I live in Colorado Springs, home of God. There are more Christian ministries in this town than you can shake a Harry Potter book at. Apparently, this makes us some sort of Christian Mecca. I’m not buying it. The ugly truth is that we are a town divided by hate. It’s the granola-eating, pacifist, pro-homosexual tree-huggers versus the holier-than-thou, flag-waving, pro-life, bible-thumpers and we have been divided for a decade. We don’t have time to stand in the park and yell at each other, so we wage war with our bumper stickers. “FOCUS ON YOUR OWN DAMN FAMILY” is a popular bumper sticker that reveals more about our community than about any organization.
Being a Christian conservative, I am keenly aware of this battle. Today I saw a bumper sticker that made me spew my latte. It read, “DOING MY PART TO PISS OFF THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT.” While that would make some wish they had a shoulder mounted grenade launcher, it made me laugh out loud. Personally, I love controversy – not for the sake of confrontation, but because it makes people think. I wanted to kidnap the owner of the bumper sticker (with my grenade launcher) and buy them a beer. I would ask them how they feel about the religious; how they feel about the right. Then I would ask them how they feel about Christians. I would then do something so radical, it would completely freak them out. I would listen; no arguing, no defending, just listening. In fact, I might just be nodding my head in agreement. You see, I am one of the religious right and I don’t always like us. Our ranks are filled with arrogant know-it-alls who wear the label “Evangelical” like some kind of medal; people who think “right” refers not to their political stance but to their level of correctness. If you are not a member of the club, you probably know what I mean. As soon as they figure out your label, you get the distinct impression that you have dog doo on your shoes.
I am still laughing about the religious right sticker when it hits me. If Jesus had a car, he might have had that bumper sticker on it; right next to the one that said “WHAT WOULD I DO?” Hear me out on this. Whenever Jesus went on the attack, who did he launch on? It wasn’t the liberals; it was the religious right, the conservatives. It was the religious leaders who knew the scriptures like they were written on their underwear. The pious people who were convinced that they had the corner on being right. Instead of giving them a good old boy slap on the back, he got in their faces at every opportunity. Time and again Jesus said, “Have you not read?” He knew darn well they had not only read it, they had memorized it. When he repeatedly remarked, “You have heard it said this, but I say to you that”, he purposefully challenged their authority. When Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath, he was not ignorant of rabbinical law. He did it to force the issue.
I find it very interesting that he never seems to hang with the religious right. He ends up at parties with the wild crowd while the conservatives hover outside and talk about what he is doing wrong. He intentionally spent time with those whom the conservatives looked down on.
What does this say about us as evangelicals? Perhaps we don’t have the corner on being right (be still my heart). Possibly, we have been unwilling to see our weaknesses because of our own arrogance. Could it be that the bumper sticker, “THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT IS NEITHER” is more than just a word play? We need to be willing to honestly ask ourselves if we have been wrong. No, I take that back. The question should not be “Am I wrong?”, but “Where am I wrong?”
Now that I have voiced these heresies, I may get thrown out of the club. That may be OK. If you’re a pro-homosexual tree-hugging pacifist, let’s talk. I actually like granola.