Christians: Open your ears to the wailing wall

I sometimes wonder where all the Christians have gone in this country. … They seem to have all but disappeared until some election roles around the corner and then they creep out from behind the rocks and ledges of their counter-counter barracks.

I am not talking about all Christians, mind you. Some are not hiding at all. Some are out there in plain sight, building homes for the less fortunate, gathering clothes for charities, running children's homes and the like. What I am saying is not directed to them at all. I am addressing those of us who are in hiding.

I call it hiding because with all this talk of a "culture war" going on in the media, Christians seem to be retreating into their little privatized communities. Why are we so scared? I think, as a Christian, that we are afraid of being held accountable for all of the injustice done in the name of our God — a savior who championed the poor, reached out to the marginalized, and broke the ranks of social stratification and treated people like, well, people.

We have been too busy trying to elect officials to pass legislation against things like abortion and gay marriage without even taking the time to get to know and be a community to such people. …

We need to be a group of people less interested in politics, and more interested in getting to know our neighbors and how we can love them the way Christ says that we ought to. We need to have conversations with the sole purpose of getting to know people and their stories, without any agenda of conversion or coercion, in order have a legitimate exchange in our city. …

I think we need a wailing wall too, in downtown Asheville. We should have places where people can come with their hurts and anger and be listened to and treated like people, with no strings attached. … We should be able to empathize with and console those who the church has wounded, not downplay our role in their suffering. …

[We] should remember how Jesus dealt with people who were oppressed and marginalized by the church of his day. … Our God is one of great humility, we should should lead in humility if we are to confess belief in the God of the gospels.

— Ryan Russell
Asheville

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5 thoughts on “Christians: Open your ears to the wailing wall

  1. travelah

    The wailing wall is Rabbinical Judaism and not a Christian concept. It is generally antithetical to the Apostolic notion of having your works of God done in discretion rather than in a public display as a meritorious contribution on the believers part.
    The wailing wall actually has no scriptural significance in the Hebrew Tanakh as it is used today.
    If you wish to see a revival of Christian ethos, you must first seek a reformation to ensure that two thoughts are foremost i.e. the Deity of Christ and the primacy of His work at Calvary. Anything separate from that will ultimately be a fruitless endeavor.

  2. Mo

    Such an arrogant reply is to be expected from the proud, Ryan.

    I think the idea is a public forum where christians and non-christians alike can talk, apologize, cry, ect and not be judged for it. I think it’s admirable, and very Christ like, that someone would propose apologizing on behalf of the corrupt and broken church.

    This is something that needs to happen.

  3. The problem that the writer is trying to illustrate Trav is that it isn’t that most people in asheville haven’t heard the gospel, but that they have not SEEN the gospel in the lives of those who profess to be Christians. How can you have a meaningful conversation with someone who has been hurt by the church unless you show the love that Jesus demonstrated for us on the cross, through sacrifice? Maybe if we as believers sacrificed our time, empathy, and gave of ourselves sacrificially, to hear someone out, maybe our good news would translate through our actions when our words fail to do so. It seems to be more true to the gospel and like God himself, when he became a human to share in our sufferings to the point of death, when we Christians take the time to share in the sufferings of those whom the church has marginalized or hurt. I don’t think anything could be more true to the gospel on to the contrary. If don’t we humble ourselves for the sake of the non-believer, how can we justify our claim that Christ humbled himself by becoming one of us, ate with us, and even cried with us? I would participate in this, hopefully like Christ did, with love and humility.

  4. travelah

    Jacob, just for my own frame of reference, what denominational background are you?

  5. I grew up the son of a Southern Baptist Missionary, but attended a private Christian international school growing up that was non-denominational and very diverse. When I went to the university I had a very typical crisis of faith studying under secular scholars who head up the Jesus Seminar. I was agnostic then and very nhillistic. Since then, many years later, I have come to peace with the gospel accounts due to much of Richard Bauckhams’ work in his book ‘Jesus and The Eyewhitnessess.’ I have also have read and studied much of Dr. TImothy Keller’s works including ‘The Reason for God’, ‘The Prodigal God’, and many of his sermons, which have been very influencial in my life. He is a Presbyterian minister in Manhattan, NY. I guess if you had to put my beliefs in line with a denomination they would most closely resemble the PCA. What is, if I may ask, your denominational background?

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