WHY ARE SOME PEOPLE NOT INCLUDED (By Patrick Burk)
I can hear it now…oh BOY!!! Here he is again. First he subjects us to his “hyper teen church” attendance, in an attempt to find himself, in his first entry and now he is going to assault us with more of his CRAZY thinking. Guess what? You are right. Now most of what I profess is really only my beliefs. I guess you, the reader can take it or leave it. Some will take and some will not and as my Dad used to say…take all the advice you can get, you may use some of it and you may not use it at all…but it is free and you won’t know if it is useful unless you take it. So here goes.
It has always intrigued me that there is a kind of double standard in some areas of Fundamental Christian thinking. Like my friends – they shall remain nameless so that only I get the feedback. For years they attended a church as regular as the sun rises every Sunday and for years they decided that they really felt like they belonged. One day, a new young minister came to their church and started talking about “living in sin”. Now his intent was to let all know that only man and woman can live together in the “union of God” as husband and wife. IF no marriage has taken place, well then you really were not truly a Christian. This really took them back since they had lived together for 17 years and spent a lot of that time working and helping at church activities. It became apparent that the new direction of the “new” minister did not allow them to feel comfortable with their own prescribed living arrangements. In fact, they were asked over and over again about their arrangement and soon came the pressure to be married.
Feeling that they were being compromised, they left their church of many years and started shopping for a new one. One thing led to another and soon the realization was that NO church doctrine fit their lifestyle. It seemed that living and loving together without a signed contract with some town or city official for some reason negated them from enjoying fulfillment in a church. In their eyes they were together with God. How sorry they felt when minister after minister asked them over and over again about marital status and “encouraged” them to take that step and sign the papers. Two good people, who WORKED hard for their church, set aside because another person, not GOD, but another person felt that their commitment to each other had to be done in a single way. The “churches” way. I thought that sad as well. They chose to stay home on Sundays and work in their garden.
Then there is another friend who was told after his congregation found out that he was gay that he was welcome to stay at the church but it was awkward explaining when he attended with his partner. He was counseled to have his partner attend somewhere else. It would be easier on them because his fellow church members always were talking about him and his “friend”. Once again there is nothing quite as nasty as righteous gossip by those that are free of sin. So where do the Fundamentalist think gay people should go to church? Perhaps the “ship them all to an island alone” mentality really needs to be looked at. It seems strange that my friend’s value as a member stayed intact as long as his partner was not with him. They still liked his weekly and annual donations, they still wanted him to work with the others in taking care of the property and attending all the special functions and they still wanted him to belong, but under their rules of acceptance. No one person has the right to tell another what “life style” is correct for church attendance. No one doctrine holds the moral high road on this issue.
In fact, I really do think that if Christ walked amongst us today he would be sickened by the sense of exclusion that has permeated some areas of Christian Churches. Do we really feel that Christ would not approach anyone with a kind and caring nature? How can we believe that God does not look at all people with caring and compassion? I can tell you one thing, those that denounce others because of life style and do so reciting the word of God really should look in the mirror. Righteousness based on exclusion is not the way of Christ. Kind and caring Christians know that. As a Dad and Grandfather, I hope more and more Christians take the road of acceptance and kindness and not the too often taken road of Christian rhetoric of exclusion. For my kids and grandkids I hope for a better, loving world. I think Christ likes it that way.
NEXT TIME – Why some people feel like they don’t belong?