Selfish churches, selfish Christians

Bruce Maples (bruceinlouisville@gmail.com)
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I told a friend of mine about all the churches across Kentucky that said they were going to ignore the governor and have in-person services anyway. She said with a snort, “Way to hang together and take care of your fellow human beings. Really showing the love of Jesus to others, aren’t they?”

I’d say she nailed it – except for needing stronger language.

As we pass 250,000 Americans dead from COVID-19, and over 11 million infected, the idea that churches would not be willing to go virtual for three weeks just boggles the mind. And more than that: for those of us who actually CARE for our fellow human beings, it hurts the heart.

The church I belong to has not had in-person services since March. We have a new pastor that we have not been able to meet or welcome. The staff works from home. The services are twice as much work as before, as the staff does some parts live and some parts recorded, and other staff put it all together on Sunday morning.

And why? Because the church we belong to takes seriously the command to love others. And having in-person services does not show love – it shows selfishness, and self-centeredness, and ego, and a shameful insistence on having one’s way, no matter who it hurts.

When I mentioned to another friend that some churches were insisting on meeting, that friend replied, as if it was self-evident, “They need the money. Got to pay for that jet.”

You hear that, pastors and churches? This is what people assume about you. This is the image you are projecting. When schools are virtual, when health care workers are crying out from exhaustion, when low-wage workers are going hungry because their hours have been cut, and yet YOU feel entitled to do whatever you want, you add to the stereotype of the Christian of today. You show people that your words of “love” and “community” are empty, and so people assume that your entire message is empty.

So, go ahead and meet. Talk about how you are being “faithful” and “standing up to the godless government” and “trusting God.”

Meanwhile, Jesus is standing outside, wearing a mask, and thinking to himself “What the hell do they think they are doing?”

–30–

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