A face book friend posted Steven Colbert’s response to the horrific massacre of 49 people in Orlando. Because of this awful massacre and the current state of our world, I have found myself in a place of despair and that is why Colbert’s words stood out for me. Colbert said, “Despair is a victory for hate.” Those words reverberated within me today.
I guess I had been feeling a sense of despair for some time and the horrific killings in Orlando brought up more than I realized. I have been grieving and am currently “stuck” in the anger phase of the grief process. What brought my despair to the surface however, were the words of an irresponsible church leader who “claimed” to speak for Christians. He spoke in his church in Sacramento on Sunday morning only hours after the massacre and spewed words filled with hate, evil and lies. He suggested more people like this (Gays etc.) should be killed!
Oh, he tried to back paddle (much like Donald Trump) when he was caught on video spewing his evil venom. He tried to excuse his behavior and beliefs and blame someone else for twisting his words (the media) but it is all recorded on video. There is no clearer evidence of his twisted agenda than his own words laid bare. Of course he uses bits and pieces of scripture to justify his cause, without even considering how his message of hate would be received by a hurting community. Let me be clear…this man does not offer a message of God’s love and healing, but rather…a perverted message of hate and violence. And he certainly doesn’t speak for most of the Christians I know! The media didn’t help my state of despair when they titled the story of this venomous man with “The Christian response to the massacre in Orlando.” And THAT is when my own despair screamed out, “No! It is not the Christian response!”
I admit the energy behind my despair carries a bit of baggage. I recently shared with another friend, that my reaction on this topic is a bit loaded given my own treatment in recent years by church leaders. Suffice it to say, I’ve been lied to and thrown under a bus by more than one pastor or “Christian leader,” so you will have to excuse my gut reaction in some of what I share on this topic. But there is a bottom line. And that line is: Do not assume to speak for me or represent me in leadership if you “claim” to be a Christian and your actions say otherwise!
I’m not perfect, far from it in fact! I know however, when someone is not telling the truth or hiding behind excuses or misusing scripture for their own personal agenda. This same pastor who spewed venom and encouraged more death and destruction had the audacity to say, “I’m sure some people will be upset by my words and will leave…but I will have some who will want to follow me.” Do you see it? “Follow ME!” He has an agenda and that is to have a following for HIMSELF. Ego of any church leader, is nothing more than an acronym for
Edging God Out!
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the church is made up of broken, wounded people. But when such people are led by one person with a twisted theology or way of being…then we are in the danger zone folks! The broken and wounded don’t know any other way to believe than what they are told. They are easily swayed by hateful propaganda. We see evidence of this every day during this current political campaign! It is when a “leader” (church or otherwise) insights hate and hateful response from the people, that we are no longer in the danger zone…we are beyond it! Suddenly, we are in the midst of destruction without even realizing how quickly we got there!
So, once again I find myself on my soap box on the topic of how the church does damage in today’s world often times, because of misguided leaders who follow their ego and seek self-preservation above all else. Oh what a different world we would live in if such leaders led from the heart of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ…who is Love.
So, I will hold on by the tips of my fingernails to God and the Good News. I won’t despair. I will keep on keeping on. I will be sure to let that pastor know that he does NOT speak for true Christians. If I were able to join the protest of his church this next Sunday, I would. For now, I will express my frustration here in my blog and will add my name to the face book page protesting his church and hateful actions. Even more importantly, I will reach out in love to those who have yet again been emotionally and spiritually wounded by the church because of a foolish leader. What I haven’t done yet, is send this pastor the scriptural reminder from 2 Peter2:1-3. Perhaps I’m headed under another bus. So be it! I am starting to get used to the tire marks by now. 🙂