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What if the church was known more by what we’re for than what we’re against?

It landed in my inbox and I couldn’t not read it:

A Christian Debate on Gay Marriage featuring two “experts” on either side of the issue.

The article itself wasn’t hugely compelling. (No disrespect intended.) But the comments. . . The comment thread is what drew me in.

I read pages and pages of comments, one after the other, from people in either camp of the gay marriage debate.

Some appeared to be written with much thought and intelligence.

Others seemingly rattled off out of haste and unbridled emotion.

Some quoting scripture and some quoting experience.

Many out of context.

All on both sides.

The tears began to well as I realized that what I’ve been fearing really is true:

The church is more known by what we’re against than what we are for.

Why aren’t Christians known for mothering for orphans, caring for widows, assisting the elderly, and including the outcast?

Why aren’t Christians known for embracing the refugee and the alien and fighting for their welfare and rights?

Why aren’t Christians known for being accepting and gracious and abounding in love (without conditions, prerequisites, and disclaimers)?

Why aren’t Christians known for bringing healing to the broken-hearted?

Why aren’t Christians known for being slow to anger?

Why aren’t Christians known for addressing poverty and engineering clean water and reducing child and maternal mortality through safe birth practices and reaching out to the struggling family next door?

Why aren’t Christians known for befriending inmates and serving the homeless, abolishing human trafficking and bringing an end to inhumane child labor practices?

Why aren’t Christians known for improving health care and reforming education, building communities and promoting literacy?

Why aren’t Christians known for building bridges across political parties and for seeking unity amidst diversity?

Why aren’t Christians known for empowering women?

Why aren’t Christians known for diffusing discord and being bringers of peace?

Why aren’t Christians known for being sacrificial and generous?

Why aren’t Christians known for throwing down their swords and picking up their crosses?

Why aren’t Christians known for loving gay people? Any people? All people?


It breaks my heart that we are known for deciding who is in sin, and who isn’t. Who gets into heaven, and who doesn’t. What sins should be legislated, and which sins shouldn’t. (As if that “right” belongs exclusively to us.)

Because don’t we all just really need Jesus?

And isn’t the ground at the cross a level place?

Wasn’t his sacrifice sufficient for everyone?

Have we not all been made in his image?

Does he not delight in his children, whether they know him or not?

Aren’t we all worthy of his gift?

Is there not room enough in his heart for all? Is there not room enough in mine?

So I closed the screen as my lap became wet with heavy tears.

Forgive us Lord. Have mercy. Draw near. Show your face.

I wept as I prayed.

And then I wondered, what if we prayed more than we lobbied?

What if we practiced more than we preached?

What if we served more than we sought protection?

What if we asked for more of God’s heart to help us navigate our times instead of relying on our own?

What if compassion moved us, instead of anger, fear, and judgment?

What if we loved, expecting nothing in return?

What if we washed feet?

What if the church was more known by what we're for than what we're against?

This post originally appeared on May 14, 2012 on my other wee blog where I used to free-write for five minutes a day  (writing uninterrupted and posting unedited), although this entry pushed me closer to ten… and I’ve now fixed a couple of typos and added links. Somehow it didn’t make it over when I merged my two blogs into last year and I felt it was relevant to repost it in the wake of World Vision’s recent fiasco. I didn’t want to post in the heat of the upset and confusion when it all hit the fan, but thought it was time now that people seemed to have calmed down a bit.

This is still my prayer today: Forgive us Lord. Have mercy. Draw near. Show your face.


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  • Reply Meg 14 April 2014 at 1:21 pm

    LOVE this! So true. It breaks my heart all the fighting, when we’re just supposed to love God, and love one another.

  • Reply Charissa Steyn 30 April 2014 at 9:08 am

    so well said…thanks for sharing your precious thoughts on this. Simple and beautiful.
    Charissa Steyn recently posted..How to Change the Course of Your Day and…Your LifeMy Profile

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