Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Banter/jockeying okay; seething hatred not

After this post, I promise to make my next one more fun-loving and light.  I've been on a roll, I know.

A while ago, I stopped checking facebook right after church.  People, my friends, were really starting to annoy me with their comments about worship and God.  I'm all for being amazed by the presence of God, motivated by a sermon, or humbled by reflective worship, but I think it was the comment, "God rocks my face off," that really turned my stomach one day.  I guess it is my theological opinion, but even if you relate to God as best buddy, still honor the Almighty with reverence, not slang.

Moving along, I have decided to broaden those few hours into having a whole Sabbath from facebook on Sunday.  God's day has been sabotaged by people's inability to leave sports and politics at home.  It's hard enough seeing this displayed live and in person at church; I cannot continue to back up those scenes with cyber-ignorance.

As my blog title states, I believe that joking with one another about rivalries is okay and just a part of team-spirit banter.  I think that some of that is okay in the church halls--it's relationship.  That being said, some people cannot talk about their team's loss or win without being damaging to another's human spirit.  Better not banter or joke with those people.  Those people do not believe or cannot distinguish that there is a line between joking and hating. 

Unfortunately, I don't know many people anymore who can understand this fact.  I read it last Sunday in their status updates.  "Please God, don't let Jane ruin my worship because of her smugness."  Or, "I can't wait to see Joe and let him see my 'State #1' tie.  It'll totally tick him off."

In the same vein, and again, unfortunately, people are treating political parties and ideologies like sports teams.  Opinions and hatred are expressed openly--in regular conversation, in prayers, in physical displays of clothing logos.

I am not saying that politics have no place in church or in church member discussion.  I believe that we ought to discuss politics.  However, most people cannot engage in respectful or open discussion in any forum and that can be outright detrimental to the health of a congregation.

We have allowed too many segments of our society to turn into war--battle till our enemy has been overcome by concussion or by humiliation.  Our ability to get to the hate level is rapidly speeding up.  Our loss of compassion and understanding is tragic.

I am making the appeal for true worship environments.

Two passages of scripture come to mind:  Matthew 21:12-13 and Luke 18: 9-14.

In Luke, the man standing in the back has ruined his own chance for true worship.  He just can't let go of his smugness or his hatred.  The other man's display humbleness is a sign of weakness to him.

In Matthew, Jesus has had enough of the irreverence.  He enters, sees the impeding tables, and turns them over.

I am making the appeal for true worship environments. 

I have my own tables and my own hatred.  Let's all leave our logos, our team colors, our smugness, our hatred behind.  Let us all come naked before God and experience the Holy Presence with our brothers and sisters.  I believe that if cannot recognize our own ego and cannot turn over our own tables, that Jesus will, at some point, aid us in that endeavor. 

As this child of mine continues to grow and develop, I pray that she may experience those moments of secure connection with God--praising wholeheartedly her Creator and receiving the blessing of unending love that is like no other.  I pray that she have many more of those moments than I have allowed myself.    

I pray that after we all find the courage to fall down that we might then be able to look into the face of one who is well-pleased.