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Published: The Gazette | 3/24/19 | Janesville, WI

Disappointed by the Christian message… Me Too!

 

Unfortunately, Christians have let one group dominate the national discourse on Christian values and beliefs for the last few decades. This has led many people to believe that Christians in the USA are, in general, judgmental, closeminded, anti-intellectual, anti-science, unwilling to engage culture, anti-LGBTQ+, islamophobic, ethnocentric, and primarily concerned with the afterlife. It makes me very sad, and even upset, that there isn’t a public voice to speak out for the church I know. It pains me that so many people feel alienated and hurt by the “pop Christian” message, which is simply not the whole picture. There are certainly people on all sides of any issue, there are a spectrum of beliefs when it comes to Christianity, but the church that has nurtured me through life, and of which I am a Pastor today, is one I am proud say is different from that. Let me tell you a little bit about the church I know.

The church I know is deeply hurt by the horrific events in Christchurrch, New Zealand. The senseless vilification of our Muslim brothers and sisters must end. Muslims, Christians, and Jews are brothers and sister who pray to same God. Together, we must work alongside people of all religions, and those who may choose to reject any religion, for the sake of peace and justice around the world. As long as suffering continues, the church I know will continue seeking ways to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.

The church I know supports loving relationships. Single moms, single dads, two moms, two dads, mixed race, divorced, blended, LGBTQIA+… relationships are just not as simple as they were once portrayed. I am proud to say that I am a part of a church that supports loving relationships in every form.

The church I know believes in science. The pursuit of knowledge including the big bang, evolution, climate change, modern medicine, and quantum mechanics are all incredible gifts from science. There is no reason to think otherwise. God has given people the gift of reason and understanding for the sake of continuing to advance human progress.

The church I know wants to make a difference today. The life of faith is not about the afterlife, about securing a coveted spot in heaven and getting as many people “saved” as possible (God’s grace takes care of that!), it’s about using the many gifts God has given us so that all people can experience the great abundance of God’s good creation. There is enough, more than enough, for everyone, but greed and a false belief in scarcity make this dream a difficult and constant mission.

There is much more to be said about the church I know and care about so profoundly. Perhaps the most important is that the church I know is evolving. We are learning how to be church for a new age while holding on to ancient wisdom. May the Holy Spirit continue to form and shape God’s people.

Pastor Felix Malpica

Faith Lutheran Church

Janesville, WI