Let them eat cake.
And their pizza.
And their pride.
And their words.
And their fake persecution.
And their showy religion.
Let them who claimeth faith, sucketh it up and liveth it out already. – Jesus, only slightly paraphrased.
Yes, but not just Them (whoever They are), but all of us who say we believe that God is.
May we who claim to revere a Higher Power, stop chasing the cheap applause and easy Retweets of the lowest common denominator.
May we elevate the focus of our gaze.
Let’s stop the posturing and the comparing of sins and the evaluating relative degrees of terrible in the other side, whatever we determine that to be.
Let’s quit the worshiping of pastors and pundits and politicians, and those caricature-drawing hucksters who pull everything to the opposite poles because that’s where the fear and the money and the noise are.
Let’s dispense with the tit-for-tat fundraisers and the one-upmanship horror stories.
These things win zero hearts.
We’ve been getting it wrong because we’ve been misled for a long time now.
This is not a culture war.
It’s not a holy war.
It isn’t some black-and-white tent pole blockbuster with clearly outfitted, starkly defined Good Guys and Bad Guys.
It isn’t an effort to see who can impress or tick-off God, or who can proffer or refute Scripture interpretations.
Christian, what this is, is the present pudding where it is truly proven; this faith we so loudly and easily and frequently claim.
This is Life, for God’s sake. You know, that fragile, fleeting, blink and it’s over thing?
This is our one opportunity to do this dance for a few precious decades if we’re lucky; and you, me, and so many of us are flat-out wasting daylight.
Professed Christians, just carelessly phoning it in on their way to the Pearly Gates, arguing over wedding cakes and pizza orders and fundraising campaigns and viral videos—and all missing this whole “love my neighbor” stuff that we’re supposedly about, in the process.
We are squandering precious hours trying to out-insult strangers on social media.
We’re throwing time right into the garbage by seeking to justify our own righteous anger, instead of finding the righteous way through that anger.
Religion is not the answer here.
We don’t need more religion or more religious language or more religious rights.
We just need more religious people who care to give other people real life; in their words and in their acts of kindness, and in a compassion that rises above the flash and din of false piety and sky is falling cries.
We need more people of faith willing to dig deeper and unearth something better and more beautiful in response to the badness and ugliness around them, those not content to simply give back more of the same bitterness and then blame it on God.
Christian, the most important business we’re supposed to be in is our Father’s.
If you care to look closely, you’ll see our job description.
We are to be the feeders of the multitudes, the touchers of lepers, the washers of feet.
We are supposed to be the ones who wait for and welcome back prodigals.
We are supposed to be the debt-forgivers and the mercy-givers and the cheek-turners.
We are supposed to be the ones who wonderfully dismantle those who hate us with a confounding, counterintuitive love.
We are supposed to be the blessed friggin’ peacemakers, for crying out loud.
Jesus never talked about Conservatives or Liberals, never played politics, never played the victim; and he never used ordinary, flawed, hurting people to make any point, other than to gently remind us that we are all equally ordinary, flawed hurting people.
Cake? Cake, schmake.
Don’t get it twisted: this ain’t about cake, friend.
This isn’t about where we stand on the moral issues of the day or the hardline stance we take with sin or about religious freedom either.
It’s about flesh and blood.
This is about how we treat people; that’s it, end of story.
It is about how we steward the individual human beings we are allowed to rub elbows with every day in this life, and whether or not our interactions with them give them a clearer or cloudier picture of who Jesus is.
That is our faith, if it is worth anything at all.
Whatever your politics or your preferences or your church membership status, if you dare assume to call yourself a Christian, well it better be really clear by your life who’s running the show, because the rest is just window dressing.
If my faith in Jesus is ever the source of direct damage to another person, I need to seriously examine whether or not it is really of him. And if the reality of that damage doesn’t tear me up, I need to seriously examine whether or not I am really of him.
So what will I do now, in the sad reality of a world of opposite sides to take and of warring partisan armies to sign up with?
I’ll throw a party.
I’ll make pizza for “the gays”, and for the pizza makers who refuse to. I’ll invite them all over and we’ll break bread and cheese and sauce, and find some scrap of redemption in the messy meal or die trying.
I will meet every individual person where they are, and do my best to treat them the way I believe Jesus would have me do so, whether they hug me around the neck or they stab me in the back.
That is the only prayer I, or any of us have of earning the right to be called Christian.
His table is that open.
His ways are that much higher than my ways.
Blessed are the pizza makers…