Boy Scouts and Christian Principles?

As I watch the news and the debates and the Christians “take a stand” I am deeply saddened by what I hear and see from “Christians.”

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The news reported last night that “allowing gays in the boy scouts goes against our Christian principles.”

Signs are being hoisted by our children to “keep scouts 2013-02-06T191902Z_01_DB107_RTRMDNP_3_USA-BOYSCOUTS-GAYS-007.rmorally straight.”

Other signs read,

“Don’t invite sin into the camp,”

PROTESTERS AGAINST JAMES DALE

and

“A homosexual boy scout leader is like asking the fox to guard the chickens.” 

Again I am coming to the conclusion that we in the North American church are more like the Pharisees than Jesus. And we are building more walls to reaching people with the Love of Jesus than we are bridges.  At this point I know I just stepped in a big mess.  But here I go…

Why is it that homosexuality seems to be the go to “sin?”  What about lying? Cheating? Adultery? Heterosexual porn addiction? Gluttony?  We do not mind if you are gay as long as you are not openly gay.  We do not mind if you are a porn addict as long as we don’t know about it.  Are we not “inviting sin in the camp” with every leader who we invite in and every child we invite in.  Ask every leader one question: “Are you free from all sin and do you live daily without sin in your life”?  If they cannot answer with perfect sinlessness we are inviting sin into the camp.  Where do we draw the line?

This post is in no way a statement of being for or against homosexuality. It is instead a statement of being like Christ and what we teach our children.  What I see our children learning here is how to categorize like the pharisees and avoid at all costs those who don’t fit our personal values.

Is it a Christian principle to segregate ourselves over behaviors that don’t match our beliefs?

“Christian” principles are the principles of Christ.  So let’s look for a moment at Jesus.

Luke 15:1-2 “Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

Unknown-2Jesus didn’t just welcome sinners but even ate with them.  In fact this accusation is the context for Jesus telling  3 parables… Parable of the Lost Sheep (leave the 99 and go for the 1)… Parable of the precious coin (search diligently for what is precious to the heart of God… Parable of the prodigal son (comparison between heart of God, heart of pharisee)

In Matthew 9, Jesus and his disciples are found eating in the home of Matthew along with his disreputable friends.  And again the Pharisees are bothered because he was eating with them and Jesus response is…

“On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.[a] For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Here Jesus quotes Hosea 6:6 and puts showing mercy in the context of eating with sinners and tax collectors.

In Matthew 11:19 Jesus is accused of being a drunkard and a glutton and a friend of sinners.

“The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But wisdom is proved right by her deeds.”

Now let’s talk “Christ”ian principles and what we are teaching our children?

  • Principles of the Pharisee… focus on the sin
  • Principles of Christ… focus on loving people in spite of sin.

Oh… a couple more questions: “is Boy Scouts of America a Christian organization?”

Can a Witch be a scout master?

The Church today – Christlike or Phariseelike?

I have been doing a great deal of thinking recently about the church in America and its reality.  Not what we say it is, not what we want it to be, but what it really is.  If we Unknown-2were to strip away the mask, and the cute phrases, and the nice sounding mission statements and looked at the reality of what is left what would we find.

Now, mind you I am not naive enough to say this is everyone everywhere and yes I am making some generalizations.  I am very well aware that there are MANY great Christians and “churches” that live it well.

However, I am coming to the conclusion that the “church” and “Christianity” in North America looks far more like a movement of Pharisees than it does a movement of “littlepharisee Christ’s” spreading across our cities.  To be a “holy” people is not to be a “holier than thou” people but to be a people who look like Jesus, act like Jesus, love like Jesus, serve like Jesus, go where Jesus went, and be Christ-like to the world around us not just to those within our faith family and for those who are like us.

The Pharisees were all about keeping the rules and staying away from certain groups of people.

Jesus was known as a friend of sinners and came eating and drinking with sinners and tax collectors.

Pharisees made laws to protect the laws.

Jesus was known for “breaking the laws” for the sake of loving the world around him.  Jesus loved and accepted people in spite of their behavior.

Why is it when we talk about “Holiness” do we automatically go to “not sinning” instead of being like Jesus.  If we are going to be like Jesus don’t we automatically have to look at who we are friends with.  Our church culture has used words like “sanctification” and “Holiness” to separate us from the world around us and therefore make us more like Pharisees than like Jesus.  “Sanctification” and “Holiness” should be calls to enter relationships with the very people who need to see the Love of Jesus not the judgement, condemnation and laws of the Pharisees.

I would love your feedback to this question…

When you look at the church (generally speaking – from your perspective and connections) how would your rate the church on the scale of 1-10… 

(1) Looks like Jesus………………………………………………..Look like Pharisee (10)

(Non Judging, Friend of Sinners) …………………. (Separateness, judgment)

(Relational) ……………………………………………………………………… (Legal)

pharisee Unknown-2

The church – The embodiment of Christ

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

This is a quote that has shown up on bumper stickers and has been floating around for quite some time. So here is the thought….

Jesus the most holy person to walk the face of the earth was attracted to the most unholy and the most unholy were attracted to him. It was the religious of the day that were put off by Christ. Jesus was accused of being friends with sinners and tax collectors. He ate with them, hung out with them and was very comfortable being around those who had a lifestyle opposite his.

If the “church” is the embodiment of Christ why is it that the world is not attracted to the “church”?

Could it be that for many church is about talking about Christ vs. living like Christ. What would happen if the church became a family living like Christ in their neighborhood?

Neighbors would be attracted to Him. For when they see the church they would see Christ and Christ is attractive.

A collage of pics from our organic churches in Plano and McKinney

For more on this read my earlier post – “A picture of the church