In my book “Fed Up with Fundamentalism” there is a short section titled “An Embarrassed Southern Baptist.” Since then my embarrassment has expanded somewhat, so now in many ways I have become an embarrassed Christian.
The primary problem is that the media mainly reports on the outlandish actions of “Christians.” And there is certainly a lot of that kind of stuff to report on. I have written about some of that on my blog postings this year. For example,
* In my 2/4 blog article, I wrote about Christians seeking in the name of religious freedom to be exempt from providing insurance coverage from their employees. I am embarrassed when I think of Christians like the CEO of Hobby Lobby and those who support him.
* My 2/18 posting was about Westboro Baptist Church and about some states seeking to legislate discrimination against gays/lesbians in the name of religious freedom. Westboro’s founder pastor Fred Phelps has since died, but the hateful protests of that church continue.
* On 2/28 my blog article was about racism in Mississippi, the state with the highest percentage of religious people (mostly Christians) in the U.S. (And just two days ago an anti-gay discrimination bill was passed in Mississippi—and that action was praised by the Miss. Baptist Convention.)
Then not long ago there was segment on TRMS about the anti-scientific attitudes of national politicians—such as U.S Rep. Paul Broun (R-Ga.). In an address in August 2012 at a banquet organized by Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Ga., Broun said, “All that stuff I was taught about evolution, embryology, the Big Bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of hell.”
Rep. Broun, a medical doctor by training, serves on the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology. That is troubling, for a few years ago he received a round of applause from GOP colleagues when he claimed that man-made global warming is a “hoax” with “no scientific consensus.”
Of course, in many other ways I am certainly not embarrassed to be a Christian. For example, I am not embarrassed to be a part of the Christian group north of the Missouri River in greater Kansas City known as Northland Faith Voices. I was happy to be a part of that group as they planned and a rally for economic justice and dignity on Feb. 27.
Although I am not personally involved in their fine service activities, I certainly not embarrassed by the 8,600 churches, including a number of local churches, who are an active part of Love INC (In the Name of Christ).
Similarly, there are also many Christians serving others through the In As Much Ministry, a food and clothes pantry that serves the Liberty area where I live.
I am also not at all embarrassed when I hear outstanding Christian scholars/activists such as those I have heard in the past couple of weeks: Anglican N. T. (Tom) Wright, Mennonite J. Denny Weaver, and Catholic John Dear (who is not a tractor but a detractor of the nation’s weapons of war!).
There are Christian organizations like these, and outstanding scholars/activists like these, all across the country (and world). But they seldom make the news. The general non-Christian public rarely has a chance to hear about the kind of Christians who are lovingly serving people in need and propounding a thoughtful interpretation and implementation of Christianity.
And that’s a shame.
If there were more coverage of the positive and true things Christians do and say, I (we) wouldn’t have to be so embarrassed.