I am rarely on Facebook. I have apps that let me post to different social media accounts without actually going to any of them. Every now and then things are brought to my attention that I will go and look at. Today, I wanted to share one of these with you. I was made aware of a blog written by John Pavlovitz and posted through the Huffington Post. I will leave you a link to go and read the article so that you may fully understand my response. I did respond on facebook, but I thought it would be good to post on my blog as well. My concern is how political issues within Christianity are causing us to turn on one another. I have a good friend, a Christian, but who is also what I would call liberal. He probably considers himself a moderate though. But we are friends. We talk politics. We did just yesterday. And we are able to have civil discussions with one another and remain good friends. The key to this though is that neither of us assume that our disagreements in politics indicate evil intent of the other. Trusting one another’s faith allows us to disagree and remain friends.
The post by John Pavlovitz, who is a pastor according to his About page on his blog, wrote a blog entitled: “White, Conservative, Christian Friends –I Wish You Really Were Pro-Life” You can read his post, but to give you a taste of what prompted me to respond, here are a couple of quotes:
From where I’m standing it seems as though ‘Life,’ for you, comprises a very narrow demographic — one that bears a striking resemblance to you.
I wish that once diverse babies are thrust out into a violent, difficult, painful world you actually gave more of a damn about them.
With that in mind, here is my facebook response:
I am pro-life to the end, but if a person is not pro-life, does this mean they are pro-death? Of course not. I have a friend who is a Christian and extremely liberal. I do not believe that his support for the Democratic party signifies that he is ok with abortion. On the contrary, I think he despises abortion, but he sees it as a Women’s Health issue, not necessarily a life and death issue. I vehemently disagree with him, but I would never call him a lover of death because he doesn’t vote against abortion through his choices of candidates. He disagrees with me completely but he would never consider me to be someone who hates women because I do vote against abortion through my choice of candidates. We choose not to judge one another as hateful or without compassion because we are both able to trust that the other has a good heart, seeking Christ. To me, and this is just my opinion, the writer of this article has judged the heart of those who may disagree with the methodology in addressing issues as people who don’t give a damn (his words). I don’t know the writer. I know he is a pastor on staff at a church and writes a blog.. But he also doesn’t know me or the millions of people he judged as haters of people of color, haters of the poor, haters of women, haters of the LGBTQ community. He judged me and so many others assuming what is in our hearts. Please understand that I don’t doubt there are some white conservative ‘Christians’ who may feel exactly as he said, but the writer does not qualify this. He writes as if he is speaking to a few personal acquaintances but at the same time paints all who fit these three descriptive words (white, conservative, and Christian) with the same judgment. I will only speak for myself but I am quite sure I am not alone. I do not celebrate the expulsion of Muslims and I don’t think most Christians do either, even white conservative Christians. I do think that it is wise to identify evil as evil. Jesus did this. He clearly identified those people who were engaging in evil conduct. He called some Pharisees white-washed tombs, a brood of vipers. John Pavlovvitz, if he used the same theory from his article would have to say that Jesus hated all Pharisees, but this was not the case. He accepted many Pharisees as having a good heart with bad theology. They became His followers. Nicodemus was one and the Lord Himself called Saul, a Pharisee murdering Christians, to be His chosen instrument to the Gentiles. It seems that if Jesus can love a group of people while still identifying evil behavior within that group, we would be wise to follow His example. Would John Pavlovitz judge Christ as someone who did not give a damn for all Pharisees just because He called some of them out for their behavior? As I said, I do not know Mr. Pavlovitz, but I don’t think he would apply the same theory to Christ as he has to me in this article. But this proves his theory of all white, conservative, Christians to be built on the sand. To address a few other things in the article, I do want a good education for everyone, but if I believe this would be better accomplished through school choice than our current public school system, does that mean I don’t give a damn about them? According to Pavlovitz, that is exactly what it means. If I don’t believe more gun laws is the solution to gun violence, does that mean I don’t give a damn about victims of gun violence? According to this writer and his supporters, that is exactly what is being insinuated. This is being insinuated though we could look at Chicago and see that places with more gun laws may still be susceptible to greater gun violence. I will not go through every point he tries to make. John Pavlovitz says that his faith calls him to be a person of life. At the same time, he does not write words of love, but judgement. He does not call out the evil within white conservative christianity, but instead judges us all the same. He does not use his words to build others up according to Ephesians 4:29, but uses his words to judge the hearts of people based on their race, their religion, and their worldview. He is actively engaging in the behavior he claims to despise in others. This seems to be hypocritical to me. I would choose to trust Mr. Pavlovitz’ testimony as a Christian, but I would encourage him to see that Jesus did not always heal the same way. Sometimes he healed with a word. Sometimes, he healed with a touch. Once he healed with spit. My point is that God is not limited to one way of solving a problem. For example, perhaps education could be improved through taxation or perhaps it could be improved through school choice. Perhaps, poverty could be improved through taxation, or perhaps it could be improved through changes in tax law to encourage generosity to private charities working hard against poverty. Many cities around the world have seen drastic improvements in these areas through spiritual revivals. Cali, Colombia is a great example of this. All I am saying is that there is more than one way. And just because you don’t agree with me on how it should be done, that doesn’t mean that I am a hater and neither does it mean that you are a hater. We can have different ideas on how something should be addressed and still be kind and loving to one another, giving one another the benefit of the doubt rather than labeling them as someone who just doesn’t give a damn.