When the 'good news' is 'not so good'
Updated: Sep 19
By Dr. Bascom Ratliff, Pastor
Parker/Beagle/Fontana United Methodist Churches
I recently talked with a good friend, Josh, who expressed a great deal of frustration with the state of our country and the state of our church. He told me he was seriously thinking about leaving the church because he simply could not deal with some members' mean and hateful attitudes toward people of color and people with different sexual orientations.
I told him there were Christian churches that fully embraced equality and diversity and welcomed people of color and women to the church and pulpit. However, I’m not sure that he wanted me to answer any questions.
I think he simply wanted me to listen to his built up anger and hostility toward a nation and church that he felt had abandoned the love and joy taught by Christ.
I admit that I share some of Josh’s frustration but not to the point that I’m ready to leave or abandon my faith. Yes, there are those who would deny women a place in church leadership. Yes, there are those who still harbor racist and bigoted attitudes. But I still have faith and hope in the church of Jesus Christ.
His message still inspires us. I believe he calls us to unity. And I think that all Christian churches that share a love of God are members of his flock. They may not look like me, worship like me, or follow the Christian faith as I do, but when they love God and accept Jesus Christ as their Savior, they are members of his church.
I believe the not so good part of the story is that when we exclude others from the fellowship of God, we are driving another nail in the cross upon which Jesus died for all sinners. I also think that Scripture is quite clear about our requirement to love others, regardless of their social status, gender, or race.
God doesn’t give us permission or license to pick and choose who we love or care for. The story of the good Samaritan makes that fairly clear. God fully expects us to treat others fairly and honorably. Matthew 25 helps to clarify this point. Jesus tells those listening that when they feed or clothe others, it is the same as our feeding and clothing him. We are to share the good news of Jesus Christ and we are to share our bounty with others.
I close my message with this thought. Christ calls us to unity. In Ephesians chapter 2 Paul tells us that Christ calls us to unity and reconciliation. We are called to share in the bounty of his love and spirit. Intolerance, exclusivity, and inequality have no place in the kingdom of God. The challenge for us is to set aside our bias and accept others into God’s house with compassion and generosity. In doing this the news becomes truly good news for every sinner, regardless of race, color, or gender.
Obedient and Authentic Service to Christ.
If you want to hear more about God’s wonderful promise of unfailing love and enjoy a great morning of music and worship, please come and worship with us.
We will worship at the Fontana United Methodist Church during September 2023.
We will worship at the Parker UMC during October 2023.
We will worship at the Beagle UMC during November 2023.
All services are at 10 a.m.
All are welcome to worship in God’s House.
Dr. Bascom Ratliff (913-710-5748)
United Methodist Churches