I saw a bit this morning on a pastor who dressed as a homeless man to attend the church where he was about to be introduced as the new pastor. The attendees of the church mistreated him and he used it as an opportunity to make a point about being good Christians.
Upon being revealed as the pastor he took the mic and said:
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
All good ideas. All don't require Christianity. Indeed, his church was filled with top tier believers. Most religious people can't even be bothered to attend church on Sunday – these are the ones who really believe, and they were uncaring. Perhaps this will change some of them, but it's only because the congregants will be reminded that human beings, with whom they must interact, are watching. They already believed that Jesus was always watching, but they already knew he'd forgive them. But when people judge you, when forgiveness must be earned, that's when things change.
So kudos to you, pastor. Your opinion matters more than Jesus'.
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame.
He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”
Oh horseshit. Compassion isn't the exclusive property of "disciples" of your religion. Plenty of atheists would've treated the homeless man well. Like I said, these people are the top of the list in terms of strength of faith, and they showed less empathy than a lot of people who stayed home that day.
Compassion is what's important, not faith – and faith is a great way to feel like atonement is free, not earned. In this sense faith is by no means a cultivator of kindness, and far less so that what regular ol' humans can achieve in our fellow humans. That should've been the lesson that the pastor learned. The people in his pews were not lacking in faith, they were lacking in kindness.
A bunch of true, true believers were much like Abraham: they failed to have enough empathy. Afterward a pastor conflated Christianity with kindness, even in the face of that failure. I don't see how this piece, which was written to boost the image of Christianity, does anything but achieve the opposite effect.
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Written By: JT Eberhardcontinue to source article at patheos.com