Saturday, November 19, 2011

P4E.220 An Open Letter to the Church at Large - Part 4

From previous parts:
"First of all, I am nobody. I have no credentials. I have no theology degree. I don't claim to be a prophet of God. I do not claim this to be a "prophetic utterance." I don't claim that God "told me" to say these things. I'm just a guy who is (hopefully humbly) pursuing Christ in his own way. I do recognize that people distinguish between the "church" and the "Church," but for my purposes, they are one and the same and what I have to say goes for both. This is certainly meant to be more than a friendly nudge, more than a good natured poke. It's meant to be a hard jab in the ribs or a kick in head of the Church. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore. Church, I know that I am you and you are me. Any accusations I have against you, are against me as well. I don't separate myself from you. Your faults are my faults."

Dear Church,

The criticisms I am making of you are meant to be an encouragement to be better, and in that sense constructive. Don't get all offended.

Let's return to the Occupy Movement for a moment. You need to get out of the material mindset and into a spiritual one. Sure, seen in one light, the Occupiers have their faults. But, there is a reason why their protest resonates with so many people. There's a spiritual connection that many have with them. There's feelings that they represent that you and I should be sensitive to and responsive to. Feelings like frustration, abandonment, exclusion, powerlessness, of being treated unfairly. Feelings of being overlooked, of aloneness, of fed-upness, of anger and resentment and envy. I think people who are experiencing these feelings could rightly be described as "poor in spirit," and you know what Jesus said about them...

Let's paint a scenario together. What if...What if Bill Gates was your good and true friend? What if one of the wealthiest (and therefore most powerful) men in the world had your back? What if he daily communicated with you and lifted your spirits by telling you how important you are to him and that he would take care of you no matter what? What if he backed up that promise on a regular basis? Yes, I mean with money, but also with encouragement and communication and support. What if Bill Gates had people who defended you against wrong and lifted your spirits and asked about your needs and took care of them? Now, let me pose a question. Would you care if others were prospering? Would you care how other, lesser people, corporations, governments treated you?  I dare say you would not. I believe that having the wealthiest and most powerful of men on your side would make you feel confident, cared for, included, grateful for what you have. You might feel empowered and you might feel like sharing your good fortune, because any friend of yours would be a friend of Bill's.

So, let's make the leap, Church. If, in our little scenario, you played the part of Jesus' people and the Occupiers were the rest of the world? Do you think that if you represented Christ well by caring heartily for those who feel disenfranchised and un-loved that the world would care how they were treated by others? If you had their back, if you had them covered, if you cared for them in their time of need, would they be likely to feel un-cared for and resentful? And even if they did, would it be a reason to stop?

See Part 5 for a BIG idea...

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