Monday, November 04, 2013

Back to Basics 2 (Favoritism)

I mentioned Philippians 2 as a basic--Christians are servants of others, not just in the church but to those outside the church as well. Christians empty themselves of their status and think of others first.

Here's another basic from James 2:1--"Believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ must not show favoritism."  I'm deeply troubled that someone would push back and say, "This is only within the church." Jesus' message to love our enemies extends all such values beyond the church to everyone else.

In fact, the example James gives points to individuals who are in your midst but do not really belong there (not to mention that the word James uses is actually synagogue rather than church): "Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court? Are they not the ones who are blaspheming the noble name of him to whom you belong?" (2:6-7). James uses the example of a wealthy patron who expects the best seat in the gathering.

Christians treat everyone fairly. Christians don't play favorites on the basis of status or wealth. Christians don't discriminate on the basis of gender or race. These are fundamental Christian values.

This speaks to prejudice. Regardless of what we might think the tendencies are of a certain group, we must let all individual persons show us by their words and actions what they really are. We must act the same toward a person in any group. We must welcome into our churches people of any group and be excited that they have come.

Here's a strong word. We must not be unnecessarily offensive to people from other groups. A lot of Christians scoff at political correctness and always point to excesses. But the basic value of political correctness is Christian 101--don't say or do things to others that are hurtful or hateful. It would be more Christian to err on the side of the oversensitive than to err on the side of causing offense. There's no debate to be had here. This is basic Christian common sense.

So people somehow turn inclusive language into something of the Devil. Really? Speaking in a way that takes seriously the fact that the women in the room are just as present as the men? That's not showing favoritism. That's being Christian. What Christian motive would say, "I'm going to show those pansy liberals and intentionally only use masculine imagery"?

How is it that Satan somehow gets Christians completely turned around to where they actually feel they are standing up for God when in fact they are acting out worldly values? Our language and our actions should be loving toward everyone in the room. Anything else is of the Devil.

Christian ABCs...


Susan Moore said...

Yea, that's it!!! AMEN AMEN AMEN!! I couldn't have said it better myself!

Susan Moore said...

Dr. Schenck,
Here’s one, let’s try this:
For the RC church the world is a grid divided into parishes. Each parish has its own church, or desires to have a church there. Each church is made up of at least a priest. Each church believes itself to be accountable to God for the people in its appointed parish.
I do not mean all the catholic people, nor do I mean all of the Christian people. I mean all of the human people. Attempts are made for all the human people to know that that is their church, and they are welcomed there. All people who do not come to the church are prayed for, seeking the Spirit’s guidance in helping the person find Him, and in keeping the person protected until they are led to the church and cared for by the family they never knew they had. And then hopefully, over time, the person will desire to and become a family member, too, and celebrate the risen King with us.
My work with the estranged church would be easier if the protestant churches would divide themselves into Parishes. Does the Wesleyan church do that already? If not, then allow me to suggest an experiment. Let’s do that in Marion. All the Wesleyan churches agree to this and map out some physical boundaries in which each church will be accountable to God for the people in it. It may be helpful to look at the city’s data on the number of people in each area and try to divide it up so that each parish is accountable for roughly the same number of humans. The number of pastors and professional care-givers can also be taken into account to help determine parish boundaries.
Now, the people within the boundaries are free to go to any church they choose, but never the less, those people are prayed for and offered care from ‘their’ appointed church. After all, we are all one family, so if someone wants to go to Aunt Lucy’s for dinner and to play with their kin there, instead of Uncle Joe’s, that’s ok. And opened arms are also equally extended to all the other people who don’t go to a Wesleyan church, or don’t go to any church at all. The intention is not to get the people to DO, the intention is for us to LOVE.
Once the boundaries are marked out, let’s do a one year trial. I’m volunteering to formally be on CWC’s prayer team.

Susan Moore said...

"Professional care-givers" is referring to people who are employed by the church, or otherwise perform their work through the church as representatives of the church.
"Accountable to God" refers to the desire to have no one unaccounted for in God's sight. That is to say if God should look at Marion, He should find every person being prayed for by someone. No one is left out. If I got a call from someone in Marion, I should be able to look up that person's address and say, "Go to this specific church. They are waiting for you, and will love you."