“Christians are a bunch of judgmental witch hunters. They find a way to vilify anything that anybody enjoys.”
Increasingly, that’s the reputation attached to Christian folk. And, sadly, some church leaders and teachers go out of their way to promote their holier-than-thou judgmentalism.
As a publisher of Christian resources, I frequently hear from squinty-eyed conspiracy theorists who find evil in innocence everywhere they look. Some examples:
- If you depict a rainbow you must be supporting a radical gay agenda.
- If you ask people to silently meditate on a biblical truth you must be a Buddhist.
- If you refer to science you must be a God-hating humanist.
- If you discuss the environment you must be a pagan.
- If you ask students to visualize a certain scenario you must be a New Ager.
- If you like Easter eggs you must be a Babylonian Mother Goddess worshiper.
- If you discuss things in popular culture you must be a “neo-Christian.”
- If you set up a prayer walk you must be an Emergent heretic.
- If you dance you must work at a strip club.
- If you keep your underwear secret you must be a Mormon.
- If you offer a potluck you must be a luck-believing follower of Lucifer. (The correct term, I learned, is “potblessing.”)
This is a classic case of guilt by association. If anyone anywhere has ever used something for a less-than-heavenly purpose, that thing and anyone who uses it must be considered unclean. This brand of judgmentalism has become a self-righteous weapon of mass destruction.
But, actually, such judgmentalism has been around a long time. Jesus faced the same phenomenon. The witch hunters of the day called Jesus a “glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.” He associated with the “wrong” people and the “wrong” things. He picked grain on the Sabbath, for heaven’s sake.
The Pharisees are alive and well. Today. And, they’re inhibiting the cause of Christ. They’re portraying the church as a judgmental band of paranoid finger-pointers.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that Christian folk should wear rose-colored glasses. But I mourn the harm being done by those who look at life through crap-colored glasses.
I’m afraid the older I get the most openly angry I get about this.
larry..as long as you’re not getting cynical or bitter about this, I think being angry about it would be considered righteous anger!:)
A resounding AMEN!
Right on Thom! I’ve been on the receiving end of some of the judgements you have listed and many more not on the list. I sure didn’t know that there was anything wrong with potlucks! I have always found the to be fun, relational and a great way to get know people out of the pews. I have never heard the term “potblessing” and if someone invited me to one, I would not be sure what I was being invited to. I will keep my rainbow colored glasses over the crap ones every day! Thank you for the bold stance you take in your commentaries! With this article you remind me of Andy Rooney and that’s a good thing!
Amen; this attitude has caused untold numbers of folks to stay away from the church!
I think that this whole thing is more subtle then you describe it. I think the real destruction is when it takes place in families. I have been guilty of this in my family in the past and I am paying for it now. Thanks for the post. It is needed.
“If you ask people to silently meditate on a biblical truth you must be a Buddhist.”
The only time this may be acceptable is when meditating on the Bible when doing yoga instead of inner self and connection with the earth. Although, just the mention of yoga begins a whole other diatribe…
What about carving pumpkins at Halloween? A church I used to go to said I couldn’t do this. I then asked them if it would be okay if I carved a happy face on a watermelon instead of a pumpkin…then would it be okay?
Hoo, boy..I bet there’s no one in ministry who hasn’t dealt with this in some way or other. It’s amazing how you can work like a dog writing lessons, carefully and relationally teaching them to kids (or youth), and have parents pick out some extraneous thing to carp on. We recently had a class in which the teacher used the word “carouse”. They were talking about what you should do if your friend was making bad choices – should you help, how should you help? Someone asked what carouse meant, another child piped up and said it meant getting drunk. Next thing I know, I have an angry parent concerned that I have exposed her pre-teen child to the word drunk! I smoothed things out as best I could, but, really, I wondered, what world does your child live in that he would never come across this word or concept? Legalism – we are legion!
Not to mention the evil, pagan roots of Christmas! These mindsets make churches sterile – we have more fear of being unholy or unclean than that people are facing eternal suffering if we don’t reach our world.
Judgement should begin the church, while we love the world, not the other way around.
I am steeling the crap Colored glasses next time a have this discussion with someone. ( I say this a lot) If we are truely following Jesus we need to love EVERYONE, yes even ME!
“crap-colored glasses.” A classic turn of phrase. I may need to commandeer that bit of genius. When I was growing up I heard a saying that has stuck with me. It covered some of what you are discussing here.
“They are so heavenly minded they are no earthly good.”
Good words, Thom.
That’s a great list. Most we can laugh at, but it’s the more subtle ones that I think are the most dangerous. Labeling them as Phariseeism is right on…because they focus more on who’s in and who’s out rather than what Jesus accomplished for us.
In fact, I might just put this question in my arsenal the next time I hear something similar to your list from someone with crap-colored glasses: “Can you tell me how that relates to Jesus dying for us on the cross?”
You said it Benjer! It’s all about Jesus dying for us! Gotta stay focused! Good article Thom!
Great post, Thom…and timely.
In a meeting recently, I was told I was complicating things when I chimed in after a comment of “God’s truth is God’s truth” with, “Universal truth is universal truth.” Last time I checked, since God created the universe, then all universal truth would be God’s truth. I found the fact that I was complicating things by stating this interesting.
Thom, I’ve never heard it said better than your bold article. Thanks for reminding us that Christ also faced unfair judgements, but he continued his ministry. He called things as they were, but always stood up for the truth. You’ve provided that same example here. Great!
LOL!!! crap colored glasses! :Tell it like it is Thom”–that’s my new name for you!! LOVE your posts Thom…I have told my pastor husband he needs to subscribe to them, as sometimes I feel you are writing our very lives! Thanks for honesty, being real and saying what most of us are all feeling!! God Bless!