A guest at the One Church lunch this past Sunday shared that she and her family attended worship at large mega church in our area when her family was visiting from out of town. (She and her family have a Catholic background and are committed Christians.)
She said that during his sermon, the pastor proudly shared why he was not Catholic. He told a story about how he removed a crucifix that had hung on his wall up until a certain time. He said that after becoming a Christian he jumped up out of bed, took the crucifix off of his wall, and hid it under his bed. He explained that he thought the crucifix was blasphemous because it depicts Jesus as still on the cross instead of being resurrected.
The committed Christian family with a Catholic background was horrified… and rightly so.
Not only did the pastor have a gross misunderstanding of Catholic theology, he also belittled the faith background of 25% of the people who live in Arizona. Proverbs 18v2 cautions, “Fools find no pleasure in understanding but delight in airing their own opinions.” (While One Church is a Protestant Church, it’s important for us to realize that the crucifix reminds Catholics of the sacrifice and suffering of Jesus. Of course, Catholics affirm the resurrection of Jesus.)
Another guest shared about how a pastor made fun of someone during his sermon who held a different belief than his. He mocked the fact that someone would believe that. If I remember correctly, it was a fairly common Christian belief.
I’ve heard countless stories like this from Christians over the past few years.
Jesus teaches in Mark 12v31, “‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” It’s a pretty simple application- If you don’t want to be mocked, don’t mock other people or ideas that are important to them.
Our group agreed that, of course, holding on to your own convictions is a good thing. What did not go over well were two things:
1. A pastor misunderstanding or unfairly representing a person or an idea
2. Belittling, mocking another person or belief
While we hold to our own beliefs, One Church seeks to understand people who disagree with us and create a safe place to question or doubt. We are committed to not mocking or belittling anyone or any idea. It sounds like a no brainer, but unfortunately it needs to be said.