Sunday, Nancy and I attended the Dyer United Methodist Church. Pastor Jim Clark had a wonderful message as Dyer UMC kicked off their 4th Annual Labor of Love. The message focused on what makes us a follower of Jesus. It isn’t a title, or a tattoo, or the cross around your neck --- what makes one a follower of Jesus is the willingness to love unconditionally.
That has been my message for years --- Jesus calls us to love ALL unconditionally. The one place I would disagree with Pastor Jim was when he said that Christian love does not have a social agenda. Of course it does. The agenda of Jesus was to teach us how to love unconditionally and he wanted us to break down the barriers that keep that from happening.
What Pastor Jim encouraged everybody to do was stop talking about loving and DO some loving. His passion kicked me in the rear and has encouraged me to write these words.
A group of concerned citizens began reaching out to the Town Council of Munster, Indiana asking them to adopt a human rights ordinance. The ordinance would be one that is modeled on a number of other ordinances that have been adopted in Indiana since the adoption of RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act). A bill that seems to have basically one purpose --- to allow individuals the freedom to discriminate based on “religious,” particularly Christian, convictions. The one problem with this wildly radical legislation is it is not based on anything related to Jesus --- the “church” maybe, but not Jesus. Jesus never encouraged discrimination. And that message was re-affirmed by Paul when he reminds us that all are one in Christ.
When I hear that a Town Council member in Munster (yes, they are all white males) say that he takes “a conservative approach to most new requests. This one should be passed on the National Level.” I am saddened. The conservative approach should be to not discriminate and to not allow it to happen to anyone.
I am saddened and disheartened that our elected officials are too afraid to say NO to the bigots and racists of our day. That they turn issues into political footballs and fail to do the right thing.
Munster bills itself as the town of integrity. It is time for it to start to live up to its motto!
To all of my Christian friends, it is time we stop condemning people we disagree with, it is time to stop pointing fingers and wagging our tongues. It is time we start doing what Jesus called us to do: Love one another.