling church and state? We allow it because, while chaplains are endorsed by a specific religious organization, they are trained to serve all members of the military regardless of religious affiliation or lack thereof. They’re there to serve all.

They have one job. Meet the spiritual needs of members of the armed forces.

The Southern Baptist Convention issued guidelines stating their chaplains cannot serve openly gay members except for telling them to repent. They cannot work with openly gay chaplains or those who approve of homosexuality – and I imagine that means anyone who doesn’t condemn homosexuality enough. They cannot counsel same-sex married couples.

What does this achieve? Okay, the SBC is opposed to homosexuality and strongly affirms what the Bible says about it. Did everyone not get the memo? I’m pretty sure there was no doubt.

But why this one thing? If you’re going to instruct your chaplains to abdicate their responsibilities towards all servicemembers, why choose this?
Are SBC chaplains not permitted to work with other faiths? If a Buddhist approaches a chaplain, needing to talk, does the SBC chaplain say, “Well, can’t help you with your difficulties. All I can say is repent.” Do they not provide marital counseling to atheist couples? What about couples with marital infidelity going on? If they believe what the Bible says, do they get to choose which form of sexual immorality is the really bad one, and which we can overlook?

Is there a pride test chaplains can give all customers before providing services? Because God is pretty adamant about pride being a sin, one that Scripture says God directly opposes instead of merely condemns.

The comments on the video my friend posted also point out that some of those vocal protesters are on the chunky side. “Gluttony is a sin too,” they say. “Why don’t you protest that?”

People see this behavior from Christians, both individuals and organizations. And they walk away further convinced that Christians are judgmental hypocrites.

“Love God. Love others.” When Jesus said that, no one caught Him in hypocrisy. His actions measured up to His words, and vice versa. Those of us who bear His name should reconsider what He set as our priorities.

SBC, take note. Jesus already issued guidance. He said, “You have one job: Love.”

3 thoughts on “Who Is My Neighbor?

  1. Reblogged this on SonWorshiper and commented:

    I’ve posted about this sort of thing before here, and I usually reserve my cultural and political comments for this blog. I feel like the SBC is looking at the challenging words of Christ, and asking “Who is my neighbor?” to find some wiggle room. That disappoints me deeply.

  2. I think the atheists in question are falling into the same trap as many Americans fall into when it comes to any number of social groups whose main source of media attention is always a negative one. Just ask the Muslims how their public relations are going in the last decade.

  3. This is why I walked away from the SBC so many years ago.
    In my experience:
    There is no love, and no grace, and there is little to no humility. They do not reflect Jesus, and they are not teachable by the Holy Spirit because they don’t even believe He still speaks to us today. Their faith is more of superstition full of “If I” ‘s, “have to” ‘s, and “don’t you dare” ‘s. They remind more of the Pharisee’s and Saducee’s than of Jesus. They live by the principles of “God knows my heart”, “I’m being perfected”, and “I’m just a sinner Saved by Grace”. Yet, they don’t offer that same understanding to anyone who isn’t part of their “club”. They are quick to say other sects are not Saved, but I worry it will be they who will be shocked, because their superstitious follow the rules kind of Dogma leaves little to no room for real relationship with Jesus Christ.
    I know many Baptist’s who are some of the most loving, kind Christians, but I’m pretty sure I can say with confidence not one of them belongs to the SBC cliche.
    I despise the stronghold over the spirits of those in the SBC that keeps them from understanding what Jesus really meant when He told us to love God with all our hearts, to lean not on our own understanding (and that absolutely means interpretation of Scripture), and to love our neighbors the same as we love ourselves, including offering them the same dose of Grace and understanding as they make allowances for themselves).
    Ok, rant over.

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