White Christian Hypocrisy

White christian

I will give fair warning now, there will be language found in this post that some would call vulgar and distasteful. If that is something you find offensive then you might not want to read this one. 

As a white/heterosexual/female/Christian, I have often heard Christians accused of being hypocritical. It’s certainly nothing new, but each time I would do my best to ardently defend Christians everywhere by saying, “Christians aren’t hypocrites. We are just imperfect people. We make mistakes.”

As true as that may be, we aren’t perfect by any means, I am finding it harder and harder to dismiss the hypocrisy found among some.

As a Christian, if you give a hearty “Amen!” after someone reads Micah 6:8 (He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.”) but don’t support justice for our black brothers and sisters then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you are ok with protesting colonists who threw 342 containers of British tea (valuing about 1 million dollars today) into the Boston Harbor, but get upset when protesters loot a Target then you’re a hypocrite. (By the way, the CEO of Target released a very loving and UNDERSTANDING message to the community.)

As a Christian, if you are ok pledging allegiance to a flag (or nation), but feel personally offended when someone kneels during the pledge (the very right given to them because of that flag) then you are a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you fight for your right to bear arms, but don’t weep when you see and hear of UNARMED black men and women being shot then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you preach that God is love, but God’s love has some kind of conditions to it (like race, sexual orientation, political party, gender, denomination, etc.) then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you celebrate that the Body of Christ is diverse (and you even send missionaries to other countries because every nation needs to be represented in the kingdom!!), but everyone around you looks like you and thinks like you then you’re a hypocrite.

As much as this applies to race, it isn’t the only area of hypocrisy.

As a Christian, if you are ok with your President using the term “pussy” on multiple occasions, but get upset when people wear pink vagina hats at the Women’s March then you’re a hypocrite. (Or if you think Christian women shouldn’t even be a part of such an event!)

By the way, if you support a President who uses vulgar language and claims to be a Christian, but get pissed off when a Christian blogger does it then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you are ok with your President talking about kissing women without consent (or “grabbing them by the pussy” as he so lovingly described it) and say it was “before his conversion”, but are disgusted by children being abused in Catholic church (which is undeniably disgusting on every level) then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you are ok with obeying one politicians direction because he considers himself a Christian (because he prays?!?!), but refuse to listen to another one because he isn’t then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you pray for the persecuted church in other countries and then use the same term to describe the American church during social distancing/quarantine then you are a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you say women and men are created equal and in the image of God, but magnify the voice of men while stifling the voice of women because they are “too emotional” then you’re a hypocrite.

As a Christian, if you say that abuse is wrong, but allow husbands to verbally abuse their wives and children and allow them to remain in Christian leadership because it isn’t PHYSICAL ABUSE and you aren’t sure it’s “that big of a deal” then you are a hypocrite.

In order to define hypocrisy, I’d like to throw it back to 1995 when DC Talk (a popular and celebrated Christian rock band) released the song “What If I Stumble?”. The song begins with a recording of Christian theologian Brennan Manning saying:

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.”

Or if you prefer the definition found in the dictionary it’s when someone claims to have a moral standard or belief but their actions do not line up. Seems to me like consistency is important here. And I believe one of the top reasons why so many young adults leave the church after high school, but that’s for a different post.

So, how do we address this? How do I even begin to discuss the next steps. If we allow ourselves to look in the mirror and we find hypocrisy there how to we respond? That’s the question I keep asking myself because I understand there ARE areas of hypocrisy in my life.

As I have mentioned in past blogs the only thing I know to do is look to Jesus. How did He respond/act? What did Jesus say about it?

Jesus was not silent on hypocrisy.

In Matthew 23:27-28, Jesus talks to the religious scholars and Pharisees calling them out on their bullshit. As The Passion Translation puts it in verse 28, “Outwardly you masquerade as righteous people, but inside your hearts are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”

THIS is the question we’ve got to ask ourselves– is there hypocrisy in my heart? Allow Him to reveal it to you. We can trust Him to do that because there wasn’t an ounce of hypocrisy in Jesus.

Jesus was so perfect in fact that His perfection caused people to not like Him. Actually, some people hated Him and were trying to trick Him and trap Him with His words.

They were so hell bent on it in fact that they brought a woman who was caught in the act of adultery (I wonder how they knew that?!) in front of Jesus who was teaching in the temple courts (John 8). They made this woman, who I assume was naked, stand in the middle of everyone not only to shame her, but to see if Jesus would condemn her.

As good religious scholars would they brought up the law of Moses. Certainly Jesus wouldn’t disobey the law handed down to them! When He finally responds to them He looks them in the face and gives them permission to stone her if they themselves have never sinned.

I wish I could have been there– to see the look in His eyes the tone in His voice. The leaders who were once angry and demanding answers now silent. One by one walking away because they couldn’t deny their own hypocrisy when Jesus presented them with it.

Again, an example of how Jesus can bring conviction to our hearts if we are willing to listen. If we are willing to let Him confront us on stuff that we’d rather not see.

I’ll admit it, I’m pretty angry about the hypocrisy I see in others in the Church. It disgusts me and enrages me to no end, but I need to have that same response when I see it in myself, too.

Oh, Jesus. Root out every sliver of hypocrisy found in our hearts and allow us to pursue justice, to love mercy and walk with humility. Break our hearts for the things that break yours. Heal our nation and bring unity as only You can. Bring freedom to those bound by racism, by tradition, by sexism and ANYTHING that doesn’t come from You! May your kingdom of peace reign in the hearts of your people. Amen.

Is Church Essential?

White Simple Woman Photo Sale or Business Women's Beauty Facebook Cover

I’m not sure there is a way to discuss this without it becoming a polarizing issue except to NOT discuss it. I’m also aware that those who disagree will have much to say about it…and me…but it’s not the first time a post written with loving intentions had me certainly damned to hell by well-intentioned Christians.

Those who disagree are welcome here, too.

Enough about that. We’re here to discuss if church is essential. Many Christians says so. Savior Trump says so. Must be so.

Is it?

Let me make a simple distinction at the get go. One that I think is wildly important.

There’s a difference between a church service/institution and THE CHURCH. I think we’d all agree with that, right? As Christians, we know we are THE CHURCH. The Body of Christ was put on this Earth to love and serve and bring His kingdom to others. (Which was, in fact, Jesus’ mission as well.)

I am THE CHURCH. You are THE CHURCH. God wants to use us. Desires to use us. Has gone so far as to commission us to BE His Church.

Still with me? Good. Cause here’s the part that I’m going to call into question.

Is a church service essential? Frankly, is the church as an institution essential? No. I don’t think so.

But Holly what about Hebrews 10:25??? What about Acts 2:42??? I’m very much aware of those references and am in no way suggesting anything that is contrary to those verses. What I am suggesting is that it doesn’t look like the Sunday morning service the masses are convinced are essential.

Throughout this season of social distancing and quarantine I have been bewildered by some Christians desires to “get back to normal”. As if normal has somehow been working for us. This could be it’s own blog post, but I wonder if God has been trying to use this time to shake the Church out of it’s stagnancy and CHANGE THINGS UP.

Whenever I have BIG questions like whether church is essential I go back to Jesus. I look at His life. How he was doing things during His time on Earth and then try and use that to answer my question.

If we were to go the traditional route, there are a few times in the Gospels where Jesus was explicitly at the temple in Jerusalem. The temple was the hub for Jewish teaching and was the center for celebrations and holidays. We know Jesus’ family visited the Jewish temple and participated in these holy days. In Luke 2, we read about how as a boy Jesus got left behind at the temple because He was busy listening to the teachers and asking questions.

Jesus also tore up the joint (John 2, Matthew 21) because the temple had become a place of profit. Hmm. I’ll leave that one alone.

We also know Jesus taught in the synagogues “as was his custom” (Luke 4:16). One of my favorite examples of this can be found in Luke 4 where He stands up and reads from Isaiah 61, rolls up the scroll and goes to sit back down. All eyes are on Him at this point because they realize what He’s just alluded to and then plainly states– that He IS the Messiah. Uh, mic drop.

So, what if the temple had been closed for two months? Would this have halted Jesus? Would He have been in an uproar to get the doors re-opened? 

I want to take us back to the story of Mary and Martha. Not so we can look at my woman of faith doppleganger, Martha, but Mary. We are told in Luke 10 that Mary was found at the feet of Jesus listening to His teaching. Mary wasn’t the only one in the room. Yes, Martha was pissed off in the kitchen prepping for dinner, but the rest of the family (neighbors, friends) were listening to Jesus, too.

It’s kinda what Jesus did. To echo 12-year old Jesus’ words, “Didn’t you know I must be about my Father’s business?”

He went from place to place hanging out with people. Eating meals with them and giving them the literal Word of God while He lingered there. He did this with Zacchaeus and even big time Pharisees and Jewish leaders, too.

It was this meeting people along the way kind of ministry. The kind of ministry that met people at water holes, along roadsides, in cemetaries (hello, demon possessed naked man!) and in open fields.

He was not shackled to a building, but rather a mission. 

And I get it, we’ve tied the mission of God to a building for so long it’s been uncomfortable and shaky for many when that building (crutch?) has been taken away. 

In a very real way, I understand that meeting together can be encouraging. How praying with one another and worshiping together can usher in the presence of God. I would never deny that, but maybe our church buildings have become precious little idols.

I wonder that because when it’s taken away (even temporarily) a spirit of fear rose up. “They’re denying us our freedom!” “We’re being persecuted!” In Sunday School, we are taught early on that an idol is anything that takes our focus off of God and onto something or someone else. So, again, I just wonder if a building/service/institution has become our focus.

I often wonder if Jesus would be impressed at our big fancy buildings that take up city blocks or old strip mall plazas or would He remind us that it is just a tool. One of many that can be used for His glory. If it gets taken away tomorrow His mission doesn’t and will not end because He’s bigger than that. 

Please hear me. I am not trying to be edgy, clickbaity or controversial. I’m just like you– trying to figure out the heart of God in a world that is constantly changing. I don’t want to miss something He has for me, or US, because I was so busy focusing on one thing when He had something better and BIGGER in mind.

 

 

Things You Shouldn’t Say to the Hurting

Things You Shouldn't Say to the Hurting

Here’s another one from the vault. Last week’s post was from 2015– this one goes back a snidge further to 2014.

I’ve debated on reopening these posts and actually finishing them. There’s a reason I never hit publishShame (& fear) has often stopped me in my tracks. I’ve worried I’d “offend” people. Afraid of being misheard or misunderstood.

Turns out that I’m finding freedom in realizing no matter what I do or say someone will always be upset. So, I’m going to share the stuff I feel like God has placed on my heart and hope it encourages the people it’s meant to.

A few weeks ago (in 2014) at church, a lady came up to me and said: “It’s so nice to see you smiling again. It’s good to have you back.”

I didn’t know I had been “gone”.

If you’ve spent any time with me in person, you’d know that my face is pretty readable. When I’m sad, you can tell. When I’m pissed off, you can tell. When I’m giddy with excitement, you can tell. If I need a cup of coffee….you get it.

There’s no doubt, that my “struggling” had been visible to people. I knew I hadn’t been smiling very much, but I’m not the type to smile if I’m not happy. Maybe you think its appropriate to be fake in certain settings, but I don’t. See it as a flaw or a virtue, I am who I am.

So, when I stared at her first in shock and then in frustration, I’m pretty sure she could sense that I wasn’t taking her comment as encouragement even though I’m assuming that was her intention.

Instead of encouragement I was met with shame. Holly, why can’t you just get your crap together? Why do you always seem to be struggling? You’re a Christian, what kind of testimony is it to be such a mess? That’s a brief and highly edited synopsis of my internal thought life after the woman walked away.

I was hurt. It hurt. And it’s ok to admit that. It doesn’t make me emotional or immature or ungodly. IT MAKES ME HUMAN. 

I’ve sat in meetings where people have told me they couldn’t understand how I could look so miserable. What kind of leader was I? Just more examples of what NOT to say to someone who is hurting.

It never seemed to cross their minds to simply ask, “Hey Holly. It looks like you’re hurting. I see you. I care about you.”

I’ve said the wrong things, too. Actually, just this week (back in 2020 now) I probably (read: absolutely) said some things to my best friend I shouldn’t have. I was trying my best to encourage with endless Bible verses when all she really needed to hear was “I love you. I’m sorry this sucks so bad. Let’s eat ice cream.”

Is it bad to share Bible verses or worship songs that have lifted you up in hopes it’ll be a drink for their weary soul? No. Not at all. Most of the time though they just want to know you care.

Just shut up and care, Holly.

 

Death by Religion

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I don’t usually do this and I don’t want to make a habit of it, but I want to make a disclaimer before I get into the heart of this post. I write what I feel like God has placed on my heart– what He’s speaking to me about. It’s not always comfortable stuff and it may be uncomfortable to hear, but I refuse to filter my words in fear of offending someone. Believe me, this stuff is just as much for me as it is for other people.

God asks me to write. I didn’t choose this life or calling, but I have determined in my heart to be as faithful and obedient as possible. I won’t always get it right, but there is nothing that I share that I haven’t carefully considered.

I’ve seen religion kill a lot of things. Creativity. Relationships. Purpose. Heart/Passion. I’ve seen it bind people with made up rules and expectations for the sake of appearances. Religion has locked people in boxes of tradition and thrown away the keys. Religion can go to hell.

Religiosity is what sent Jesus to the cross. Rather the fact that Jesus refused to obey the religious expectations (legalism) put in place by tradition. He did things like:

Heal on the Sabbath (HOW DARE HE?! Doesn’t He know there’s 6 other days in the week for that. Our Sabbath rules are much more important than hurting PEOPLE.)

Hang out with drunkards and outcasts of society (Come on, Jesus. You know better to hang out with people like that. They’ll get their sinner cooties on you.)

He gained a following (The religious did not like this because they were jealous. Jesus was becoming more popular than them.)

The final nail in the coffin (or cross as the case may be) for Jesus was the fact that Jesus claimed to be the Son of God. Jesus simple admission of identity secured His death sentence. What’s interesting to me about this point is that these religious leaders knew the prophesies and Word of God (they only had Old Testament at this time) more than anyone else. Like, that’s what got them to the positions they were in– even having huge portions of it memorized. Yet, they missed it. They knew the Word and yet missed the Word when it was standing right in front of them.

That’s was religion does though…it can blind you.

Good Friday shows this so eloquently in Scripture. I will be referencing verses from Mark 26:47-Mark 47:44 (TPT) and reiterating a few points I stated earlier.

  • Mark 26:47 It was the ruling priests and Jewish leaders who ordered Jesus arrested.
  • Mark 26:57 It was the chief priest, religious scholars and Jewish council who held the meeting to interrogate Jesus.
  • Mark 26:59 These same religious leaders “were doing their best to find false charges that they could bring against Jesus because they were looking for a reason to put him to death.”
  • Mark 27:1 The religious leaders resolved to take action against Jesus.
  • Mark 27:12 The religious leaders slandered and accused Jesus.
  • Mark 27:18 Pilate recognized the Jewish leaders were handing Jesus over because of jealousy. (As the Passion Translation puts it their bitter jealousy)
  • Mark 27:20 The religious people were inciting the crowd– literally getting them riled up and on their side.

So, what’s the answer? What am I getting at?

If I were to sum it up, it would be this: Jesus showed us that we were not meant to be led by religion but by the Spirit of God (the Holy Spirit). Jesus did what His Father told Him to do. If it was healing someone on the Sabbath, He did it. If it was hanging out with people that didn’t fit the status quo, He did it. If was saying something that made people uncomfortable (like eat my flesh and drink my blood kinda stuff), He did it.

What I love so much about Jesus and find so absolutely freeing is that He didn’t allow people (or fear of people) to dictate His actions. He simply wanted to bring His Heavenly Father pleasure.

Even if that meant going to the cross. And He did so willingly and loving for the wildly religious and the blatant sinner both categories of which I have found myself.