The recent debacle with John MacArthur has yet again, stirred the waters of polarizing the “Christian” camps; with one side determined he is speaking on behalf of God while the other is determined he is speaking on behalf of himself.
I have watched many leaders I respect, jump in the ring with brilliant statements regarding his mockery of Beth Moore (one of my beloved favorites). I read their words and nod in holy agreement like a sister in a southern church on Sunday morning.
I planned to write my own commentary on the incident, but each time I tried to write the words, I just felt exhausted. Usually I would revel at the opportunity to fire back at such behavior, but this time feels different.
After sitting with it for a moment, I think I know why.
I am tired.
I am tired of the screaming, yelling and arguing over a subject beaten to death throughout history. The drumming debate of women in leadership, women being believed, women having a voice and women viewed as equals has long moaned and lamented throughout the centuries.
My spirit is tired.
It isn’t that I am bowing out and accepting defeat, but rather that I no longer see the need to fight. Because, history has proven how this story will end.
The tides are changing – rapidly – and depending on what side you are on, you either believe it is the work of God or the work of Satan. I am one who believes this shift is at the hand of God. This shift in the world is loud, daring and powerful. It’s leaving many scrambling in the wake of it’s movement; those in power afraid of losing their power and those oppressed excited by the pending pulse of a revolution.
Because, history has proven: the oppressed always win.
Just like with Hagar.
Just like the Israelites.
Just like the slaves.
Just like African Americans.
Just like it is now for women.
Just like it is now for our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
Yes, the tides are quickly changing. And like we have seen throughout history, the religious ones in power are standing violently in opposition.
Like Abraham’s camp was against Hagar.
Like the Pharisees were against Jesus.
Like many Christian leaders fought for and defended slavery.
Like many Christian leaders, churches, colleges and organizations defended segregation.
Like John MacArthur (and his peers) are attacking women in ministry.
Like many Christian leaders and churches are opposing our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.
My friends, there is nothing new under the sun.
These wars have been fought before. Different scenarios, different groups involved, but the same plot with the same characters. Each time, those in opposition of the oppressed, clinging to their Bibles defending their God-ordained right to put the oppressed in chains.
Because the Bible says so.
Because those in power interpret the Bible to hold their position and beliefs.
Because this is how the story has always gone.
For years, I have maintained this blog with the emphasis on what following Jesus looks like, rather than following religious majorities, institutions or organizations. Because I believe this path is the lesser followed one. Jesus’ path rarely lines up with the religious majority.
News flash: Jesus always stood with the oppressed. Always.
- Just like how God met Hagar in the desert.
- Just like how God raised up Jesus in spite of the Pharisees.
- Just like how God brought freedom to the slaves.
- Just like how God raised up brave men and women to fight segregation.
- Just like how God entrusted women (not men) with the resurrection story of Jesus.
- Just like how God is raising up his LGBTQ children to show that God’s children are diverse – and that diversity and all forms of love are good and holy.
In all of these examples, we can find “scripture” to defend the alternate point of view. Yet, in all of these examples, we can find “scripture” to defend God’s protection of the oppressed, the outsider, the non-religious (usually scriptures where Jesus was involved).
But for me, I have always looked to the fruit. The fruit of oppressing all of these groups historically has proven to be BAD. Hands down, stinky, rotten, awful.
I look for where the fruit is good. Where there is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness and self-control.
It’s a no brainer for me.
- Hagar in the desert meant death: bad fruit.
- Jesus being squashed meant leaving thousands without the healing and miracles of his ministry: bad fruit.
- Men, women and children being bought and sold into slavery: horrendous, demonic fruit.
- African Americans being stuck in a system of segregation meant lynching, unequal opportunities, death: awful fruit.
- Women being quieted has meant burying the gifts God placed in them: depressed, abusive, bad fruit.
- Trying to change the orientation, and remove rights of LGBTQ’s has meant suicide, division of families, depression and alienation: horrible fruit.
I am no longer interested in these debates, because I find them fruitless. And as a peer recently said, it’s like debating flat earth – it’s a dead end. So, rather than scream at the masses how much God has ALWAYS been in the margins, I am breathing easy today. Knowing, trusting and believing that another holy shift is happening. And when a movement of God is on the horizon, no man can stop it. Not even a white Christian male leader, holding a microphone mocking an angel like Beth Moore.
No, no, not this time.
Today, I find peace. I set down my megaphone. And I smile. I breathe deep. Knowing we’ve seen all of this before. No matter how much religion and those in power try to oppose the changing tide, we know how this story ends.
The oppressed always rise.
PS: for more conversation about how our lens of culture effects us and those around us, listen in on one of my recent podcast episodes.