The American Christian, Divided
“And with each pastor’s public endorsement and with every social media sanctioning, the disconnect between America Christianity and the Jesus of the Gospel became more noticeable to those of us looking closely and grieving it all.”
~John Pavlovitz, author of A Bigger Table ( emphasis my own)
I find myself speaking up and speaking out for Jesus of Nazareth more often lately. I want people to really know what he stood for and against. I want people to understand that the ones with the platform do not represent the Jesus of the Gospel. Whether or not you even believe he was Son of Man is not really the issue. It is whether or not you see Jesus the way they see Jesus, or if you see Jesus the way the Gospels show Jesus. Believer or not, Jesus was infinitely awesome! However, if you see Jesus as they represent him, you’re probably running for the hills. Quite useless to the mission, isn’t it? Yet, I still have to ask myself, “Am I being exclusionary to them, the same way they are to everyone else? Or am I being just in calling out the false teachers?” In other words, “Do they have a seat at the table like everyone else?”
John Pavlovitz has been a voice of reason for me throughout this election and administration. He has put a lot in perspective for me. His new book, A Bigger Table, came out at just the right time. You see, as a new person to Jesus’s table, I have a hard time seeing others as representing Jesus well. I guess it is because I’m not a well churched person that I was able to see the Trinity as who They are. It has been hard for me to tell the churched people who I just don’t get American Christianity. It is so nasty to me. They push people out, they shut their doors, they seem much more like the Pharisees, to me anyway. But, am I closing my door? Is that ok? I have to keep my sanity, I have to protect myself. But if I build a wall for protection, how will they ever see Christ in me?
At the back of his book is a discussion guide. The second question from the Introduction really has me stumped. “What about the divisions between American Christians?” Well, if it is divisive, it is from the enemy. That’s what I was taught in my Spiritual Gifts ministry class. So, this question makes me really unpack some ideas. It is not different theology or hermeneutics that has divided us Christians. It seems to be power, greed, and heresy. How do we
“non-evangelical” “ progressive” Christians keep communion with those in power while still protecting the necks that they have their boots on? What does grace look like in this situation? Their platform is so large right now. They even have the younger preachers selling out mega church seats for pharisaical training. What does grace look like there? What do you say to people who think Matthew 25 is just an after thought? What does grace look like there? ( I can tell you from experience, it doesn’t look like a rant from a crazy person. My bad.)
Maybe they need “won over to Christ”. Maybe they need to “get saved”. Maybe. But either way, we should be looking into what grace would look like to keep unifying the Body of Christ.
I have provided a link below for the book I mentioned. ( not being paid to promote his book, I just really love it)