The culture wars heat up: Christians vs. atheists, gays vs. straight, conservatives vs. liberals, intellectuals vs. "reality" stars.
It's war like we've never seen it.
My heart breaks.
Years ago, in a rock bottom chapter of my life, I stumbled onto a hidden truth: God loves people. Real, honest-to-goodness affection and delight. I can count on it. Live in it. This love is the most vital force in me becoming who I really am.
That's my problem with the wars--where's the love? Christians says they love Jesus and people but I don't see it. Instead, I see defensiveness and condescension. Acting "better than." It feels like we are afraid of losing something.
What? What can we lose that really matters?
God, how could you? How could you let Jesus be so obscured in what's being communicated by Christians? Aren't you allowing the gospel to be misrepresented? Your love hidden?
Aren't you letting us "kill" Jesus once again?
What's going to happen--to people? Churches? Our nation?
God, don't just stand there--DO something--quick! I rant.
When I quiet myself and listen, God answers.
I recall what Anne Ortlund, a Christian author and mentor said: "Jesus got underneath people in order to lift them up." It's counter-intuitive. God coming to earth as a man. Jesus giving up everything in order to give us our lives.
Then, God shows me where He's working.
In scrappy churches like Scum of the Earth in Denver and Seattle. Renovatus in North Carolina. Hospitals for the hurting, they wouldn't dream of pushing a pet theology as some kind of answer. The leaders see themselves as bottom-feeders. Loved of God. They stand, sit and weep with the broken.
The retired school teacher who brings her beat-up truck to my church parking lot every Sunday. She lets down the back and props up her sign: "Food Bank Donations." God loves.
Saeed Abedini. His second Christmas in a dark and dangerous prison in Iran. Counter-intuitive God loving Muslims...Christians...people. You'll see, God whispers.
I remember: God came to earth as a baby in a smelly barn. Cattle. Sheep. Dung. Small town. Outside the mainstream.
Unnoticed by the religious and political elite.
Don't be afraid, Gloria, God reassures. Peace on earth, good will to all men and women everywhere.