I was very disappointed on Inauguration Day by — of all people — a pair of pastors. I’m not mentioning their names because, frankly, I don’t want their names on my site. I think the last thing either one deserves at this point is more attention.
The first one is a fairly prominent (I’d call him fairly prominent, at least) Pacific Northwest pastor. He got the ball rolling with this delightful little tweet:
“Praying for our president, who today will place his hand on a Bible he does not believe to take an oath to a God he likely does not know.”
I responded, stating that as a Christian, I find that utterly disgraceful.
I still do.
For one thing, it makes me wonder exactly how genuine his prayer for Obama could possibly be. But more importantly, I realize the basic truth that no one can see into another person’s heart. That’s between that person and God.
If the pastor was trying to suggest that one’s words and deeds are a good indication of what’s in one’s heart, through his own words, he called himself into question by posting a tweet that is so unloving and unkind.
We Christians, even those of us who are not pastors, are called to be ambassadors of Christ. What kind of message do we send to the world when we post something like that? It depends on the recipient, of course, but I can make a good guess at how it looks to some who don’t yet have a personal relationship with Christ: it looks as if there’s nothing worthwhile to see in Christianity; it’s just more of the same bickering and political snideness that exists outside of Christianity.
Is that what anyone in his right mind wants to do? Is that the message anyone should send?
It’s sad that a lot of pastors seem unable — or more likely, unwilling — to see past a political party. But that’s no excuse for that kind of statement.
If he really wanted to send a positive message, he could have said something like, “Praying for our president that God will give him the wisdom to make all of the right decisions for the next few years.” It sounds like a much more genuine message that’s consistent with loving one’s neighbor as Himself, which Christ Himself said was among the most important commandments.
If he was really genuine about praying for “our president,” he’d have spent his time praying, not tweeting. I pray for people all the time that I don’t then make a public announcement about. That screams to me about seeking some sort of “spiritual credit” rather than expressing personal concern. It’s a bit different, naturally, when someone posts on Facebook or Twitter that they’ve suffered a loss or are having a rough time: telling them that you’re praying for them is a way of expressing concern.
But using prayer as a political weapon? I somehow don’t think that’s what it was meant to be.
Not to be outdone, a pastor in the Southeast immediately responded with an unfortunate, over-the-top harshness of his own, through a string of profanity-laden tweets that included the suggestion that the first pastor should kiss the second pastor’s “Christian ass.”
Well isn’t that special?
This pastor who set out to so vehemently criticize his colleague merely proved that he’s no better than the first one, and is actually even worse.
Nice job, guys.
The world is watching, and when Christians attack each other in this inexcusable manner, the world gets the idea that Christianity is part of the problem, not in any way a solution. I’d be willing to bet that God isn’t happy about that.
I unfollowed both men. Their brand of loveless faith is not welcome in my Twitter feed. I hope more people did the same.