Sunday, March 16, 2014

Philosophizing with Fred Phelps.

One of the biggest problems I have with my faith, is the knowledge that this man too is eligible for least in my limited bothers me knowing that racists, and homophobes, and supremacists, and maybe even people who have instigated, violence against people I care about may find themselves in the grace of god... (whatever that means to each individual)

This guy, I really don't like this guy, as a Christian, when I look at him I feel a anger about how he represents my faith,  how he distorted that faiths teachings and potentially helped to lead  hundreds of thousands away from Christ because... lets face it, if I weren't a Christian, and he was what I saw as Christian"eske"..why would I want to be a part of that? I feel anger because of the harm he has placed my friends and loved ones with his cherry picked bastardized version of Christianity and God's Holy word.

It's a very introspective place I find myself in on what could be the eve of this mans death, part of me wants to celebrate as he leaves this earth because he will no longer be here to cause harm. Another part of me feels bad about feeling joy in the death of another, even one so vile as Phelps.

I have much internal conflict going on because I find it disheartening at the level of satisfaction that I am feeling, I can only describe it as schadenfreude on steroids. That almost pleasurable experience one gets whenever someone who has caused immense harm to people we love dies. It's a weird place to be in....I am trying to find the proper stance between relief, joy, smug satisfaction, revenge, and anger. All while trying to desperately remember that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

 Dr. Dre had a great line.. "I ain't thug, how much Tupac in you, you got?" So I ask my fellow Christians, during these final days of Fred Phelps. How much Phelps in you, you got? I wonder how many good people have intellectualized themselves away from Phelps actions, but yet share his same beliefs. How many people have we driven away from a faith and a God we claim to love because of our actions, thoughts and deeds. If God is love and our duty as Christians is to show, share and reflect God's love to the world in an effort to bring more people to HIM. Then I fear there are a lot of Fred Phelps out there masquerading  as compassionate Christians.

 Maybe that's something we as Christians can take from this moment, an internal systems check. While we sit back and convince ourselves that we are better than Phelps because we didn't hold signs, or picket funerals, or scream GOD HATES FAGS, were we really? Even if we don't do those things have we been silent accomplices, have we provided an atmosphere where vile types of laws could be passed, are we silently complicit in the imprisonment of homosexuals in Uganda, are we silently gleeful when states pass laws that amount to an LGBTQ version of Jim Crow? Are we really better than Fred Phelps? We (Christians) love to point to as him as the "bad guy" because if nothing else his brand of hate and almost comical bigotry makes our own intolerance look so cuddly and acceptable.

 Fred Phelps makes a most convenient villain, because if nothing else it's so easy to see his hate and it make ours look so much more palatable. What is it the Good Book says about eyes, specks and beams? Maybe this is part of where my conflict comes in, a conflict with the church and the knowledge how its adherents have treated those outside it's walls.