Thursday, February 16, 2017

What Happens When the Church Takes the Bible Seriously

photo by UNHCR / flickr
When the history of the church in our time is written wonder what Matthew 25 - "I was a Stranger and you took me in..." will mean looking back. The LA Times, a secular newspaper writes about a Church in the Bible Belt that decided they did not have a  choice--they had to follow the Red-letter words of Matthew 25: "Inasmuch as you do it unto the least of do it to me." I guess you can call this fake news or maybe there is just a conservative church out there that has decided to do what Jesus wants. 

Once upon a time when was Pastor we took in 13 Vietnamese refugees. I think it did more for us than it did for them. One of our members provided a house. The WMU--God bless them--took these folk on for a project and showered them with love and supplies. I don't know where they or their children are today--but I hope they remember a church on College Avenue in South Carolina that took them in when they had no other place to go.

Reckon churches everywhere ought to follow this church in Fort Worth (of all places) Texas?

I remember a Poem Ernie Campbell, then Pastor of  the Riverside Church once quoted. It is still current and challenging today.

What, finally, shall we say
In the last moment
When we will be confronted
By the Unimaginable,
The One
Who could not be measured
or contained
In space or time
Who was Love
What shall we answer
When the question is asked
About our undeeds
In his name—
In the name of him
For whose sake we promised
To have courage
To abandon everything?
Shall we say
That we didn’t know—
That we couldn’t hear the clatter
Of hearts breaking—
Millions of them—
In lonely rooms, in alleys
     and prisons
And in bars?
Shall we explain
That we thought it mattered
That buildings were constructed
And maintained
In his honor—
That we were occupied
With the arrangements
Of hymns and prayers
And the proper, responsible way
Of doing things?
Shall we tell him
That we had to take care
Of the orderly definition
     of dogmas
So that there was no time
To listen to the
Of the little ones
Huddled in corners
Or the silent despair
Of those already beyond
Or, shall we say this, too:
That we were afraid—
That we were keeping busy
     with all this
To avoid confrontation
Wih the reality of his
Which would lead us to
That it was fear that
     kept us
Hiding in church pews
And in important boards
     and committees
When he went by?
                     —Ursula Solek

(Read further--the Johnson Ferry Baptist Church (Marietta, Georgia) has taken  in 7 Syrian  Refugee families. It was so amazing for this secular media that 60 Minutes featured the church some time ago. May their tribe increase.)

photo by UNHCR / flickr

--Roger Lovette /

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