Bing, Burl and Those Judgmental Christians

(I wrote this originally for a radio industry site. Sherri said I should post it here, since non-radio peoople might want to read it. Maybe you will. Not sure. But here you go…)

It’s Christmastime, which means joy, cheer, wreaths, kittens implausibly stuffed into stockings, peppermint lattes and – of course – reading complaints about the fact that we just played Bing Crosby on the Christian radio station.

This is tradition, and it’s part of a larger one: When we do stuff controversial – like, say, play any song whatsoever – someone, somewhere, will offer a reason why it’s wrong.

And that, in turn, is in the service of an even more time-honored tradition; one that knows no boundaries of time and space:

That tradition is people being jerks.

It’s a longstanding tradition indeed. So while we want to complain about them, perhaps it is us who should grow up and quit griping. I’m quite serious about this.

Yes, Christians, or people claiming to be Christians, can be legalists and Pharisees. After the Lauren Daigle/homosexuality quote hit social media, I saw quite a reaction from radio people about the judgmentalism from some of their listeners.

I agree that we should give Lauren a break. But we should also give legalists on social media a break, too. This is nothing new. Paul wrote extensively about “weaker brothers” in scripture. We’re not supposed to publicly despise them. We’re not supposed to bait them or deliberately trip them up, either. We’re supposed to speak to them in love, period.

Yes, we enjoy saying, “Can you believe these people – ?” but “weaker” means weaker. And “brother” means family.

“But Jesus publicly blasted Pharisees!” Oh yes. He is the Great Physician, and they wouldn’t see that they are sick. You and I are sick, too. We’re not the doctor, we’re fellow patients. Yes, Jesus turned over the temple tables, but like my friend Sherri says, “Honey, you don’t get a whip. You’re the moneychanger.”

It’s not a good idea to take to social media to show how much more enlightened we are than they are. I know it’s tempting. Someone complains about Starbucks red cup (one guy?) and it launches a million posts about judgmental Christians from… other Christians.

Perhaps instead of impressing the world with how we, too, think Christians are idiots, perhaps we could impress them with our patience with the simple and the immature.

Yes, immature Christians are judgmental. You know who else is? Everybody.

While Lauren Daigle continues to be played (so far as I know) on every major Christian station, you’ll notice that Kevin Hart will absolutely not be hosting the Oscars for something he said a decade ago. Also this past weekend: The young man who had just won the Heisman Trophy was immediately publicly humiliated for tweets he wrote… when he was 15. Puritanism is not solely the province of those Christians who embarrass you.

We don’t have the market cornered on self-righteousness.

It afflicts us all. And it’s deadly. This shouldn’t be a revelation every time someone emails about Burl Ives.

These are the people we’re serving, and if that bothers us so very much, well, let’s be very, very thankful that God’s mercy is wider than ours.




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Lorina is a girl from Malawi with a limb deformity. Read her story.

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