Dear God,

   I’m confused on how we use the words “godly/Godly” and “Christian”.

   If I say someone is a “very Christian person”, what does that mean if the individual displays “virtues” of intolerance, intransigent ideas, ideas of nationalism over faithfulness, doesn’t recognize that while all people may be created equal not all people have equal opportunities?  If I say a person is “godly” or “chosen by God” what does that mean if they are mean-spirited, have difficulty telling the truth, or put people down?  It’s all very confusing to me how we use the descriptive words of “godly/Godly” or “Christian”: words that are so central to our faith.

   For instance, you know the turmoil of our country on racism, discrimination, and injustices in the way people are treated.  Caucasian people often say there isn’t significant racism, discrimination, or injustice in the world, that it all ended with the Civil Rights act of 1964.  I guess we should ask to a black person in America, or a Muslim, or a person from China, or a person from Mexico. 

   Last week I read (and fact-checked, as I try to do with many things I see) a story about a Christian website similar to GoFundMe site, named GiveSendGo.  It describes itself as a Christian organization that is different than GoFundMe because it has its base in the name of Christ.  Interestingly, they have a fund for the legal defense team for Kyle Rittenhouse: a man from Antioch, IL who crossed the state, line traveled to Kenosha with his AR-15 assault rifle to “defend property” that was not his, and was willing, by the fact that he had an assault rifle, to shoot individuals whom he felt would be law-breaking or trespassing.  He did, in fact, choose to use that gun to kill two unarmed people and wound another unarmed person.  Interestingly, the Christian crowd-funding site GiveSendGo, has started a fund for his legal defense which now has $272,000 contributed. 

   People have the opportunity to share their support for this “Christian” endeavor and post a comment.  Some of them read” :

     – “My prayers will continue to be with you as you face this horrible injustice by the State of Wisconsin. Wisconsinites should be outraged and let their legislators know they won’t stand for this blatant violation of the noble Mr. Rittenhouse‘s rights to protect himself & others.

     – “The war is only beginning.

     – “Your actions to defend yourself are remarkable and your presence of mind incredible You had the hand of God on you that night for sure. (Psalm 121) HE gave you the strength and courage, like I have never seen. Good always wins. God bless you and protect you Kyle. We are praying for your in Spokane WA

     – “When a skin head Nazi (National Socialist) and know child predator attacks a 17 year old child, that child has every right to defend himself.

     – Americans have won every war foreign and domestic thanks to patriots like Kyle and all other Americans that volunteer their time in keeping this demonic movement. God’s followers will prevail over satans minions. Thank you Jesus for dying for our sins.

     – We need more teenagers like him.   (All typos above were as written on the comments section.)

   Now, before you complain to me that this is too political, I might remind you, Lord, that I’m sincerely trying to figure out how we assign the labels “godly/Godly” or “Christian”.  It would seem that we assign these precious titles to/people/causes we agree with rather than asking the difficult but obvious question, “Does this person or group seek to share the values of Jesus Christ?”: Values of love, justice, forgiveness, kindness, equality of all people, confronting hypocrisy and narcissism and people who use power for their own gain, and standing up to those who would put people down for their own benefit?  It seems that our decision to use these precious words of our Christian faith depends on our opinion, not our faith. 

   When a Christian website raises money for the legal defense of a person who intentionally drove out of state to stand with an assault rifle to protect property that isn’t his and then murders two people and injures another…is that a “Christian” cause.   You might argue it was self-defense, but is he worthy of a title of  “God’s followers” or Christian? What would we say if a protestor (of course, we define what a “protestor” is) came from out-of-state with an assault rifle to the demonstrations and murdered two people and shot another because they felt threatened?  Would that be worthy of a Christian fund-raising endeavor on a Christian crowd-funding site or the title of “Christian” or “godly/Godly”? 

   Again, it might sound political, but aren’t these questions that all people of faith should be asking?  Isn’t the final test of the use of those precious titles of “Godly” and “Christian” whether a person or group represents the teachings of Christ: Peace, Love, Justice, Equality, Fairness, Non-discrimination, Hope, and Sacrifice?  Help me out on this one, please, because it’s very confusing to me how these descriptive terms, which are so precious to me, are used by good, Christian (oops, there it is again) people.  Help me, Lord, and help us all to ask these questions.  Afterall, isn’t that what Godly Christians in church should be doing?

   Dan

Pastoral Pondering September 2020