Hang out with a group of pastors long enough and you never have to come up with an original blog idea ever again. They come swinging full force like a Mike Tyson haymaker (before that whole Evander Holyfield ear biting thing).
My favorite group of Methodist, Lutheran, Charismatic, and “Don’t Label Me” pastors spent 90 minutes yesterday discussing an uncomfortable question. And the honesty flowed like pounds from a Biggest Loser contestant.
Who are you prejudiced against?
Seriously? Just the sound of that word stirs a pot of politically incorrect emotions in me. I’m not prejudiced! I’m a “man of God.” Prejudice is for sinners (and people who end up on Jerry Springer).
But a sinner I am. And prejudice I do have. (And like Yoda I apparently do speak).
CONFESSION: I despise hyper-charismatic Christianity.
And while the church I grew up in wasn’t really near that fringe, I was exposed to enough of it to become deeply disturbed. I saw the Holy Spirit weilded as a manipulation tool. I saw poor leadership justified by “God told me” proclamations. I saw zealous worship expressions in corporate church services that were rarely backed up by living that worship in the real world every day.
And it made me angry. Justifiably angry.
But somewhere amidst my righteous indignation, I think I crossed a line that said “God’s grace doesn’t extend to them.” I stopped weeping over our shared, broken, human condition, and began to elevate myself to another category. A better category. In condemning an issue I stopped loving the people. I developed a prejudice.
Prejudice can be sneaky. It starts as a justified concern (we should call out abuse), but quickly morphs into self-righteous discrimination where we refuse to believe (or at least really don’t want to) that the blood of Christ is capable of reaching a group of people unless they become like us.
Do you have any prejudice? Think beyond just the typical definitions.
Levels of education?
Suburban dwellers? Urban elite?
I’ve found I’m often prejudiced towards things I’m ashamed to have been associated with in the past (i.e. “charismania“ for me). Is it time to repent? To ask God for forgiveness? What if we even spent some time this week praying for God’s love to reach everyone, even those groups we’d prefer He not.
Do you agree? Be honest. Do you struggle with any prejudice?