Some have wondered if it’s worth our time caring about what the general populace is thinking and saying about Christians and Christianity. “That’s not my business,” some would say. “It’s only my business to live my life as a true follower of Christ.” I agree that this is ultimately what matters: how we live versus what we say; as Marti likes to say, “It’s the little things you do, not the big things you say, that matters.”
However, having said that, it still is important to be aware of the broader cultural messages that are being displayed in the media as “Christian,” and where those messages are wrong or misguided, we, as followers of Christ and leaders of others who are following, need to point out those errors and correct them. Indeed, virtually all of the teaching of Jesus was set in the context of what the prevailing religious leaders were teaching that was wrong.
Fifty years ago, no one knew what Christians thought and few cared. In the ensuing years, that has drastically changed. Today, news about Christians and evangelicals is front-page fodder, especially in an election year when Christians and evangelicals who have mobilized politically (something I don’t think we ever should have done) have become a force to be reckoned with by all who are running for office. In some states, people who call themselves Christians make up over 50% of the voting public. For a politician to ignore that voting bloc would be a big mistake. But what is being put across by that group as the prevailing concerns of Christians and evangelicals may or may not reflect the concerns and attitudes of Christ. And when it doesn’t, I have a really hard time standing by and watching.
For instance, Jesus would not kick gays and lesbians out of church. Jesus would not consider the interests of the wealthy as more important than the interests of the poorest of the poor. Jesus would not think it was important for everyone in the country to be able to own a gun. Jesus would not advocate building walls anywhere. Jesus would not put the security of the nation over the needs of society.
Yet for some reason, these are the things that keep coming to the forefront as being on the agenda of most Christians, and if that is the message that is going out to the world, I am deeply concerned that the world hears this, and nothing about the love, grace and forgiveness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. And just as Jesus preached, “You have heard it said … but I say to you …”, I am doing the same thing.
And if there are those who are using my Father’s house as a means of padding their political coffers and gathering up votes, I’m going to want to turn over their tables and kick them out. They have no business fleecing the Body of Christ for votes. “You have turned my Father’s house into a den of politicians.”
For almost fifteen years, “Declaration of a Marketplace Christian” has stood as our core statement of what we believe here at the Catch. You will notice that, just as in the teachings of Jesus, its main points are set against the backdrop of what is wrong about the prevailing suppositions of the culture about Christians. I find that I have to read this piece periodically just to remind myself of what I believe because it is in such contrast to what is commonly held. I highly recommend everyone read this, especially in light of this election year. If you’ve never read this or you haven’t read it in the last 6 months, you must read it now. It is a requirement for all Catch citizens. It will take you only five minutes to read, and a lifetime to figure out.