To all of my half-Christian, Sunday Christian, used to be Christian, kind of Christian, questioning Christian, and hating Christian friends:
I am sorry. I am so incredibly sorry.
I am sorry that we have been so quick to talk about love with our mouths and so slow to live it with our lives. I am sorry that we have chosen destruction over compassion. I am sorry that we have become people that are overwhelmingly known for what we hate, but hardly known for that which we love.
You may think I am crazy, but I am begging that you would forgive me for the ways in which I have failed to love you, respect you, and see you as brothers and sisters in all of this. My heart aches knowing that the ones who have been called to represent Love Himself have represented everything but that. You don’t deserve the ways in which we have treated you, and I am sure my heart could never be as broken as your is, but I, too, ache.
And to all of you that have left the Church, that have left the faith, or that have been forced to stay as far away from us as possible:
I am sorry we have failed you and hurt you.
And I know that a million apologies will never be enough to fill the holes we have dug and heal the pain that we have caused, but let me be the first to tell you that I am sorry. And you have every right to hate us. You have every right to ridicule us, to spurn us, and to do everything possible to avoid us and wish us gone, but please know that any person that uses faith to minimize, burden, or harm others has done so out of his or her own, personal agenda. Please know that their hatred does not reflect me. Please know that their indignation does not reflect the opinion of the Church or the theology of our faith. And please, above all else, know that their words and actions do not even come close to reflecting the deep love the Father has for you. If you couldn’t tell already, us Christians are desperately in need of this Savior, Jesus.
It is my heart’s greatest desire that I would be given one more chance to listen to you, one more chance to draw near to you, and one more chance to show you that at my core, all I’ve ever really wanted was for you to know how loved you really are.
And I’ve heard it said before:
We take the clean, living water of God and place it into our rusty buckets only to curse the water as if the water were bad.
The water was never bad, in fact, its the best thing this world has to offer. I’m sorry that our rusty buckets have really just made a shit show out of all of this.
And finally, to those of us that are still convicted to be a part of the Church:
I am begging you to WAKE UP.
Where have you been? Where have you been as the world has been hurting? Where have you been as the stones are being tossed? What have you been doing as the broken world has needed you? How have you chosen the ways of the world over the ways of Heaven? And I’ll be the first to admit that I am still struggling to answer these questions for myself.
I don’t care where you stand on social issues if your first response is to spout out hatred instead of seeking to understand, repair, and love. I don’t care what you think about gay marriage, health care, abortion, gun control, immigration, or any any other sensitive topic if you haven’t taken a moment to pause and pray and seek out the Third Way in all of this. Because Jesus always offered us a Third Way.
When a zero-sum game is played with human lives, no one ever really wins. 10,000 hungry children should never be bargaining chips for a hate-filled agenda, especially when doused in a full measure of haughty righteousness.
And some of us, including myself, will be quick to conclude that we have nothing to do with any of this. We will be quick to say that we think, talk, act, and live in a world outside of this cheap, nonsensical, evangelical machine. And we can tell ourselves this all we want, but at the end of the day, this is more of our problem than we want to admit.
Because the Church is a hot mess, but SHE’S OUR HOT MESS.
And if Jesus Christ hasn’t given up on her yet, how can we?
And so, I pray with a heavy heart tonight, that we would represent, and re-present Love to a hurting world. I pray that we learn to listen more than we speak, love more than we hate, and humble ourselves like never before. I pray that we become ordinary radicals that are dedicated to building bridges between Heaven and Earth. I pray that we don’t lose sight of the power of love to repair all things, and when we do, I pray that we have enough humility to speak up and make things right.
The best revolutions have always been born out of heavy hearts and a deep desire for something different. Now is that time.
I still have faith in you and in us. I still have faith in the power of grace to listen, vulnerability to unify, forgiveness to strengthen, and love to heal. I still have the audacity to cling to hope, and I still dare to believe that the Living Water, in its truest form, has the ability transform lives in ways we never dreamed of.
Together, may we begin to re-imagine what love can look like in our lives and in the lives of those around us. No one should have to live another moment not knowing that they are so incredibly loved right now, right where they are.
To God Be the Glory,