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A Bible-thumper’s apology

Well, here’s the letter I’ve debated about posting (see yesterday’s post). My rule is, if I’m wondering if I should post something, go ahead and do it. So, here goes. Dear agnostics, gays, and liberals, Where do I begin? If Evangelicals have hurt or offended you, then I’m addressing …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes
Well, here’s the letter I’ve debated about posting (see yesterday’s post). My rule is, if I’m wondering if I should post something, go ahead and do it. So, here goes.
Dear agnostics, gays, and liberals,

Where do I begin? If Evangelicals have hurt or offended you, then I’m addressing you.

People that I love and associate with have behaved poorly.  We call ourselves, “Evangelicals”, but who knows what that means?  Whatever it once meant, it’s come to describe an intolerant, tract-carrying, graceless, flag-waving, politicized homophobe (and maybe even “a republican”).   A Bible-thumper.

We’re supposed to be known by our love for God and other people…all people.  We’re supposed to be following Jesus and trying to look like him.  Instead we’ve become caricatures of small-minded self-important clique – like the very people who antagonized Jesus.  

Grievously, evangelicals have become known for what we oppose, what we hate even, and not for who and what we love.  

And in the process, we’ve hurt so many people.  

A lot of people feel judged.  

It’s bad enough that we attack values, but we make it personal, too – we attack you, your family, and your friends.  For a long time, I’ve found this sad and embarrassing.  

But the more I hang around people who we – Evangelicals – have hurt, who want to have nothing more to do with Jesus because of the friends he apparently keeps, the more I see that something is required.  So to begin with, I apologize for our loutish behavior.  I am sincerely sorry for how we’ve hurt you…and your family and your friends.  I’m sorry for our shabby treatment of you, our neighbors, family, and strangers.  

You are the very people who the God we profess to love said would know US by his love.

You are not projects.  You are not the enemy.  We are not enemies.  

In fact, I bet we could even be friends.*

I hope we can.
* If we were, maybe here’s how our conversation might go. Also, I like this song.

Comments (14)

  • I join in the apology. In my quest for Jesus, I often found religion instead. In my quest for sanctification through the grace of Jesus, I’ve often bumped into judgementalism. Neither are Jesus.
    May we all learn to love as Jesus.

  • I agree. The love of Jesus is for all and not for us to judge. God will do any changes and we are to serve him in serving others. Come on church think this through.

  • Yeah, it is lame. I just liked the list of misfits in it. I’ll leave it to the rest of you reading this. Is the video lame enough to pull it? Unless I hear back otherwise, I’m considering it.

  • Thanks Seth. The topic is one with which I am very familiar as I’ve been moderating reconciliation efforts between the GLBT community and the church for almost a year now. It has had a material cost as former consulting clients send me notes and say…”You have gone over to the dark side.” In my experiences many people will cheer on the effort but don’t want to get close to the action. We are still a politically motivated…”take care of me”…elitist “Body of Christ” in so many ways. That is one of the key reasons I very selectively hang out with organized…commoditized…monetized faith anymore. For the most part there is no life there. The video isn’t slick. I guess I like that. Love you friend…

  • I didn’t watch the video but your post provides meaningful and relevant truth Thanks for posting this entry.

  • We can love someone and at the same time tell them the truth about what God says (out of Scripture) about a situation! If I saw my child was about to commit murder, for instance, or any other sin the Bible describes, even though I myself am a sinner, out of love for God and for my child, I would warn them as much as possible WITH LOVE that what he/she was about to do was wrong. And if that child deliberately rebelled against God and his parents, he/she would also know that by the grace of God and faith in Jesus Christ sins are forgiven — with REPENTANCE. NOT telling someone the possible consequences of sin is NOT love! We are all sinners, in need of a Savior!

    For you to lump together all flag-waving, Republicans as Bible thumpers, graceless, intolerant, tract-carrying politicized homophobes shows an intolerance on your part that is graceless. Of course there are those who say and do things cruelly to others they believe are going against God’s Word–which should never happen. But, to say nothing is just as wrong.

    As far as the film is concerned (along with other blogs you’ve posted), we aren’t all gods who forgot they were god and now have to work at breathing him in and become our Higher, True Selves (GODS). Mysticism isn’t the answer. It’s deception.

  • Glad you did not pull the video, I liked it too. Maybe because I saw myself listed so many times. 🙂 And yes, I’m sorry for not loving as much as I should have, but now, I am!

  • Seth,

    At times when I wonder if anyone out there ‘gets it’, meaning the message of the Gospel—-LOVE, then you write something that assures me you get it and a pack of wide-eyed radical followers around you get it too. I’ve been in Georgia over 2 months and I’ve seen as much hate here as I saw in the violent city of Matamoros, Mexico. The only difference between there and here is that there they use bullets and kill, here we use words and we do great damage to the hearts of those whom like you said Jesus came to love and serve and walk with.

    I praise God for you brother and your bold, radical Jesus style of loving without limits. Love your passion and your heart hermano!

    tony c

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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