I had planned to walk into the Old City tonight, see the pilgrims coming to the Western Wall and stop and a store in the Jewish quarter to see if they had something Kathy had tried to get when the group from Ridge was here last November. But I didn’t make it. Instead I decided (or maybe I should say: God told me), that I needed to write. For two nights in a row, as I have sat down for dinner I have been embarrassed by Christians.
I have come to the conclusion that either God is an a**hole or many of us who claim to be Christians are. Why do I say that: the theme both nights was very much the same — If you are a Christian — you will be blessed by God, and if you don’t have things, then you are not doing what God wants you to do. And then how we need to save the Jews and Muslims.
Why are we Christians? Why are you? To get to heaven? To be blessed? Seriously, why? What motivates you? I don’t think we have a clue about the afterlife — how can we? Jesus almost never talks about an afterlife, instead he talks about a here life — the kingdom of God that should be growing inside us. And what does that kingdom look like? Well, listening to the table next to me tonight, or the gentleman who ate with me last night, it looks like a place paved with gold — just like the old hymns. Because God wants us to be children of the king and as the kings children do not live in poverty. What happened to "sell everything you own and follow me?" "Or clothe the naked, feed the hungry?"
Then of course they both launched into how the Muslims and Jews are all heathens (although the woman tonight kept saying how God would never break his covenant — I guess she meant with her, not with the Jews), and needed to be saved. Saved from what? Saved to what? America is one of the most violent nations in the world, with a higher level of social problems than almost anywhere else in the world — are we the model of what they should become? It made me sick, that we as Christians are so judgmental of everyone else in the world — that we believe everyone needs to become like us — or they will go to hell.
Here we are, in the land of the prince of peace, the one who came to bring hope and love to the least and the lost, the one who never judged – only loved, and yet I am filled with the voices of self-righteous angry people. I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I believe in a God who is bigger than my little mind, a God who loves not just me, but the Jews and the Muslims and the Hindus and yes, even the non-believers. Because God is not an a**hole. God doesn’t play favors, God invites us all to come and know that love.
Maybe that is why I am here. To really see a God who cares. To see a God who reaches out and weeps that we are filled with bitterness, racism, greed and claim those things in God’s very name.
Thank you — for reminding me who you are — and who I am not!