“Can I get you something to drink?”
“Sure, I’ll have something!”
“No problem. What would you like?”
“I’ll have a Pepsi if you have it.”
“You drink that crap?”
“Well, I uh…”
“You uh?! Don’t you know that it’s completely evil!?”
“How ignorant of you! Don’t you know that it’s been linked to cancer later in life? Are you Godless? Are you an atheist or something? Aren’t you aware of the damage that you cause!!! What kind of self serving attitude is it that lets you drink that crap?! How stupid can you possibly be?”
“Hang on… it’s just a bloody Pepsi!”
“JUST A PEPSI!?!?! You ARE stupid aren’t you? I hope you rot in HELL!! No, I don’t have to hope. You’re already on your way buddy. You’re going to hell and there’s nothing you can do about. Get out! Get your Pepsi drinking Godless attitude out of my sight you unhealthy wretch! I’m a CHRISTIAN you bastard; I can’t stand the sight of you!!”
With “FOCA” looming I’ve been seeing more than a few instances of the above conversation and I’m sickened by it. As a Christian I hold other Christians to a standard. The Bible is clearly worded as to how a true Christian should conduct themselves. Jesus set a great example of that conduct and shows us how to apply the concepts in every day life. Christians, or wanna-be Christians are failing in that. As a Christian our role is to be an ambassador for Christ. I don’t believe that one has to be a true “Disciple” of Christ to be a believer. You don’t have to hold conferences and teach at prayer meetings to be a Christian but you do need to display God in your life in word and action. You don’t have to swing Christianity like a club every time someone does something that doesn’t agree with your values. Don’t wear Jesus as armor, don’t wield God as a sword. Act.
Rob and I helped a friend move recently before he became a friend. I didn’t really even know the guy well at the time but that didn’t matter. He mentioned having to move between working hours. He was moving a family of four between two houses using a mini-van as his only transport. He didn’t ask for help, he just needed it. I hooked the trailer to the truck and we went to help. We carried boxes most of one evening but didn’t finish moving his stuff. When we left for the day I left my truck with him for the rest of the week. When he was done I went to pick up the truck and he asked, “Why would you do that? Why come to my aid when I didn’t ask for it. Why offer the use of your truck for a week? Why carry boxes for someone you don’t know.” What a great opportunity that would have been to stand up straight, slap a badge of honor on my chest and proclaim with self-righteous abandon, “because I am a Christian and that’s what my God demands of me!?” Instead I looked away, a little embarrassed, and said, “That’s just what we do.” There was no need to slap him with my Christianity… I was just setting an example by doing the right thing. With time he recognized that I am a Christian and made the connection. At the time I didn’t think, “this is an opportunity to share Christ with someone.” I thought instead, “that person needs help and I can provide it.” It’s the way I raised in the deep south. It’s the way I was raised to glorify God. It’s so ingrained in who I am that I don’t think twice about it or consider it a “Christian act”. It’s just the way it is. Many Christians would hold me at fault for failing to keep God in the forefront of my life and yet… they weren’t there acting in the way that Jesus taught us. They had a ball game or something else deadly important to do at the time.
When I meet people that think that abortion is “ok” in some cases (or in any case). I don’t slap them with God. The same way that I don’t slap them if they claim to be an atheist. I try to help them understand that I believe it is wrong. If they come to respect me for my other opinions and values that will cause them to rethink the position on abortion. I’m clear that I find it a disgrace. I am clear that life begins at conception (note the lack of “I believe here”. I don’t consider it a belief, I consider it a fact). I am clear that I believe it to be murder. As much of a murder as if another person were sitting in the chair beside you. I don’t accuse them of ignorance and cast them out. I don’t call them murderer and show them horrid pictures of partial birth abortions. I just share my opinion and move on. You can’t club an atheist into submission and call them Christian.
The Bible doesn’t SAY that abortion is wrong and any Christian that twists the word of God to make it mean that is telling a lie. He is violating another proscription in that Holy text. The concept didn’t exist.
The Bible does help us define a child and refers to the unborn as “children” in many instances. It does provide proscriptions against harming innocent children and details Gods retribution for those acts. It does not define an instant in time, after conception, that represents a line between a “growth of various cells” and “life”. I take that lack to indicate that the time is inclusive rather than exclusive. If God wanted a line drawn he would have drawn it and I, poor dumb country boy that I am, can’t hope to do a better job of it.
When we lived in Chicago there used to be several “anti-abortion” groups that would set up on the bridges out of the city at rush hours. If you don’t know Chicago there’s no way out of the Downtown where most people work without walking (or driving) over one of the bridges. These demonstrators would hold up signs with horrible pictures of dismembered baby corpses and claim that all abortions looked like this. Many of the signs had “Christian” sayings and condemned people to hell. I was disgusted. If I held weaker beliefs I might have changed my position just to spite them. As it is, I am horrified that they are “on my side”. I want nothing to do with those activist. They damage the cause and use God in a way that creates an adversarial relationship with non-believers. Those people disgust me. They use hate and violence to argue their point and turn as many people away from the proper path as they turn to it. They are wrong.
So there you have it. That’s my opinion… actually, that’s several opinions all wrapped into one. It should also be fair warning that asking for a Pepsi at my house is very much the wrong thing to do.