In an article this weekend in The New York Times called “The Bad Faith of the White Working Class,” author J.D. Vance pointed out that the politi cization of the church has led to widespread thinking that the main enemies of our faith are external. The bad guys are all out there — the secularists, the “evil elites,” the Muslims, etc. And while preachers preach against all the evil out there, Christians on the inside are pulling further and further away from the world and more into isolationism and finger-pointing. This isolation and fear of encroachment from the outside and tendency to project complex problems onto simple villains is fueling both the current political campaigns here in America and the decision in Britain to leave the European Union. It is a widespread fear that has gripped the white working class in the Western World that the world as we know it is changing.
This is true, but pulling in and building walls is not going to stop it. Actually, nothing is going to stop it, and as believers, we need to be better equipped to handle these cultural changes with grace and love. That’s why, here at the Catch, we emphasize the Gospel of Welcome and grace turned outward. God’s arms are open to everyone without discrimination, and the grace we have received, we are eager to extend out toward everyone, everywhere.
In light of this, I need to make a disclaimer about my Catch last Friday lest I be misunderstood. The passage I used for Friday’s Catch (1 Corinthians 5:9-13) has been a long-time favorite of mine for what it says to Christians about open attitudes towards those outside the body. However, it’s been pointed out to me that, due to the current controversial subject of homosexuality among Christians, my use of this passage could be interpreted as a mandate, at least by some, to remove or bar gays and lesbians from the fellowship because of what Paul says about judging those inside the church. That would not be my intent, primarily because this passage deals with incest, not homosexuality, and there is too much disagreement by respected leaders and scholars on all sides of the latter to close the book on it.
It is in keeping with the Gospel of Welcome here at the Catch that we remain open to all, and so we lovingly welcome all of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters to walk alongside us as we journey toward a deeper and fuller understanding of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
* Title from the song, “For What It’s Worth” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young