The cartoon character I perhaps most easily identify with is the marriage counselor for Leroy and Loretta Lockhorn. Some of you recognize the Lockhorns from “The Better Half” comic strip. Their long-running marital squabbles have taken them all over the map and then back again for an office visit with D. Pullman, the marital counselor.
One of my favorite scenes, causing me to most easily identify with Pullman, is when he suggests Leroy and Lorreta are both to blame for their marital problems. To which Leroy retorts, “We’re both at fault?????? Well, I should’ve known you’d side with Lorreta!”
Which raises a whole new argument in my own mind about whether, when fault lies on both sides, both sides are really equally to blame. I say no. I say that states a false equivalency.
I’m no Dr. Phil, but I’d be wealthy enough myself if having a dollar for every time I’ve had to tell some couple, “however much either one of you is to blame, you’re making things even worse whenever you work on her faults and she works on yours. If you’re going to solve this thing, you’re both going to have to commit to working on your own faults and nobody else’s.”
I bring this up today because, in the sick and highly dysfunctional family that is today’s United States of America, I’ve about had it with listening to everybody blaming each other. Are we both to blame? Of course! Are we equally at fault? Hell, no! But however much either is wrong, fixing each other’s wrongs is a total waste of everyone’s therapy hour. Why not just go out and spit into the wind as a way of taking a bath? Makes the same amount of sense.
At some point in life, we simply have to say STOP! Either we’re going to work on solving our own problems or else we’re going to waste our entire lives spitting on ourselves.
After 50 years (from 5/27/67, thank you) of having to work on my own problems in my own marriage to Sue, I’m going to boldly offer an assessment on what’s wrong with America in general and the Christian Church in particular. Folks can agree or disagree. I’m retired so not getting paid anyway. No problem if the whole world disagrees with me at this point.
Both liberals and conservatives are to blame for the mess today’s USA and today’s Christian Church finds ourselves in. I didn’t say equally to blame. Nowhere close to equal in my opinion as a moderate. But both have contributed to problems they can only solve for themselves and not for each other.
Because I blog as a pastor, I typically use Christian metaphors. One that is easily familiar are the disciples of Jesus named Peter and Judas. Peter denied Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus.
Following me so far?
Listening as a pastor to Christians squabbling about whether all sins are equally bad is almost as annoying after awhile as listening to married couples squabbling about whether all marital misdeeds are equally bad. Suggest to me that denying Jesus is just as bad as betraying Jesus when it came to getting Jesus beaten up and crucified, and I’ll suggest “NO WAY!!!” right back to you. Both are bad, but not equally bad. Not even close!!!! Not even in the same time zone close?
In my humble opinion, today’s Christian liberals are to blame for denying Jesus even now. They’re often the last to defend Jesus from today’s worldly attacks against Christianity in general. The world today needs to hear a defense on Christ’s behalf asserting that Christ is no Christian. But today’s liberals are denying Jesus. Repeatedly so. They’re also denying his divinity or his singular authority to speak for God. And that’s making things at home in this world even worse!!
Today’s Christian conservatives are to blame for betraying Jesus even today. And, yes, I suspect money is again involved. Some of our more prominent evangelicals today are trading pieces of silver with our world of corporate capitalism even when it means killing Jesus all over again. They are betraying everything Jesus ever stood for. They are close to being for everything Jesus was against. And that’s making things at home in this world even worse!!
However, let’s be realistic about something. Judas who betrayed Jesus was the far greater sinner. He got Jesus killed before turning the whole mess into a lousy murder-suicide. It didn’t have to be that way then, and it doesn’t have to be that way today. Conservatives can say “we’re wrong and we repent and we’re going to fix ourselves by from now on agreeing with the teachings of Jesus instead of arguing against them or trying to put our own words into his own mouth.” They might start with admitting that Jesus was against heterosexual lust, not homosexual marriage. Do that, confess their own sin of betrayal, and they stand a great chance of making our world more like the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus still intends for it to be.
Peter was a mess in his own right. But he got over it. He didn’t go out and hang himself. Rather, he confessed his sin and went to work feeding Christ’s lambs for the next 30 years until executed by the Romans for still proclaiming the Gospel. He fixed his own problem. And if today’s liberals will do the same, they stand a great chance of making our world more like the Kingdom of Heaven Jesus still intends for it to be.
Will today’s church end up in divorce court, liberals vs. conservatives? Perhaps. That’s not up to me. My role is just to call out both sides for the ways in which they are both making this earthly home a worse place in which to live. Unhappy. Tense. Insecure. Bitter.
My role is that of D. Pullman, the comic-book character who feels little choice but to tell the Lockhorns why their marriage is so messed up. And why he’s really on both sides.