Stop Using Jesus

Dear Christian Brothers and Sisters,

We need to talk. I need to share my concerns over the current state of Christianity in America. This talk is not meant to attack the Church or my fellow believers in Jesus Christ. But I feel, I need to share my concerns. Did you catch that? My concerns. My opinions. My thoughts.

When I study scripture, I see a God who is loving, forgiving and stern when the situation calls for it. I see a God who is full of grace and mercy. I think we could all use a little grace and mercy. As I study scripture, I see a lot of Love. There is even a chapter in the Bible called the Love Chapter (Check out 1 Corinthians Chapter 13). Jesus commands us to love. To keep no record of wrongs. To be patient. To not boast. To not be rude. If you check out the books of Matthew and Mark, they talk about not judging others. As I have studied the scriptures, I still have not found a section where it says we should be judging or hating others.

In some circles, Christianity as become more about what we hate and less about what we love. That breaks my heart. More importantly, it breaks Jesus heart. When did Jesus give us permission to start categorizing the levels of sin? Or to hate someone based on their brand of sin? Once again, I looked through scripture and did not find any giving us that permission. Sin is sin. Jesus  is not up in heaven categorizing sin. I do believe Jesus is shedding some tears because we judge people more harshly based on their brand of sin. I totally get why some people want nothing to do with this brand of Christianity and why so many people walk away from Jesus. Have you turned on the tv, scrolled through social media or walked  into some churches lately? Some people have turned Christianity into a bad Jerry Springer Show. I know the Church is full of broken people, but we must do better. We share we love Jesus and his teachings, but our actions and words show a completely different story. We cannot only talk the talk of faith, we must live it out. The Church and it’s people need to be a safe place for other broken people to come. In Mark 2:17, Jesus shares “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Did you catch that? 

I truly love the Church and it’s people. I have spent over half of my life in the church. I have spent over half of my life reading and studying scripture. That is why it grieves me, that so many professed Christians spend more time judging others than they do loving them. Jesus did not come down from heaven, die on the cross and rise three days later so we could judge others. No, Jesus came down from heaven, died on the cross and rose three days later to teach us the true meaning of love. So dear Christian brothers and sisters, lets stop using Jesus to judge and spread hate. Instead let us be a people of love, forgiveness and grace. ~OC

 

 

Why We Need To Talk About Racism

I can hear it now. OC is talking about racism again. Can I be honest with you? I really do not like talking about racism. I know that is hard for some of you to believe, based on all my post about racism. But truly, I wish I never had to talk about racism again. Really, I do. So OC, why do you keep talking and writing about racism? Good question. I am glad you asked.

As a white man in America, I have a lot of privileges. I did not asked for these privileges. I did nothing to earn these privileges. I just happened to be born white in America. But as a white man in America, I have been bestowed these privileges for simply being born white. Here are some examples of my white privilege in America.

*I can walk down the street and no one is going to clutch their bag a little tighter. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can hail a cab with no problems. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can walk through any store and not be followed by security. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can drive in any neighborhood and not fear being pulled over by the police for simply driving. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

I wonder how many people stopped reading when I mentioned white privilege.? I hope you stayed with me and take some time to really think about the examples above. Those are not made up examples. Those things plus a lot more happen everyday in America. That is why I will continue to talk and write about racism in America. I believe with everything going on in our nation, we can no longer make excuses for not talking about racism. Only by discussing the issue of racism, can we hope to end one of the original sins of America. ~OC

Criticizing America is Not a Sin

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of debate about criticizing America. Some people believe if you criticize America and it’s leaders you should pack up and leave the country. Others, like myself believe it is healthy to discuss the warts of America. That does not mean we do not love America. Actually, it shows that we really love this nation.

America was built on people having the right to share their concerns about this beautiful country. These debates have shaped this nation. Let’s take a look at some of those debates.

Women’s Suffrage. In 2020, we will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This gave women the right to vote. Did you catch that date? Women have only had the right to vote for 99 years. The brave women of the Suffrage Movement were criticized for criticizing the way things were being done in America. Can you imagine the Sunday dinner conversations? But those brave souls did not pack up and leave America. No, they pushed forward until the 19th Amendment was ratified and signed on August 18, 1920.

End of Slavery. Who can forget we actually fought a war against each other over this terrible part of American history. Imagine if some very brave people would have stayed silent and not criticized America about the sin of slavery. We would never have seen the passage of the 13th Amendment which was ratified and signed on December 18, 1865.

Civil Rights Act. For some this seems so long ago, but this landmark act was signed on July 2, 1964. That was only 55 years ago. Some people reading this were alive during this turbulent time in America’s history. Some were on the right side of history, while others fought to hold on to the terrible past of America. The brave souls of the Civil Rights Movement were criticized for wanting to make America a better place for all. Some gave their lives for that freedom. What if they would had stayed silent? Where would we be as a nation?

I could go on and on with examples of how America was changed for the better by people who criticized her. Think about all those people involved in the examples above. Today, we celebrate them. But during those struggles, those same people were being beaten and killed for speaking up. So before you pass judgement on those brave enough to criticize America, remember America was built on people criticizing her. Oh, by the way, criticizing America is not a sin. It is a right that many have died for. A right we should continue to fight for. ~OC

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