I have been thinking quite a bit the last week about why we Christians are being progressively labeled “judgmental.” It is a word that seems to erupt out of the very fabric of society, smothering the voice of Christians in the public square, and offering a sanctuary for those who openly oppose, do not understand, or simply do not care to comprehend Christianity.
This is not a political blog, nor do I like mixing politics and the Christian faith. Too many Christian blogs and Web sites inextricably link the two and I wish to avoid that. Still, since politics is so critical a means of expression for many of those who do not side with Christian thought, it is a necessity to speak about this issue with some level of politics involved.
We live in an age when people are defined by what they are for or against. Nihilistic postmodernism has created an odd human, though, who seems to be more “against” than “for.” This last year drove that point home. Many politically-charged people argued vehemently against some person or issue, but when pressed were unable to articulate what they were actually for, or how to make the reverse of the thing they were against a reality. When the political season had run its course, we saw in those same people a new psychosis labeled “Post-election Stress & Trauma Syndrome” or (amusingly—no matter which side you are on) “PESTS.” This syndrome manifested in those who were largely against many things, but once they had wound up on the losing side of politics were unable to cope with the fact that their “against-ness,” once broken, left them nothing to be for. Their subsequent bout with PESTS being the natural outcome of having no positive ideas apart from their negative ones, they lived solely out of their anger toward what they are against.
When Christians spoke into the public square this year, the “judgmental” label was tossed around with abandon. I cannot ever remember hearing the word “judgmental” attached to Christians more than I did this year. Being a presidential election year surely made some of that true, but I think another force is at work here. It is the force of postmodern nihilism, the very heart of PESTS, and the core of what is left in people who dwell solely on the negative.
2004 will be remembered as the year in which postmodernism reached full flower. With its blooming comes a time when what we are for and against can no longer be assigned values (at least in the minds of proponents of postmodernism.) Relativism, so inherent in postmodern thought, has resulted in this resurgence of nihilism. That bleak outlook on life informed much of the discussion in politics this year. What the new Nietzsches accomplished in 2004’s discourse was to successfully stigmatize anyone who was actually for something, rather than being merely against something.
As a people who are defined by what (and who, especially) we are for, Christians drew the most attacks. Unable to understand that a worldview exists that does not merely state what it is against, postmodern voices in the public square operating solely out of a negative worldview successfully used the “judgmental” tag to label all opponents to their cause, opponents who actually stood for an issue. Nine times out of ten the ones labeled were Christians.
We should recognize this twisting. It is the same force that brands love “hate” and calls truth a “lie.” While this affords us Christians the proof we need that the world is hellbent on our destruction, we should not wear this with pride, but humility. We should not counter this opposition with noses in the air, but should instead become more humble in our recognition that the light of Christ only shows the darkness to be what it is. And we know how Mankind loves darkness.
In 2005 I believe we will see this labeling by those on the other side of Christ intensify. While we recognize the spiritual battle, our response should always be one of Christ the Servant. Our enemies are conquered by the burning coals they heap on themselves when we serve them out of true love. Our reminder for this year is to seek first the way of love while holding true to what is good, noble, and pure. No concession is needed to be what Christ has called us to be, but neither should we forget that the servant heart is what overcomes the world. For this coming year let us remember to always seek the way of servant love so that our enemies have nothing they can hold against us. We may never depart the judgmental label, but our enemies will look all the more foolish for using it.
Blessings for 2005.
6 thoughts on ““Judgmental Christians” and The Way of Christ for 2005”
I have to take the other view. Non-Christians didn’t just think this word “judgemental” up. They came up with it because instead of preaching a clear gospel, we are known now for being “against” something. We ourselves have caused this confusion by blaming abortionists and homosexuals (I always marvel at how Christians somehow never blame drug dealers for anything..hmmm) for the country sliding instead of laying the responsibility where it should be—at the door of the church for not preaching the gospel clearly without the political baggage.
I am saying let’s hit a happy middle. Yes, we need to have good laws and elect good people but to put a majority of our finacnial resources and time into that thinking laws will change people and countries is naive and fruitless. In my reading of modern European history (since the Reformation basically) I find that countries slide because the church gets off, not because there are sinners residing in those countries.
Thanks for allowing me to have my rant…..:) Actually I am on my high horse on this because coincidentally I was thinking about this very thing before I even read your blog. I guess great minds run in the same stream…LOL.
There’s no arguing against your point—you are correct. We did drop the ball more than a hundred years ago, letting in by our negligence this very postmodern nihilism that is coming to fruition today.
That said, my prescription still stands. We need to resurrect a servant attitude to the very folks who rail against us. It may be true that we did not guard the moral gate, but we have let down true service even more than we let down our guarding of morality. One of the reasons the church grew so fast was that outsiders saw how well Christians served each other and their communities.We need to get back to that (without sacrificing our assertions of truth.)
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we need to resurect the servant attitude.
I believe that most non Christians look at us from an eye that filtered by tv. Think about how the Christian world looks to the non Christian channel surfer. That view is often times materialistic, shallow and judgemental(ouch). Unfortunatly there is entirely too much political rhetoric coming from the electronic pulpit. What most people see, including Christians, are allot of major players in televangelism scene that are preaching opinion instead of the word of God. It is no wonder why most people call us judgemental.
I think that too many times we try to play Holy Spirit instead of serving and loving those on the fringes into the Kingdom.
I am sorry if I have just barged in on this blog. I sometimes forget my manners.
Peace and God Bless,
Happy New Year
Yes, a servant attitude is also what I am saying…it seems that we are on the same page afterall…..:)
Thanks for looking at my blog and posting a comment. I in return have taken a look at what you have posted on this same subject. Thanks for the link in your email.
Yes, these are interesting times. I have been a pastor on University campuses now for 28 years and it is actually comparatively quiet now and the discussion is open again to other points of view. The PC view is in retreat. Here we are now given the chance to speak another view and we must be ready with a learned, thoughtful, response. And we must be willing to speak it. These changes always come later in the general society.