I guess it could be considered cheating to copy-paste something I wrote on Tumblr (http://thewriterkid.tumblr.com) over to here, but it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately and something I’d like to put before as many people as possible, so here it is:
“Wars are bloody and violent. They produce innocent victims. Are evangelicals warlike? Yes, according to the culture-wars rhetoric. Mainstream media repeatedly depict evangelicals as frightening people with scary agendas. Evangelicals respond by playing the part: the tribe assumes an us-versus-them mentality.
What would happen if evangelicals invited others to dinner rather than challenged them to war?
Pope John Paul II said that Christians should not impose their morality on others but propose a more excellent way. Martin Luther King Jr. said we must love people if we want them to change.
Jesus used peaceful metaphors. He spoke of God as a farmer scattering the seed and as a loving father searching for a lost son. He invited himself to dinner at sinners’ homes. At the dinner table, each member gets to speak, be heard, and be considered family.
Suppose evangelicals approached those they disagreed with as their neighbors and friends, sharing the common goal for a better community and society. Jesus said that his followers will be known by the way that they love others. Bury the hatchet and come to the table.”
- Elizabeth W. McLaughlin (emphasis mine)
I’ve never heard of Elizabeth before but she’s kind of my hero now, because I’m a Christian and it kills me to see so many other Christians take that war-on-this and war-on-that us-vs-them mentality that she describes. The Bible specifically says that our struggle isn’t with flesh and blood, and yet here we are declaring war on the people around us. Reminds me of that Jars of Clay song – “Lay your weapons down – there are no enemies in front of you!”
Suppose we did treat those with whom we disagree, even the ones who are rude or hostile or standoffish toward us, like our friends instead of our enemies. That’s what I try to do, and I’ve found that most of the time the fight just dies down if you don’t strike back – if you offer to listen instead of retaliate.
There’s a lot more I could say, but I’m rambling already. Point is, I’m really happy to read something directed toward my community that addresses one of our greatest shortcomings with such tact and positivity. Because let’s be honest, there are some frightening people with scary agendas among us, but we don’t have to let them be the ones who define us. They’re doing it wrong. Let’s do it right.
Let’s be known for our love.