So the billboard read,” Maybe just maybe Jesus is kinder than you think” is the exact wording. Emblazoned on the roof of a “contemporary church, I read it today and was astounded. I read an article today in this Relevant magazine, Christian equivalents of the f bomb that in the writers opinion (and mine) should be punished by soap in the mouth of the utterer!
http://www.relevantmagazine.com/life/what-not-say-when-your-friends-are-hurting. Well they are f bomb words, this saying is a stupid bomb (s bomb) as well as an f bomb. In the interests of disclosure I must say that at one stage some 20 years past I was a member of this church and even worked for them no axe to grind per se but that is another story.
I mused on what this billboard said and what it would achieve. Over the years I have shared my faith with many people, hundreds if not thousands and I never heard anyone say that they were not a Christian because they thought Jesus was not kind. I mean for the love of humanity what does it mean? I admit to dropping the f bomb myself at the gross stupidity of the billboard. Apart from the waste of money (perhaps they could have relieved someone’s need and showed them the love of Jesus). I have been accused of having an irreverent mind and I resemble that remark I agree. I mean Jesus kind mild and meek, why not a picture of him with a cute lamb in his arms, it made me want to vomit.
This is a church that is full of kind people I am sure but does the world need more kindness? What is kindness? The OED gives this definition The quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate:. So Jesus might be, just might be friendly generous and considerate. So if Jesus is this person then shouldn’t his followers be so? Perhaps the billboard should read come inside and meet some people that display the same kindness that Jesus would if he were here in the flesh as it were? Well a rhetorical question as we know that the church is like all institutions is imperfect. I guess I shouldn’t be too hard on them however actions speak louder than words. I know because I have experienced the “kindness” of this church in the past.
Now please don’t mistake this as a rant against organised religion, really just a comment on organised stupidity. Some well meaning marketing person dreamed up this trite saying without thinking if through and that is unfortunately oft to be found in the church. Sayings like you are never alone said to a bereaved person, Jesus is with you, He never asks more of you than you can cope with, he will give you the strength you need, I will pray for you, all statements I have heard parroted in the past, either to me or to people I know, before I put my halo on I must say it is wholly possible that I may have said similar in the dark distance past.
What do I want to say in all this apart from commenting on the apparent stupidity of the billboard. I guess I want to say that very stupid things can be said by very well meaning people. I have been learning the art of trying to engage my brain before I engage my mouth. It does get easier with age. It is a challenge at times not to respond instinctively, I want to be a force of positive change but there are days like today when I have had to deal with what has seemed to be an endless parade of idiots to do that.
It has been said that I have a ready wit and an acid tongue. I can admit to being a practiced cynic with an accomplished delivery of insults, comebacks, and generally sarcastic replys, most often directed at recalcitrant, rebellious, recidivist students, who persist in attempting to disrupt the learning of other students. I admit to that, however I am learning to say nothing at times when confronted with situations that have nothing helpful to be said about. So here is hoping that perhaps people who design billboards on churches may read this post, probably not because I am generally considered a heretical sinner, if not an apostate, if that means I retain my integrity well amen to that. So maybe just maybe I am nicer than what people think. I hope I am never described as nice. Too much for me to stomach, call ne considered and compassionate, non judgemental and passionate but dear God, never nice.
Be considered people,
Live laugh and love well,