Back in Christianity Run Amok, I wrote, “…perhaps some are skipping his church because they are browbeaten at work Monday through Friday and they don’t want to be browbeaten on Sunday, too.”
And I asked, “Who wants to be called a selfish sinner in church when they can be out on the streets of Detroit offering a plate of food and a few minutes of conversation and dignity to a homeless man?”
If you’ve read many of my posts, you know that I’ve grown tired of church nonsense. And you can imagine my delight when, late last night, whilst gently holding a bag of frozen peas to my left eye, I read this:
“Christians do not measure humanity by the worst words and actions of Adam down the ages of history but by the utter faithfulness to God and humanity found in Jesus Christ. He is the truest measure of every person, of the intention of God when he made you.”-Kenneth Tanner
It has been my sad experience that lots of Christians measure humanity by the worst words and actions of Adam down the ages of history. Lots and lots of Christians. But thank God for this quoted one who does not. And thank God that He does not.
I don’t remember if I told you this story before, but I was absolutely horrified when a woman in my Sunday School class said something along the lines of the this: “I’m going to get myself some popcorn and a front row seat on a heavenly balcony and watch the apocalypse unfold.” She was looking forward to seeing some carnage, to cheering as sinners get theirs and I shuddered. I asked her if she would still enjoy the show if some of her loved ones were among those sinners. Maybe my question was not Sunday School polite, but someone has to break the chain.
Here’s more from Kenneth:
For those who follow Christ there is no “them” separate from “us.” To love my neighbor is to discern the image of Christ in every person and to comprehend that they are already related to Christ before the gospel is announced in two inalienable and unalterable ways.
Christ is their creator and Christ is their human brother. These two dimensions of his love—of creator and brother—cannot be undone by any effort of human will, of spiritual darkness, of natural cause.
These two ways in which Christ is already related to every human person are eternal and cannot be broken; even though every person has the dark capacity to reject these gifts and alienate themselves from Love, these graces are irrevocable.
Every human is loved as the artist loves his handiwork, and every human is loved as the artist becomes what he has made in order to love what he has made to the bitter but transfiguring end, living and suffering as one of us.
In Christ there is no “other” against which we can divide ourselves because God has already acted in Jesus Christ to fashion every person from clay and to be made like his brothers and sisters “in every respect,” and it is for love of them all that he has given all of himself.
If we would follow Christ, we must appropriate this wisdom. This means we learn it by *practicing* the kind of radical identification of God with humanity that comes to us as Lord in the unique divine and human person of Jesus Christ. -Kenneth Tanner
I’m going to appropriate this wisdom. I’m going to practice looking at humanity through the lens of God’s identification with us. I’m going to practice looking at individual people the way Jesus did/does. I’m going to find the bright places in my heart and mind where boom bands are playing. I think I’ll like people better there. How about you?
If you’d like to read more from Kenneth Tanner, and you really should, you can follow him on Facebook.
P.S. The peas. My lower left eyelid went under the knife yesterday in the same manner that my upper right eyelid went under the knife last summer. I’m fine but my vision is blurry today – which is going to put a damper on my plan to lay low and read posts all day – with peas on my eye for 15 minutes out of every hour – but I’m going to do my best. I hope you guys wrote some really good stuff.