Can The Church Disagree Without Being Haters?

“What are Christians known for? Outsiders think our moralizing, our condemnations, and our attempts to draw boundaries around everything. Even if these standards are accurate and biblical, they seem to be all we have to offer. And our lives are a poor advertisement for the standards.” – David Kinnaman, Good Faith

Somewhere in the early 80’s I started getting uncomfortable. Someone with a name and influence began speaking for me only they were saying things I didn’t agree with. Even when I did agree, I didn’t like their tone, their finger pointing and judgement.

They gathered up a group of like-minded folks and gave themselves a name: the Moral Majority. It wasn’t long before we were seeing bumper stickers in our secular community saying “The Moral Majority is neither moral nor the majority”.

This group was speaking as if they were the voice of The Church. Our country, and maybe the world, thought they were.

Memphis street preacher

It’s put those of us who make up the church in a tough situation. It’s made every bible believing, Christ following person suspect. It’s made the tenants of the Christian faith nothing more than antiquated rules and its followers uneducated bigots who spout hate and condemnation.

People cast a wary eye on the church-goer. This loud voice speaking on behalf of all of us did more than make us distant from others, it divided us among ourselves. How could anyone be a Christian if they didn’t protest against abortion? Or they voted for a democrat?

I believe in sin. I believe all are born into sin as a result of Adam and Eve’s disobedience. And I believe that God sent His Son, Jesus, to pay the penalty for our sin. To all who call out for Jesus to save us from ourselves, He steps in, forgives and forgets our sin and calls us His own.

This is the good news. This is the good news no one will listen to if our lives don’t show it.

“The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians: who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, walk out the door, and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Brennan Manning

The world has changed in too many ways to count since the 80’s. Social media records every rant, misspoken word, ill thought joke. Yet the majority of churches, pastors and ministries have a presence on social media. They want to share the good news. But what’s good news?

This is where it gets sticky. Good is only known from bad so what is bad? What is sin to one generation is a lifestyle choice to another. The absolutes that once were are no more. We are a Church living in postmodern times. Every tweeted word is dissected. Every action measured to our words. Are we doing what we’re preaching? 

It can feel like we’re in a no-win situation. If I say homeschooling isn’t for my family, I’m suddenly labeled a hater of homeschooling and maybe I hate kids too. It sounds extreme but we’ve all seen this ridiculousness play out in social media day after day.

There is hope.

The Church has long been labeled haters of the LGBTQ community yet In the wake of the terrible massacre at the gay nightclub in Orlando, The Church opened their arms and wallets to offer comfort for families of the victims. They helped with funeral expenses and offered more than flowers left at the site.

The Body of Christ is speaking out on taking in refugees and getting involved in local foster care. Ministries are organized to fight against human trafficking and community gardens are helping to grow the good news in tangible ways.

Our words won’t garner us accolades or fill the church pews. But our actions, the ones that are louder than words, will take the good news beyond The Church walls. Just where Jesus has been trying to lead us for years.

More about Debby Hudson

Where do you find grace? Inside the church walls? Around the dinner table with your family? For years, grace was not much more than the prayer we said before meals or a biblical concept. Then I met a group of men who had, as we say, reached bottom. They welcomed me to Graceland. They showing me grace can be found in the darkest of places. I'm still searching and learning. I hope you'll want to come along.

9 thoughts on “Can The Church Disagree Without Being Haters?

  1. Gavin

    Great article Debby. I wish we “Christians” could read more of the way Jesus handled situations before we shout out our rude perspectives. We see religious bigots all the way back to the beginning of the Old Testament and as long as perspective exist, their will be fighting. I believe that if we practice more conversation and less converting “I’m right your wrong” we could learn a lot more. Thanks for the inspiring perspective.

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thanks Gavin. Yeah, I agree. The “I’m right/you’re wrong” perspective isn’t the posture we should take. It wasn’t what Jesus modeled.

      Reply

  2. Sarah Donegan

    We have to be out in the world making a difference. People won’t come to us if they think we hate them, we must go to them.
    I so agree that we have been labeled for decades and that is sad. Let’s show them our love!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      I agree, Sarah. We’re the ones who need to be ‘out’ showing our love. Not sitting inside the church walls wondering why people aren’t coming. I’m encouraged that the church is finally moving in that direction.

      Reply

  3. Valerie Sisco

    Hi Debby,
    Your words are so insightful! Our actions and love speak the loudest and that’s what makes a difference in the world today!

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Absolutely, Valerie. Love in action. I like the two words that are the title of Bob Goff’s book: Love Does.

      Reply

  4. Susan

    You have a very strong voice for the church and I really appreciate you, Deb. xo

    Reply

    1. Debby Hudson

      Thanks Susan. It’s been great to have other voices this month sharing their perspectives on the church. Your continued encouragement blesses me.

      Reply

  5. Lesley

    Well said! Our words will never have a positive impact if our actions say the opposite.

    Reply

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