Our dear local newspaper begins an article (opinion page) with this statement, “The Lord rested on the seventh day. And sometimes it appears that churches, having done their work on Day 7 rest for the other six.”
So local journalists, why do you need to do that? God forbid you miss an opportunity at taking a shot at Christians, even while writing to applaud one – the article praising the good work of the departing Salvation Army director.
On the same day is another article about my own Hagerstown Rotary Club, which gave away $63,000 to local non-profits – representing the distributions of funds raised over the past year. Within the article is this statement, “Since its inception in 1980, the Hagerstown Rotary Club has raised more than $1.6 million for more than 120 nonprofit organizations.” This is all very commendable, and I am not knocking it as insignificant.
In reflection over my 19 years at Tri-State Fellowship (beginning here on the 4th Sunday of June in 1994), our church has simply given away about two million dollars to missions and benevolent causes near and far. And in our own lean financial times and while facing our budget for the coming fiscal year, this seems at first glance like a crazy activity to have done. It is a number that roughly equals the amount we have spent on all land and building acquisitions over the same time. Imagine if you personally gave away amounts equal to your mortgage and value of your home. Well, some of you reading this have probably done that … and done it through TSF … which explains why we were able to have done what we did.
Our rewards for giving as unto the Lord are not to be realized in this world – certainly not through a media that generally despises people of faith. It is not even surprising when we take a shot of false accusation, as Jesus said it would occur … “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” And Peter said to live such good lives amongst the people of this world, that though they may criticize you, your good deeds would be more than obvious.
Yep, yep… but I did find it annoying.
First of all, op-ed pages are written by editors, who haven’t been in the trenches of truly writing for at least a decade. Ask any journalist; the best way to handle a crisis is if all the editors are stranded far away and can’t call and annoy you.
Second of all, that was a cheesy line and they shouldn’t have written it, admittedly. But look at their side, too: Your church is doing amazing things, but you’re being quiet about it. You’re not blowing your own horn, or shouting your own accolades (and nor should you be!). You’re doing things quietly for the betterment of the Kingdom.
But for every church like you, there’s at least one like Westboro Baptist, which makes news for being about as un-Christian as it’s possible to be. Assume, for the sake of argument, that this editor is un-churched, doesn’t have familiarity with the good churches do behind the scenes, and only sees the bad of the churches like the WB nutters.
The problem isn’t with the journalists. It’s with the churches who claim the mantle of Christ and wear their crosses above hearts filled with hate, anger, recrimination, and judgement.
I’d like to hope it is as innocuous as that.