Wednesday, June 08, 2005

The Church has Lost Its Way
I find myself increasingly upset about the reputation the Christian church has developed in the United States, especially among those who aren't affiliated with it. I was reading an article in Vanity Fair recently about diversity and how cities that welcomed diversity were thriving, while those who didn't weren't. The author went on to talk about states with reputations for being hostile to diversity--specifically homosexuality--and then explained that (at least in his view) that was because these were heavily rural states where people went to church.

Now wait a minute. I will confess that I do live in Oklahoma. And that Oklahoma is not known as being on the cutting edge of tolerance, culture, diversity or much of anything else. And I go to church. But that does not mean that I'm comfortable with the dominant cultural/political/social stances of the people I live around. Nor are many of the Christians I know. In fact, the thoughtful Christians I know (and there are many) are appalled by the way we in the church have allowed people with hateful, hostile, angry political and social agendas hijack a religion that has as one of it's core missions to reach out and nurture every single person on earth as a beloved child of God. That's the command, and anyone who starts drawing lines and sorting groups into us and them is flouting the very commands of Christ himself. (And before anyone starts sending me any snippy e-mails about sin and judgement, let me say right off that those are God's responsibilities, not ours, and to try and help God out with His job is the core of arrogance itself.)

So there it is. We in the church have forgotten ourselves--who we are and what we are supposed to be about. We have allowed ourselves to be sidetracked from our main mission. What about it Christians? What can we do to help put our faith back on the right track?