Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Blight of Christianity

Sometimes Christianity reminds me of my family - there are some white elephants in the room that are never spoken about but everyone knows they are there. It seems that the Phelps family and their church have escaped little mention by the Christian world largely - that is left to the media to comment on. I've seen a few "incidences" involving the Phelps family and their "church" and I can't really keep my silence any longer. I'll start with the most recent and work back and then close with some reflections and questions.

I follow Lady Gaga on Twitter - and make no apology for it. I love her music and find her an inspiring albeit eccentric star. But most of all I love her outspoken honesty. Gaga tweeted last night;

"Tonight love and hate met in St. Louis. And love outnumbered the hate, in poetic thousands. Hate left. But love stayed. + Together, we sang".

I didn't know why she wrote that but somehow guessed that religion was involved. Sure enough I learned tonight that Phelps supporters decided to picket Gaga's concert in St Louis. You can tell that she was upset - because she tweeted quite a few times - and one comment stuck out to me. She tweeted;

"You are more fortunate and blessed than they are, and in your heart just pray for them. Although I respect and do not judge anyone".

Am I the only one finding something a bit "wrong" in that statement? Lady Gaga (who I am guessing isn't a Christian) is urging her fans and followers to realise they are MORE blessed and fortunate than people who would claim to be the most fortunate and blessed of all - yet are seen by the world as "hate criminals". Gaga describes the Phelps supporters as "violent and dangerous". Something's wrong surely.

Now some Christians (including the Phelps and co) would say that shows their gospel message is touching Gaga and her fans. "Violent and dangerous"? They are being convicted. Well what is the so-called "Gospel message" that the Phelps and their church is spreading? Here's a few of the key messages that I noticed on the pictures of the supporters picketing Gaga's concert in St Louis:

1. "Fags are Beasts - 2 Peter 2:12".

By the way I looked up 2 Peter 2:12 to see why this verse was chosen by the Phelps clan. The context of the passage - Peter speaks of the corrupt desire of the sinful nature and despise authority (v10). The result? These men are "not afraid to slander celestial beings". We cannot assume he means angels because in (v11) Peter makes the statement that "even angels" do not slander these people "in the presence of the Lord". Christians who have died and gone to glory? Opinion differs of course. And then (v12) he goes on to say that "such people" are brutes and will perish. The point - Peter is referring to "ANY" sinful being with corrupt desire and rebellion against authority. He is not singling out homosexuals and most certainly is including heterosexual lust. I trust the Phelps and their church never struggle with lust - because if they do, then by the judgement they dole out - are they so condemned.

2. "God hates Fags".

Well that can be dispensed with very quickly. John 3:16. "For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whoever believes ...". My favourite commentary on the Cross of Christ was by John Hosier. He said;

"Love constrained the Son of God to go to Calvary".

3. "God is your enemy".

I mean ... WHAT?! I love reading the Gospels to see how Jesus Christ walked the earth. The only time that I keep seeing Him angry and vengeful was against the religious Pharisees that walked in Jerusalem. Did He make whips and drive out the prostitutes? Or the tax collectors? No.

The other Phelps "item" that I saw was a You-Tube video - it wasn't Fred himself but his wife and granddaughters who appeared on the chat show of famous model and TV star Tyra Banks. The three women were obnoxious in the extreme - this is obviously what Banks wanted as it makes good TV. But to be honest she didn't have to work very hard to get the desired controversial results. The Phelps women called Tyra Banks a;

"Fab-enabler".

Essentially that term means that Tyra makes friends with "fags" and gives them jobs, encouragement and essentially "enables" their lifestyle. Here's the video;


Here's my questions and thoughts;

1. What does the "message of hate" that the Phelps and their church bring do to "attract" the lost to become interested in the Gospel?

2. Is hatred and derision of these Baptist "Christians" better than apathy?

3. The hatred of God - is it a biblically true concept in the New Covenant era - "the day of favour"?

4. The singling out of homosexuality - necessary? Appropriate? Helpful?

5. Is there a better way? I know there is - preach the gospel of grace in it's wonderful truth.

Thoughts?

3 comments:

Joey Phillips said...

Very sad. The singling out of homosexuality is in this case seems to be simply to draw attention...like a lot of what they do. Not that her affinity for being as sexually controversial as possible isn't worthy of critique, mind you.

But I wonder which comes first; the warped theology leading to abrasive tactics...or a love for controversy that they find a theology to defend.

Dan Bowen said...

Joey,

Spot on I think - I suspect her interest in TV ratings came before her defence of causes she believes in!

Interesting you mention their theology, l'm emailing a former member who has some v interesting insights into where they started from - similar in places to our own experiences in SGM or Newfrontiers. What I can't place yet is how they made the transition from there to here.

Thanks for the comment!

jul said...

you already know what I think! God is love.