An Open Letter to Evangelical Christians: Shut Up
When I was about 9 we moved to a new town in Southern New Mexico. It was miserably hot and we hadn’t found a house yet. My parents, myself, my younger sister and brother were living in a hotel and the air conditioner was unable to keep up with the heat. It was miserable.
In effort to welcome us, my dad’s new boss and wife took us to dinner one night. The conversation turned to the intense heat. I interjected, “yeah! It’s so hot in our hotel room my mom has to put wet washcloths between her legs because her thighs are burning up!”
I have yet to live this down.
I should have shut up. But I didn’t.
Recently, I met a young man who knew of my blog. He was telling me he enjoyed my blog even though it was “Christian,” not to mention targeted toward women. He hates Christians… And Jesus.
His fiancé … Who was his girlfriend/best friend for 7 years before their break up, had left him because, “she got saved.” God told her he was going to hell. He would never receive the truth and God had someone better in mind for her.
And I believe the majority of us believers know this is not who we are. Or who Jesus is.
We too are walking wounded. We are the worst of the worst. Sinners among sinners, preaching to the choir, drowning in the mayhem. We don’t care what’s on our Starbucks cup as long as Pike’s Place is in it. This coffee, it’s how we are certain there is a God. The devil’s goal… To separate us from piping hot, $7 a cup, liquid caffeinated mana from heaven.
So why don’t we shut up?
We were told to make fishers of men. And we are in love with Jesus. He is epic. And if only the liberals would agree with us we could all go to Starbucks and all would be well with the world. Transgender bathrooms and health care reform would not even hit the radar.
In a perfect world – Jesus would be on our Starbucks cups and we wouldn’t have to try and save the world and make fools of ourselves and the God of Isreal by adding all the stuff we know to the conversation.
And the stuff we know? I propose it should be more about the stuff we don’t know. A place of humility and leading by example is in order. And yes, I want to shout “Jesus loves you!” from the rooftops! And “GO AND SIN NO MORE!” From every mountain… Still, I continue to sin.
So it goes, some evangelical congress person gets on television spouting “truth” and that which our nation was built on … And two weeks later he’s caught with an underage cross dressing prostitute named Candyland and every conservative, bible thumping, Jesus loving, evangelical, is frauded.
But we were frauds to begin with.
How do we start over? How do we get a new reputation? How do we undo hurt? How do we erase this thing that has happened to “evangelical” that made it a bad word?
We need to take a page from my mom’s tricks for cooling off. Let’s get some washcloths, and ice down our thighs.
I always go back to the woman at the well. Jesus was totally compassionate. He was not panic stricken, her sin wasn’t the end of the world. He met her, and knew her sin. “Got a bunch of husbands?” And she said, “yes.” And he said,”pick me, you can be free. I have what you’re looking for baby girl. I will fill you up with a living water…”
He fished for men with kindness and compassion. The very essence of Him was intoxicating.
What if, evangelicals were intoxicating? What if people couldn’t wait to hear what it is that fills us up? And that which fills us up is supposed to be a peace that surpasses understanding! So why do we come across as a panic stricken mob of arrogant blow holes “terrified of what will become of our nation!”???
How can we be terrified if we hold the truth of Jesus Christ?
How can we be offended when no offense comes from the Lord?
I regret the story about my mom’s hot thighs.
I regret the times I have sounded like I have all the answers.
I regret, to my very core, that I may have ever lead anyone to despise the message of the Cross.
Perhaps, it’s just election season. Maybe this too shall pass. But, I refuse to be terrified or panicked. I am convicted of this: Jesus must be made known, but He cannot be contained. If we were a nation of evangelicals that exuded peace in believing the truth of the gospel there could be no offense in our words.
There would be those that hated us, but you cannot fight with those who will not argue with you. And you cannot lose an argument steeped in peacable truth. The wrath, the fury, and the panic should be one sided, and not from the evangelical Christian’s side.
As an evangelical Christian this is what I crave: I want to be intoxicating. I want the love of Jesus to seep from my pores, not be negated by wrath. And I can say these things to you because… I know how the story ends.
May your floors be sticky and your calling ordained. Love, Jami
“IF you knew the gift of God…” John 4:10
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