A Story Jesus Told (With A Twist)
Two men were praying. One was an organic church guy, and the other was a pastor of evangelical church. The organic church guy stood by himself and prayed this prayer: “I thank you, God, that I am not like other people—domineering, controlling, unbiblical. I’m certainly not like this pastor! I am the church wherever I go, I understand the evils of hierarchy, plus I give money to the poor, not to pay for buildings.”
But the evangelical pastor stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, “O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.” I tell you, this pastor, not the organic church guy, returned home justified before God. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.
Taken, with some liberties (okay, a lot of liberties) from Luke 18:10-14.
Photo Credit: Day 143 – A Day of Repentance by Kyle Steed
11 responses to “A Story Jesus Told (With A Twist)”
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From what I’ve seen, the evangelical pastor would have been more likely to pray: “Thank you oh God that you’ve chosen me to be the man that’s the head of my household and the head of your church, that I’m not a woman and therefore not forbidden from being a pastor. Thank you oh God that I am the pastor of your one true church, the one that rightfully calls sin “sin” even as we love sinners. Thank you oh God that we are standing on the authority of your holy and inerrant word as Young-Earth Creationists and believe in a literal rapture that will spare us from the wrath the rest of the world so rightfully deserves. Thank you oh God for making me among the elect, predestined for salvation and unable to resist your grace – guaranteed to go to heaven no matter what. Thank you for not choosing not to save me. Thank you for not making me an organic church guy, for not making me “barely Christian”, for not making me a part of the LGBTQIA community, for not making me disabled in any way, shape, or form. That’s how I know you love me more than you love those people – because of the hedge of protection you have put around me… blah, blah, blah.”
But hey, what do I know? I was born and raised into evangelicalism and I know how it is from experience. And before you say: “That’s just one church, what about the rest of them?” I’ll tell you that’s combined from about a half dozen churches in three different states – the issues evangelicalism faces are systemic and result in pharisee-like leaders and followers.
Jamie, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I knew when I wrote this post that there would be comments very similar to this one. My post wasn’t intended to justify a certain group of people. Jesus’ similar parable from Luke 18 wasn’t intended to justify “sinners.” I think the point of Jesus’ parable (and my spin) is that pride and self-justification are significantly more important than what we do or don’t do. God accepts a humble sinner more readily than a self-righteous person who is “perfect” and I believe that humility will help us more with the Lord than any definition of perfection we come up with.
I think that’s where the Evangelical church could use a big dose of humility, they see themselves as more righteous than those other sinners (Such as the LGBT, feminists, disabled people, etc.) because they haven’t sinned nearly enough to be punished to the same degree that other people are bearing those difficult crosses. With regular Bible study, attendance, and other works of righteousness into the mix – most kids who grow up in churches naturally developed a sense of superiority for not having sinned. It’s when people make mistakes that Evangelicals can be quite unforgiving. It’s not what type of church that you’re into that decides whether or not you’re good with God, but the condition of your heart. Some organic church guys probably have pride issues, but so do Evangelical guys. Some organic church guys are humble, and so are some Evangelical guys (rare though they may be.) I think that Evangelicals suffer because their outrageous fundamentalist conservatives give them such a bad name that it’s hard for the rest to distance themselves from a group of people they mostly agree and partially disagree with.
Thanks Travis. Loved this and loved the way you turned it on your head which causes us to question our bias.
Thanks a ton, John. I know Jesus turned the table on me…I’m just passing on what I’ve been served…
Me too. Sent you a facebook message about something which may interest you along a similar theme. No worries if it doesn’t.