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By people of compassion
- The Church is Chasing People Away -
Response by Frank L. Hoffman
31 May 2001
When Roger mentioned that he questioned whether certain people were Christians, I presumed he was referring to those who were truly "born again", as opposed to those who were born into a Christian family. Evelyn and Jessica made the point that the "animal issue" is not the only "test" of whether or not a person is Christian. But then Jessica went on to give examples of how Christians become sensitive to the sufferings of the whole of creation. It is here that I believe we enter the understanding of one of the major problems in the church and why Pat wrote her "Feelings of Aloneness" e-mail that began this discussion.
When we are "born again", or whatever term you may wish to apply, we are filled with the Holy Spirit and certain life changing things begin to happen with us. In essence we become the children of God. One of these inner changes is becoming more sensitive to the pain and suffering in this world. Paul reminds us in Romans 8:18 and following, that the whole of creation is groaning in anticipation of the revealing of the sons [and daughters] of God. If this revealing, if this sensitivity is not present, is there something lacking in the Christian? I personally believe there is. This is not being judgmental, it is being observant and discerning.
We have to be pretty much spiritually dead to not recognize that animals feel pain and suffer just as we do. Thus, I believe the problem within the church is rather one of denial. We turn our backs on something we don't want to face, on something that gives us pain, or on something that might make us change our lifestyle when we're not quite ready to do so. And then in this state of denial, we fight against the sensitive people, like Pat, who remind us of these things.
As has been said, denial [d'nile) is a river in Egypt. It is to be left behind as Moses did when he led the Israelites in their exodus. There should be no place for denial in the heart and soul of Christians, either. We are to leave it behind us in our former life. We are to strive to make this a better world, a world with less pain and suffering, a world of peace and love, and an earth that reflects the heavenly will of God. To me, this is what Christians should be doing, and if we all were, the Pats of this world would no longer feel so alone.
In the Love of the Lord,
Return to Feelings of Aloneness
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