Listening to the news, reading the blogs and listening to “professional Christians talk today I was left with some questions.
When did the church quite being “followers of Christ” and become the zealots of “power and control”?
When did we forget the main teaching of Jesus the Christ was to call people back into relationship with God?
When did we forget most of Jesus’ teachings around God were about what it was like to be with God and how God desires to be with us?
When did we forget that Jesus lived a life of forgiveness and grace as opposed to condemnation and exclusion?
When did we forget Jesus was born out of wedlock?
When did we forget the first response of Jesus to a major challenge was to pray?
When did we forget that when Jesus fed people they did not have to fill out paper work?
When did we forget that at one time Jesus was an “illegal immigrant”?
When did we forget Jesus taught us to turn the other check?
When did we forget Jesus taught that “murder” was wrong regardless if we thought it justified or not?
When did we forget that Jesus said, “let the one without sin” cast the first stone”?
When did we forget that Jesus taught that divorce was not a good idea? (Hummm…. maybe we forgot this one when we quit being careful who we hooked up with.)
When did we forget that Jesus looked into the eyes of one clearly condemned and guilty of the crime for which they were accused and said: “I accuse you not”?
When did we forget that Jesus taught us not to swear an oath by God, but let our yes be yes and our no be no?
When did we forget that Jesus taught us to love our enemies?
When did we forget Jesus taught if asked for our coat we should give our shirt too?
When did we forget that Jesus said those who are not against us are for us?
When did we forget the greatest love we can show is when we lay our life down for our friends?
When did we forget the meaning of the words when Jesus taught us to pray like this:
“This, then, is how you should pray:
” ‘Our Creator in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our sins,
as we also have forgiven those who sin against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil ‘ for if you forgive people when they sin against you, your heavenly Creator will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive their sins, your Creator will not forgive your sins.
When did we forget the living standard Jesus was teaching when he said:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
When did we forget the only commandment that Jesus gave us is:
“… Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Finally but not least…when did we forget the judgment of God would be based on these words of Jesus:
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’
“They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’
“He will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
“Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
I am not sure, as I am just one little queer preacher who according to the professional Christian is going to burn in hell…but it appears we might be putting far to much time effort and money into the wrong things. Seems to me we might be living in a different kind of world if more folks were remembering these afore mentioned things each day. Just a disturbing thought.
Founding and Senior Pastor of Gentle Spirit Christian Church and Editor-in-Chief of Whosoever, Rev. Paul M. Turner (he/him) grew up in suburban Chicago and was ordained by the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches in 1989. He was called to Atlanta in 1994 to pastor All Saints MCC. Five years later he founded Gentle Spirit Christian Church. He lives in Decatur with his husband Bill, who he met in 1982 while living and working in Ohio and legally married in 2015.