We don’t know our neighbors. They live too far away. Too far for us to be kind. Too far for us to really get a sense of who they are. All we notice is when they don’t mow their lawns. We notice when they have a party that doesn’t end before eleven. Rumors fly, but we don’t know the truth because we never really listen. We wave and smile, but hope they answer “how are you doing?” with only one word. We know of, but don’t know.
The American church is in spiritual suburbia. We’ve all got the opinions and the gossip and we can talk about everything that everyone else is doing wrong. We rail against but don’t stand up for. We are the Franken-Jesus that is mentioned by Rick Warren. We’ve amputated our hands and feet and every other part until all we’re left with is one big fat mouth. We don’t need to know any gay Christians to condemn them from afar. We don’t have to know any African Americans to know that we aren’t racist anymore. In fact, we don’t need to have a relationship with anyone anymore as long as they know where we stand on the “important issues.” The biggest lie evidenced by the church today is that relationships are extraneous to Christianity, and knowledge and beliefs are All. That lie turns Jesus inside out and makes Him and His relationships extraneous. And this, the church calls Christ-likeness: that we abandon the pursuit of knowing people, of meeting them where they are, and paste a bumper sticker on their face instead and walk away claiming that now they know. If I could tell the Christian world just one thing, it would this: the first relationship a person has with God is through us, what does that relationship look like to them?
I can’t stand this bullshit that we have to be right, instead of compassionate. I can’t stand this shit that says that homosexuality is the line in the sand that God won’t let us cross, as if it’s a super sin. I can’t stand that people think that the way Christ lived His life means nothing next to the words of His followers. I can’t take this anymore. I’m tired of people doing this in the name of a Man I call friend, one with whom I try to make my relationship precipitate all of my relationships. It makes me wonder if these people know of or know? Whether they hear or listen? Whether the people we claim to speak for or know are even the same?
Is this what we’ve become? An isolated group who refuses to have our views challenged by loving someone? Because that’s what will happen. Should you make that leap and make your Christianity about relationships your views will be challenged by how much you love them. And just as Christ rose up on our behalf to a God who knew of because of His love for people He now knew; you will rise up on behalf of those relationships to beg for those souls as well. If you don’t, if you sit back down and call them out and isolate them or push them away, I have to wonder if you know who I know. Because that’s what it’s about: knowing who I know, not what I know.