You may hate me after you read this. If you do, you won’t be alone. My hate mail file has suddenly gotten rather thick, after a recent post.
For decades, I have endured the disdain of church members who felt their church was drifting out of their control under my leadership. There was always resistance to steps that made church more meaningful to those who were uninitiated to the religious subculture.
As I eventually moved away from the institutional church, my writings were often critical, while suggesting a more real and integrated way of following Christ. That resonated with a wide audience, but stirred the hate of others who wanted “to take me on” in a tit-for-tat exchange to drive home their point and prove my heresy.
I have taken my share of hits from religiously and politically conservative minded people.
Most of my real life friends are conservative, while most of my Internet friends lean liberal. I am a confusing mess of liberal and conservative opinions, though I am often disgusted with both sides.
But my recent spate of hate mail came from liberal-oriented groups that had the words “progressive” and “Christian” in their name, but didn’t seem to be either to me. They were the most narrow-minded, self-righteous, and mean-spirited people I have encountered in a long time.
So, that was a new source of disdain for me, though their hate is much the same. Often they have not even read the entire post. They read into it whatever they wanted. They didn’t accept clarifications. They didn’t want to discuss matters; they preferred to make accusations in a snippy fashion, so often found in the comment section of Internet sites. They were as self-righteous in their “upholding of social justice” as a hard-core conservative is uncaring toward those who are disadvantaged, and they are just as closed to real discussion.
Personally, I believe the term Christian Right is offensive to God, just like the term, Christian Left. They both amount to politicizing God so as to appear they are on God’s side, and he is on theirs.
There is too little conversation, too much hate, too many drive-by cheap shots lobbed at each other, and no willingness to understand something outside of an entrenched personal paradigm.
I have learned that grace is the most controversial topic of all. We would rather talk about justice (at least for others,) and how our perspective is so correct, so noble, that we are head and shoulders above those idiots on the other side. After all, we do…, or don’t do…, or work for…
Religion can become an inducement for the sins of pride, exclusion, and self-righteousness
It’s easy to forget that pride is the root of sin, and that we each need grace as much as the most hardened criminal.