Hearty Heresy

Suddenly, I’m Very Offended…
April 24, 2007, 6:40 pm
Filed under: Christianity, Heresy, Jesus, Religion, Theology

Here’s a chain of thought that suddenly and surprisingly left me very offended by the language Brand Xians use. The precipitating event was reading through the “Go for the Guys Sunday” handbook from ChurchForMen.com (a group founded by David Murrow, author of Why Men Hate Going to Church) and stumbling on this piece of advice under the heading “A few things to avoid”: “Use ‘churchy’ language, such as: Let’s just praise the holy name of Jesus, amen? Hallelujah, isn’t this a special day to be in the presence of the Lord? Talk like regular a man, and regular men will respond.” That got me thinking of the kind of language used by church-planting pastors who blog about what’s happening in their congregations, stuff like, “The Lord is doing wonderful things for God’s people here at the Fumblebuck County Community Church,” and so forth. And that got me thinking of what a Lutheran pastor friend of mine says before she offers communion: “The gifts of God for the people of God!”

And that’s when I suddenly got very offended. I got offended because even the most inclusive sounding words for Brand Xians (“we’re all God’s people”) are extremely exclusive sounding for the rest of us. I mean, I’m sure the Lutherans know that they’re not the only “people of God,” but you can be sure they draw a line somewhere, most likely between those they consider orthodox and those who aren’t. And that implies that only the orthodox are God’s people. I can’t even begin to tell you how disgusted that makes me feel–although I think “icky” may be the right word. Now I have to say I love my Lutheran pastor friend and I know for a fact she is extremely inclusive in her vision of who is part of God’s creation. But labeling some people as God’s people implies that others aren’t. And that, I believe, is antithetical to the message of Jesus.

So how’s this: we’re all God’s people, everyone of us. And we’re always in the presence of the Lord, every single moment of every single day of our lives. As the poet Rumi put it, “Lo, I am with you always, means when you look for God, God is in the look of your eyes.” Stephen Mitchell says the same thing when he sums up The Gospel According to Jesus as “Simply this: that the love we all long for in our innermost heart is already present, beyond longing.”


3 Comments so far
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When we enounter God she is usually not be anything like we think he should be.

Comment by pastorofdisaster

Words of wisdom, P.O.D., words of wisdom.

Comment by heartyheretic

[…] Cosmic Christ has been a real blessing because Fox helped to clarify something that’s been bugging me: the use of the phrase “the people of God.” Here’s what he has to say: When we […]

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