Midway Hills Christian Church invites you to consider how religious intolerance harms human beings and how together we seek to find ways to promote and practice a compassionate Christian stance. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the architect of the Civil Rights movement, admonished, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” What matters to us is the central message for which Jesus Christ lived and died. God’s love, acceptance and saving grace are available to everyone, and we are called to love one another unconditionally. We believe that message is best embodied by seeking justice for the poor, the oppressed, the outcast, the abused, and the disenfranchised.
Christ’s message is frustrated if religion is used to mask bias, intolerance, hatred and self-promotion or to mistreat and oppress those who look or think differently. Selective interpretation can transform religion into a weapon piercing the hearts and minds of vulnerable souls. Women are treated as second-class citizens unworthy of holding positions of authority. Those with physical and mental illnesses are stigmatized as incurring God’s judgment. Protecting God’s earth is dismissed as a liberal cause, not meriting serious attention. Immigrants are cast as enemies of the state. Persons, traditions and scriptures of other religious communities are treated with contempt and ridicule. Members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community are condemned. The tragic consequences of religious intolerance include bullying, violence and suicide. While we believe that the Bible is inspired by God on the whole, progressive Christians worship God, not a book which may contain inaccuracies or contradictions. For these reasons, we promote a different practice of Christianity.
We believe Christ will ultimately proclaim to the righteous, “I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me. . . .Truly I say to you, as much as you did this for one of the least of my brothers and sisters, you did it for me.” As we reflect upon our lives, do we cherish our acts of kindness and regret our sins of omission?
We are imperfect people who do not claim to live sinless lives or have all the answers. We seek simply to share with the spiritually homeless of this world a face of Christianity that we believe more closely resembles the face of Jesus.
God’s love is available to all, regardless of gender, race, class, creed, sexual orientation or any other defining characteristic. As progressive Christians, we stand, as Jesus does, with the outcast and oppressed . . . seeking peace and justice with or without the support of others.
As we celebrate God’s blessings, we acknowledge the responsibilities that accompany those blessings. Please consider our perspective and ponder how Jesus would have us respond. Whom would Jesus exclude? Whom would Jesus condemn to a second-class existence? Whom would Jesus allow to go hungry? God help us in our journey to the day that no one doubts the answers to these questions.