Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Trap

What's really, honestly, scary about the fight that Christians are engaged in on the front lines of social justice movements is that whatever victories we gain seem to draw us only further away from our own faith, further away from our own Christ, further away from His very call. 

The more we fight for this world to give men what they need, the honor and dignity that the image of God in them commands, the less even we believe that men need Jesus.

And all of a sudden, we become friends who carry the poor, the sick, the lame, the broken right past Jesus on the way to our programs, telling them that just around the corner is the blessing that they seek.

It's a scary thought, really, but it's happening all the time. When the controversial "Affordable Care Act" passed in the United States, Christians started telling the sick how they could get health insurance now, started pointing them toward programs and subsidies and websites and registration portals. We stopped saying, "Let me help you with that," and started saying, "They have programs to help you with that." 

When a man or woman walks out of prison and walks into a place of employment trying to find steady work, employers are likely to tell them, sorry, we don't hire felons. But I know of some programs that have all of the connections. And then we point them toward the system that we've fought so hard to build for persons like them.

We may drive the homeless to a shelter for the night, but we're not likely to bring them home. We may give a dollar to the hungry or point them toward a food pantry, but we won't put out a plate for them. 

Ironically, we will even invite them to our church's meal program or homeless shelter or clothing pantry or utility assistance or recovery program or whatever, but we don't invite them to our Sunday service. 

We have advocated, fought, and labored for a world where the least among us need our programs, but we no longer believe they need our Jesus. 

But Jesus isn't practical, the argument goes. Jesus doesn't satisfy the hungry, shelter the homeless, employ the felon....

No, but He loves them.

In the Gospels, we see this all the time - everyone coming to Jesus with whatever they've got, friends carrying friends to Jesus so that He can heal them, honor them, dignify them, listen to them, hear them, speak to them, love them - and He does, every single one of them. They walk away healed, whole, restored, honored, dignified, confident, beloved. And we, who claim to love Jesus, carry our friends right by Him because He's just not practical for today's needs.

It's heartbreaking. It's absolutely heartbreaking. And yet, it's the new faith. 

Because we fight so hard for these programs. Who in their right mind can turn them all away for something so impractical as a broken Savior and a bloody Cross?

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