Grace – The Great Obstacle

Isn’t it ironic that the message of Grace, which is the heart of the Gospel and really Good News, is the part of the Christian message that most Christians reject? It seems so very counter-intuitive to me, but the great majority of people who claim to believe in God as experienced through Jesus Christ seem constitutionally unwilling and/or unable to believe that God could possibly be loving and accepting and prefer instead to worship the angry, judgmental, vengeful God found in the Old Testament. That is a fictional view of God. It seems the more that your tradition insists on a literal view of scripture, the more likely you are to be stuck with the viewpoint of the Old Testament Pharisees.

In fact in a strange sort of way it may be that Grace, which is decidedly good news, is also the biggest obstacle for people to overcome in their journey to the Good News. What that means for those of us who are trying to share the Good News of God’s love for all people is that we must be supremely patient with people and tirelessly spread the Grace message. Even those who seem to understand the Grace message regarding themselves very often have a blind spot regarding some other group that they wish to keep in bondage.

This hit home for me in a new way today as I watched a Jay Bakker video on Youtube in which he preached a message at “Grace Church” about gay marriage. The crowd was largely African American, and I noticed D. E. Paulk sitting in the front row. The crowd was with Jay until he spoke supportively about gay marriage. You can watch the clip below:

The clip is absolutely heartbreaking, and shows just how much work we need to do. Jay expresses my sentiments through his tears when he states how painful it is to see people who have been oppressed turn around and oppress others, blind to the fact that it is wrong for anyone to be marginalized or oppressed.

We must not tire of spreading the message of God’s love for all people. It is the heart of the Christ Enlight message, and I have now seen that just because someone accepts it for themselves doesn’t guarantee that they get the “big picture.” It is understanding that God’s love applies to all people that moves us to a place to really understand the Gospel. As long as we are willing to believe that anybody is unacceptable to God, we remain in the bondage of judgmentalism and oppression.

It’s long past time for all God’s children to be free.

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