I realize I’m a little bit behind the times, but I just watched Kirk Cameron’s interview on Piers Morgan Tonight. I do think it is absurd that people are raking him across the coals for being a bigot. That was not this man’s intent or character which to me is evident in the interview. He was asked for and stated and opinion, which should be tolerated as much as Piers’ view on the issue. Now, off that soap box and on to the bigger issue…we need to accept that we’ve lost the high ground.
When Christianity first began as a faith in the world, it was nowhere near the dominant force in the culture. The lived in a very pluralistic society that allowed many of the things that we allow today. When I read about places like Corinth and Ephesus I see our 21st Century culture reflected in it. It wasn’t until Constantine took power in the Roman Empire that Christianity gained favored status in the world and then became the dominant force in shaping the world for a couple thousand years. With that power and status came also much corruption and evil that the church will have to atone for, but that’s not what this post is about.
In the time leading up to Constantine’s rule, Christians and the Church were an absolute force. People came to know Jesus at an almost unprecedented pace. This was done in a society with no television media, no social media, and in reality no public platform to do any good. I think we need re-learn what Christians learned long before us.
What strikes me isn’t Cameron’s interview…it’s the amount of backlash towards him. If you Google search this interview you get countless condemnations of him as a person as well as his views. And unfortunately, the video clearly takes a small snippet of the interview and not the whole thing in context. Piers and others have latched onto one comment and destroyed Kirk Cameron who I believe had no malice or intent of hate in his heart. We have lost our place in the public forum, just like the early church had no place in the public forum, and to me that is ok. We just need to re-learn.
This is not the America that we once knew. The culture is not dominantly Christian…it is secular and we need to accept that. We also need to learn from Kirk Cameron’s experience that when we take to the airwaves, we open ourselves to criticism that is damaging to the name of Jesus and to the Church. Right or wrong, fair or unfair, this is reality and the sooner we accept the sooner we can move on to actually making a difference in the world.
Now, I’m not advocating that we sit silently and just let the world win. What I am advocating is that we quit using avenues that don’t work anymore. Going on major news networks and speaking gets us in trouble. Speaking out in the media gets twisted and taken out of context. We need to be very careful in our rhetoric as Christians. And we need to learn what made the early church successful…their radical treatment of those around them.
You see since they had no platform to speak from they had to spread the Gospel differently. There was no place for them on the floor of the Roman Senate. Their place was the floor of the Coliseum. However, they did live in a society where the rich and powerful were glorified and those who were poor and unprivileged were walked all over. Christians treated those people will a love and kindness that was never seen before, and it won people over. They reached out to those who needed someone built relationships with them. Their love was so radical, so different from the culture, that it was evident there was something that caused this in them…Jesus.
We can do this today. We just need to learn how. It first involves that we stop our dependency on the media and the halls of Congress. They make us look unloving, which I believe is not the case for most Christians. We also need to work with everything we have to silence those voices that are full of hate, malice, and preach anything but the Gospel. Places like Westboro Baptist Church and others like them should be condemned because they are perverting the Gospel. Then we must come together to be a force of love, grace, and good in our communities. We can change things by choosing to be radically different and it be evident to all that are around us. What if we stopped fighting for a Constitutional amendment on marriage and started a support group where we actually loved, cared for, supported, and built relationships with those who deal with being gay or lesbian? What if we stopped complaining about the unfairness of the Welfare system and started figuring out ways in our local churches to get people off of Welfare so that it is not needed? What if we actively reached out and built relationships with all, sharing with them the love of Jesus, and just let that do the talking?
My senior pastor recently made a great point. Jesus told us that with faith as small as a mustard seed we could move mountains. He never said that we would move the whole mountain at once, but that the mountain could be moved. Church we no longer have the dominant voice to move a whole mountain at a time. But there was a time where piece by piece Jesus worked through faithful, loving, generous men and women to change the whole world. I, for one, want to believe that this can be done again. I believe my God and my Savior is big enough to change the world without the help of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue or CNN. If they don’t want to help, I know someone who loves more than they can love and has more power than they could possibly wield. Let’s re-learn what the Church once knew and then let’s set out to change our communities with the truth of the Gospel.