In case you haven't seen this, below is a video that has gotten tons of attention in the Christian arena. Rick Warren tweeted about it, Michael Hyatt (CEO of Thomas Nelson publishers) blogged about it, and people everywhere are talking about it.
Essentially, a tiny church (14 members) is having a book burning on Halloween, burning books and music they call "Satanic." This includes all Bibles that are not the King James Version, as well as works by the likes of Billy Graham and Mother Teresa, referred to in this clip as "heretics."
To make it worse, this church is in my little hometown.
Do I think this church has problems with its belief system? Absolutely. There's obvious issues. I don't condone this behavior at all.
I also don't like the way the media has, yet again, painted Christians as crazy, and the way this video infers that the people of that town (MY HOMETOWN, mind you) are dumb hillbillies. I'm sorry if you don't wear overalls in the city, but out here in the mountains, some of us do. Consider it a "country uniform."
But what really bothers me most is the reaction of "Christians" to this spectacle. This is all over the blogs I frequently visit, and I'm distressed by all the condescending and snarky comments. There are many referring to the preacher's "bib overalls" (hello, judgement!), lack of church membership (what about the state of those 14 souls?), and cracks about food being served at the burning (well, they've got us there - baptists are known for eating!).
Here's my problem with the situation: is this how Jesus would respond to this preacher and his tiny congregation? Would he make fun of their clothes, and their accent, and the size of their church?
There's a word for us - mockers. Christians participating in this kind of behavior is what gives Christianity a bad name, moreso than pastors of teeny churches. Instead of making fun of them, we need to be hitting our knees and asking God to open the eyes and hearts of this congregation, revealing the falsehoods they now believe, and use this situation for His glory.
Who's up for a prayer?
Lord, first of all, forgive us for once again falling short. Forgive us for laughing at some of your children, calling them names, and judging them all based on one video clip. Purify us, Lord, burning away the dross and making us purer in thought and action than we have been. I pray now, God that You would open the eyes and hearts of this congregation, and reveal your real truth - not this twisted version they believe. Father, take what is meant for evil, and use it for Your glory! In Your precious and holy name, Amen!