I was all set to write a blog post on how Christianity is about loving people and how catchy new songs are their own kind of intolerance when I realized, as much as I didn’t appreciate his lyrics, he did have a point.
Some of the meanest and most spiteful people I know can be found sitting in a pew on Sunday morning.
They’re harsh, judgmental, and walking around with a big log sticking out of their eye. They hate the sinner and love pointing out how much better they are than the average person. And they make it hard for me to argue with pop singers and angry atheists.
The people of God are supposed to be loving, kind, forgiving, and wise—not spiteful. Yet we’ve gone from being givers of hope amid the chatter of lies to knife sharpeners with axes to grind. No wonder people like Hozier and a thousand more like him have ran from the church, disheartened and hurt.
But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Loving, kind, and even forgiving people walk among the grumpy, bitter, complaining lot of religion flaunters. The church isn’t a lost cause. It’s not obsolete. It’s still a place to find hope and acceptance. The fact that we haven’t totally kicked those mean people out should give you a little bit of hope. We’re messed up and broken just like most, but we’ve also experienced love and forgiveness to such a degree that it’s changed the way we look at the world.
Congregating with people who have been touched by the goodness of God– who’ve walked through the valley and made it to higher ground and who know the depth love will go because they have a profound need for it– makes life a little easier to face and makes eternity that much brighter. Church hosts those people as well.
Maybe it’s time to stop leaving and to start taking a stand. Certainly there have been horrible things done in the name of religion, but that is not the hand of God. That is the crafty manipulation of God’s enemy to take something meant for goodness and to turn it upside down.
It may take some effort, risk, and time, but if you invest yourself, your ideas, and your heart in a group of people who are doing the same thing and whose only bragging right is that Jesus is their Savior, then you may find the true church, the body, is actually a bunch of different parts working as one. (1 Corinthians 12:12-26) You may find a community that loves you and accepts you just the way you are.
So take me to church, and if I’m met with judgment and meanness, then I’ll not run off and write a mad song about worshiping dogs and sinful innocence. No, I’ll stay, and I’ll fight for what I know to be right, and I’ll pray for those hard hearts, and I’ll try really hard not to judge the hand or the foot.