Challenging Church Compassion – 15: Chasing Away “S”
Today we received the following letter from “S”, which clearly shows how the insensitivity of church leaders is chasing away people who care about animals and don’t eat them. “S” wrote:
“I have been reading the series of articles on your website about compassionate people being chased away from church. This is my own story of being “chased off.”
My family has been attending a church in our rural area for nearly a year. It’s a mainline protestant church, denomination probably not important. It’s an aging, small church, similar to many others in our area.
Before committing to this church, we visited over a dozen churches. I used to enjoy church, although I knew that people who advocate for animals are often not welcome in church. So, last Sunday, after attending this church for nearly a year the pastor’s wife felt the need to tell me that volunteering at animal shelters is not a good volunteer activity because “Jesus didn’t go around collecting strays.”
I will admit to being a bit hurt by this comment. We were sitting at a table after church enjoying some coffee and snacks. Her comments were obviously directed at me since we were the only two adults at that table. I did not confront her or try to determine why she thinks the way she thinks about animals – and the people who care for them – I just changed the subject. The conversation ended just a few minutes later.
I will probably go back to church; my family enjoys the service and most of the churches in our area probably harbor the same views toward animals. I do not want to let this experience, on top of many other negative experiences with “Christians” chase me off, but I will not have much involvement with the fellowship opportunities, I won’t trust the pastor or his wife and I will continue doing what many compassionate people in church do: sit in the pew, physically present but emotionally disconnected.
I don’t want to end this email on a sour note. I have found the truly Christian support I need from the VC list and some other websites. I wish I could find a supportive local church but I don’t think one exists here, having visited so many and having looked over so many church websites.”
The hardness of heart of the pastor’s wife blinded her to the true teachings of the Bible, which Jesus supported. Note what we are told in Deuteronomy 22:1-3.
1. If you see your brother’s ox or sheep straying, do not ignore it but be sure to take it back to him.
2. If the brother does not live near you or if you do not know who he is, take it home with you and keep it until he comes looking for it. Then give it back to him.
3. Do the same if you find your brother’s donkey or his cloak or anything he loses. Do not ignore it.
So, Jesus would “collect strays”, just as we do with those who wander away from the church because of the hardness of heart they encounter. The church needs to wake up.