Dear non - Christians,
I have a confession to make on behalf of Christianity and The Church.
We owe you an apology.
We don't have the corner market on salvation. We aren't the gatekeepers of heaven. It's not up to us who is in right standing with God and who isn't.
Don't get me wrong, we'd sure like it to be. And I think we want to believe that ourselves even more than we want you to believe it.
But the truth is...we don't have control over any of this.
In our attempt to control things beyond our power, we've actually lost control of ourselves.
We accidentally chose religion over love. We chose rules over relationship. We turned you from our neighbor, a person we share this world with, to our enemy, someone we have to defeat or overcome.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying other pathways lead to life and freedom. They don't. There is only one way for any of us to access freedom and life, to live without shame or guilt or fear. A lot of us aren't even sure that's possible. But some of us know it is. And the only way there is through Jesus.
Those of you who agreed with our rules and practices, we wanted to guarantee you admittance into our club. So we franchised prayer and created a toll booth on the road to freedom. If you "pray these words," you're in, you can pass. We so wanted to be able to offer this to you! The problem is...that's actually not up to us. We don't own the rights to that road, to that prayer.
Those of you who don't agree with our rules and practices, we wanted to keep you out. We wanted to punish you and make you pay for attacking our superstitions and exposing our insecurities. We know we're supposed to be better than you so this internal conflict has proven difficult to manage. Some of you are unruly and unpredictable. We don't trust things we don't have control over so we had to find a way to protect ourselves from your wildness.
But we actually have a bigger problem than you. Our biggest problem is Jesus. He's our Lord and Savior but He's also the biggest wild card in our whole operation.
The truth is...we don't have control over Jesus.
He's pesky and merciful. He's gracious and compassionate. He breaks the rules constantly, which, for the record, is confusing. So we've made up some weird stuff to explain away His unpredictability. But I can't keep doing this, we gotta come clean.
I'm sorry for making you feel like you were less than us. I'm sorry for making you feel like you didn't belong, like you weren't good enough, like you weren't enlightened enough or pure enough. The truth is, that's none of our business. In assuming the seat of the judge of you, we have condemned ourselves and distorted our perception of the truth.
I'd like to propose that we start over. Can we forget the centuries and generations of discord and condemnation? Can you forgive us for our arrogance and manipulation? Can you pardon us from being so wrong and so emphatic about it?
The truth is, we actually want to love you. Not the fake, religious love you've been sold, I mean that unconditional, altruistic love that comes from Jesus. He's the only one Who can love you like that and we'd like to humble ourselves and let Him show us what it's like to go that low for you.
I don't expect you to just forget right away. But, for what it's worth, we'd like to rebuild. We'd like to hold your hand in our walk toward the future, care for you and serve you even if it means losing our security and control.
The truth is, you're beautiful. We're so sorry for treating you otherwise and we'd like to make it up to you.
PS Thanks for rejecting the poison of religion, that was really cool of you.