Now, clubs and cliques, they choose and pick
And they make their interviews
Screen the undesirables
And turn down clowns and fools
But Jesus died for sinners
Losers and winners
Yes, it’s proven by His love for me and you
Back in 1976 a Christian rock group called Daniel Amos from Calvary Chapel released a little song called Losers and Winners http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J520qyIUHME which when you come to think of it is one of the most amazingly theologically correct songs ever written. Back then I had the album that it came on both on LP and 8 Track. Thankfully I was able to get a CD of it a few years ago.
The song has come back to me in a big way during the past few weeks as I have watched Christian leaders, especially those of the more conservative Evangelical, Charismatic, Pentecostal and Roman Catholic churches go into political overdrive in support of the rich, the powerful and the privileged and support a worldview more based in the crass materialism and atheism of Ayn Rand than the words of Jesus.
Of course back then the song went pretty much unnoticed outside of the few that really liked the less than conventional message of this group, which coincidently is still around.
The song really is amazing because the song is more true to the Gospel so much of what is called “Christian” now, especially some of the “praise” songs that preach the militant and often hateful theology of Dominionism.
I spend many years in churches and unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for me I have never really been in the “in crowd.” Now that I am older I really don’t want to be in the “in crowd” if it means being less than Christian in the way that I get there.
For me church is not a place to enhance my social status, nor is it a place simply to network or a place that I can use to enhance my political or social agendas. It is simple a place where believers gather to worship as well as share the Body and Blood of Christ. It is a place of refuge for all people, but especially for the wounded, the outcast and the broken. Likewise it is a place that even unbelievers can come and be welcomed without prejudice. Didn’t Jesus say “come to me you who are weary and bear heavy burdens and I will give you rest?”
To me the church is not about being the political platform of any party or political leader, but being the redemptive voice of Jesus the Christ to a broken world.
Unfortunately now the church is viewed more for what it is against and who it rejects rather than the one who calls the broken, who will not break a bruised reed or extinguish a flickering flame.
Do you give the highest place
To someone ’cause you like his face
And turn aside those you deem less than yourself?
Well, love that is natural
Can be less than satisfactual
For we all are one, no less than anyone else
As a result people are fleeing the church or if they were not a part of the church simply turning their back on it. The “Nones” or those with no religious preference are the fastest growing segment of American faith and religion.
The message that the church is actually teaching is a diametric opposite of the early church. It is obsessed with its own power, privileges and pre-eminence. It is as if our message is something like this: We welcome you to church…If you look like us, if you hold similar political views, if you have money, if you are attractive, if your presence will benefit us… Our doors are open to you if you fit the criteria that we decide and unless you are like us, agree with us or are not of a group of people that we have determined cannot enter heaven you are welcome.
Another verse of Losers and Winners says:
Do you hail the gifted ones
And the others do you shun?
Do you speak to only those you chose?
Well, God’s love, it has no bounds
Has no ups, and it has no downs
Goes out to those who win and to those who lose
That is not just me talking but it is what polls published by the Evangelical Christian Barna Group attest. The terms used to describe Christianity are: Hypocritical, anti-homosexual, insincere, sheltered and too political. Another Barna study dealing with why young people are leaving the church included that nearly 25% of young people said “Christians demonize everything outside of the church” while 20% said that “God seems missing from my experience of church” while 22% said that “church is like a country club, only for insiders” and 36% said that they were unable “to ask my most pressing life questions in church.” That survey was of young people of Christian backgrounds.
The fact is that our obnoxious, arrogant, materialistic political and theologically insipid version of Christianity is causing great harm both inside and outside the church. It is not redemptive it is selfish and power hungry. It is not open, it is closed. We are losing our young people and those outside the church don’t want any part of us. Can you blame them? I don’t.
The funny thing is the long haired, Jesus people musicians of Daniel Amos figured this out close to 40 years ago. But then maybe they read and took seriously the message of Jesus. Maybe we should as well.