Thursday, February 08, 2007

Name Calling

1. a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.
1. a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.

Over the course of the past year I have been called both of these words. Names, really. This is what otherwise good Christian people have called me. This is what they think I am. In two distinct and completely unrelated settings, I have been called these names. In their minds, I am a blasphemer. I was labeled an apostate in a recent and very sad church split. And just the other day, in an email, I was labeled as in cahoots with heretics.

Unlike the childhood poem that mentions sticks and stones, these kinds of names do hurt me. And, I find myself filled with sadness, at the thought of all this. Why? In my mind, this behavior hurts the cause of Christ, and the furtherance of the church. Bickering church people is what the world needs far less of. Yuck.

In both cases, I did not pick fights, or get into discussions of deep theological issues, or say something out loud that offended someone. I was not part of some huge moral failure, I did not break some fundamental law, I did not dis the Ten Commandments. I didn't even mess with the Communion wine.

I was called names for thinking, well, differently than others. For having my own opinion, and for being willing to think outside of the traditional church box. And for this, I was called names. I was not invited into a conversation, a dialogue, or a way to work out differences. Just named, classified, and cubby holed. Filed away. If you call someone a name, then you really don't need to deal with them anymore. In both cases, I did not engage, I did not react, no response. That way, its one less person calling names.

What motivates good people to do things like this? Why would upstanding, taxpaying, God fearing, mother loving folks be reduced to calling others (that they profess to "love in the Lord") names?

One word. Fear.

Its a big motivator that little word. Uncertainty. It is scary when your ideas about God get challenged, when the way you look at the world is threatened. I think this is what happened. These good people became afraid of new ideas, and so, they called names. Its easier.

Sara Groves, has a song that captures some of this behavior. In a song called "To The Moon", Sara writes:

It was there in the bulletin
We're leaving soon
After the bake sale to raise funds for fuel
The rocket is ready and we're going to
Take our church to the moon

There'll be no one there to tell us we're odd
No one to change our opinions of God
Just lots of rocks and this dusty sod
Here at our church on the moon

We know our liberties we know our rights
We know how to fight a very good fight
Just get that last bag there and turn out the light
We're taking our church to the moon
We're taking our church to the moon
We'll be leaving soon

Let It Out

The folks at Kleenex are doing a good thing:

Update. Turns out the band that composed the music are Christ followers.....
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