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Humbly Learning How to Respond to Pat Roberts

January 19, 2010

I have a lot of thoughts about the image above.

At first glance I immediately assume this is making some kind of mockery of Jesus. Which I have serious issue with, but that is a different blog and post all together. But this one caught my eye and I couldn’t help but take a closer look.

I stumbled across this via a Facebook group entitled “Pat Robertson STFU” (clever, wrong, irreverent, ungracious, perhaps warranted group title). He recently made a public claim that the earthquake in Haiti was a response from God for the pact the Haitian government made with “the devil” years ago. Watching the clip of Pat Robertson, and then Jerry Falwell claiming that 9/11 was God’s punishment to NOLA because of their hedonistic lifestyles – it’s difficult not to bury your face in your hands and stop watching.  It doesn’t take much to wonder why people want nothing to do with these guys, nor the religion they represent (and why people want them to STFU). This image in the context of a very public Christian making these kind of ridiculous  assumptions/connections gives deeper meaning for me.

Conversations about the Church and Christianity between Danny and I often veer towards this subject. Danny very well could be the man in that dapper suit talking to the Messiah. We often wish Christians could be seen as separate from Christ; Christians are unfortunately more often not an example of Christ, which not only makes for bad PR but it’s got some really serious consequences.  “Christian” in some circles is referred to as a pejorative term. Is this because of Jesus Christ?  No.  It is because of Glen Beck, and Pat Robertson, and me.  And maybe even you.  When it comes down to it we all do a pathetic job of representing the Savior we espouse to emulate.  The bumper sticker “Christians aren’t perfect, they’re FORGIVEN” comes to mind.  Although there’s nothing more true, this comes across as a lame excuse to act like we do.  And what may be more troubling is that many Christians forget that they are not perfect, AND forget that they are forgiven from a host of sins they’d probably rather not make public.

So what we have is a group of very imperfect humans who represent a perfect God/radical Savior/powerful Spirit.  The response some of us are guilty of is similar to this man, “Please Jesus, protect me from your followers“.  Protect me from the fundamentalists, the judgementalists, the extremists, the idiots (there, I said it), the radical left and right, the backwards, the blinded, the bigoted, the dogmatic.  Protect me and separate me and don’t let anyone think that I have anything to do with them.  And most of all separate me. 

I can really relate to this response, and at times I am guilty of this.  But I’m learning that this approach isn’t fostering a manifestation of the Body of Christ any more than Mr. Robertson is speaking any kind of sense.  I am learning that distancing myself from this/them/those isn’t being the revolutionary Christ was.  And I’m not talking about “Jesus eating with the prostitutes and the tax collectors and the heathens” (I’m admittedly getting tired of hearing that from people who gasp at foul language).  I think there’s a decent group out there who would rather eat lunch with a your local prostitute junkie than with Sarah Palin.  I’m talking about engaging with Pat Robertson rather than telling him to STFU.  And being comfortable with wearing Christianity so that the Body becomes more diverse to others.  I’m talking about accepting that Jesus is Christianity, not Christians, and having a dialog with others who are responding to the parts of the Body we’d rather not admit to.

This is what I’m humbly learning.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Danny Finer permalink
    January 21, 2010 2:22 am

    (That’s a very handsome man in the picture; thanks for the compliment.)

    Wonderfully written blogpost sweetie. I have one remark: While I agree that separating to the point of denying the very category “Christian” is wrong, I think it’s extremely important that Christians draw a firm line against the Pat Robertsons and Jerry Falwells and Glenn Becks of the world. This doesn’t mean we can’t have a dialogue with them and engage them, but it does mean we openly and vehemently denounce them.

    Just like Christ did with the Pharisees.

  2. millison permalink
    January 21, 2010 2:51 am

    Great commentary, Shannon. You remain a bright, deep thinking intellectual. Thankyou for sharing this with us.

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