Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Initial Thoughts on Stockholm Syndrome

One of the founding principles of the Baptist branch of the Christian faith is the separation of Church and State. You know that thing called the Bill of Rights? You can thank Baptists for that. Unfortunately, you would probably have a hard time finding more than a couple Baptists out of 100 who still believe that. They have been led away from that ideal by a couple decades of false teaching.

That teaching says that the true measure of our faith lies not in how we live or behave, but in how “Christian” our country is. Therefore, it is our Christian duty to make sure that the whole world lives the way we believe they should, not by changing their hearts, but by imposing laws. For example, some Christians think you shouldn’t drink, so it needs to be illegal to drink or at least sell alcohol.

The only problem with this mentality is that it causes us to devote energy and time into trying to make sinners live like saved people by force. That is problematic because (a) it doesn’t work, and (b) it takes energy away from the things we should be doing like changing hearts and serving peoples needs out of love.

One of the things generating these thoughts today is the discussion of Derek Webb’s latest efforts, especially his song “What Matters Most.” In it, he vents his anger against the church, going so far as to say that we seem to not give a s--- that people are dying every day from starvation because we are so busy hating homosexuals. There are three things that need to be said about that:

(1) While not every Christian hates homosexuals, far too many people in the Evangelical Ghetto do. They think that sins are ranked into degrees of “badness” and homosexuality is the worst. They forget that it is simply another sin and that homosexuals are loved by Jesus too and that He died for them as well. Far too much effort has been channeled into hating, demonizing, and politically fighting the homosexual movement that could have been better spent in loving them and trying to bring Jesus to them.

(2) Derek clouded the issue with his choice of words. In that same Evangelical Ghetto where Homosexuality is sin number 1, profanity is a close second. We would much rather have closeted adulterers in our churches than people who openly choose to talk about excrement, unless they use words like “poop” or “number 2.” If he had used common phrases like “give a s---” to communicate with the lost culture, they would have understood what he was saying right away, but since he is preaching to the American Church he sabotaged his own message.

(3) If you get past all the cultural walls in the song that make it hard for the target audience to hear what he is saying, he may have a point. How spoiled has the church become in America? Everywhere in the world, the church has to live out their lives every day in a world full of open sin. Often, the belief they hold endangers their lives. They have to learn to live their faith in the face of that sin and learn to hold to what they believe for real. Instead, in America, the church is offended when the sinful world doesn’t have a problem with sin. Instead of holding to what we believe in a sea of sin, loving the world with Christ’s love; we have been taught to “stand” for what we believe and try to force sinners to live by saved standards. Often that translates into something that is not loving but rather attacking.

1 comment:

  1. Living in Canada has opened my eyes and my mind SO much as to the kind of Christian I want to be. I realize, I do want to be in the world--but not of that--and not to sound cliche, but I really mean, that I don't have a problem with my kid going to public school and rubbing shoulders with some VERY lost people--and their sins. It doesn't scare me. I want to ere on the side of loving people--even if I have to love them in their sin. I don't know how I feel really about Derek Webb, but I liked your post. Canadians are VERY aware of separation of church and state--it's very different up here in that way too--and I think I really like it! Thanks for the post!

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