An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

Source: An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

and a version of the letter here written by a mate Colin Craggs x sarcasm for illustration of the same intent minus a kind of literary violence often used …by me 😉 and you … I’m sure!!
Dear Franklin Graham
My name is Peter and this is an open letter, pastor to pastor, with other’s watching. I have to say I was insulted when I learned that your Decision America Tour took a detour off the beaten path to call upon us “small community churches.” Not that we don’t want you to visit, I do. I think there is a lot we can talk about it. I was insulted in how it was promoted and how we are portrayed.
Yes, we are small community churches. We are nothing if not small. We seat 30-40 on a good Sunday. And we are a century old fixture of our small community. Most often we are overlooked and overshadowed by mega-churches and politically influential religious voices like your own. We don’t hold a candle to an auditorium filled with the music of a one hundred voice choir led by professional musicians. We probably will never be recognized in any nationally syndicated media. After all, we don’t do anything really “newsworthy.” We just preach the good news of Jesus Christ; love one another the best we can (which sometimes isn’t very well); feed the hungry that come to our doors; care for the sick; comfort the dying; and bury the dead. Are we not the image you want for the mega-churches? Is this not the kind of prayer and action you are seeking in your ministry? We are small but we are trying our best to live out our faith well.
I have to say, though, that I was a little confused by your summons. Of all the things that worry me, loss of religious freedom for Christians in America isn’t one of them. I can’t say I have ever experienced anything in this country that could reasonably be called a restriction on my religious liberty, much less persecution. When you started talking about attacks on Christianity, I thought you might have been referring to the racially motivated slaying of pastors and lay people at Mother Emmanuel church in Charleston some time back. Or I figured you were referring to the slaughter of Coptic Christians in Egypt this past Palm Sunday. That’s what I call persecution. But having to pay a judgment for refusing to bake a cake for a same sex couple in violation of the law against discrimination? This you call persecution? In Peter’s writing, as an expert on persecution, having been on the receiving end of it more than once. He says you don’t get divine kudos from suffering the consequences of breaking the law-even if you are a Christian. Likewise, the Apostle Paul (aka Saul) said that if your enemy is hungry you should feed him. So wouldn’t it have been the Christian way to have baked a cake for the same sex couple in your example, even if you deem them enemies (another assertion I don’t quite understand)? I think your idea of persecution is confusing and takes away from the plight of those shedding their blood for Christ. Am I wrong in this? Clarify this point for me please?
It seems to me that the church in America has persecution complex. We need to stop with the drama. We are not under attack just because we have to follow the rules like everyone else. Look, I understand the owners of this establishment you mention in your speech don’t approve of gay and lesbian people getting married. They don’t have to approve of them. But if they are going to do business in this country, they have to follow the law against discrimination-just like the rest of us. If you don’t like the rules, don’t join the game. It’s that simple. Furthermore, I don’t understand why baking a cake for people whose conduct you find personally offensive is such a big deal. Heck, Frank, if all of us small church pastors refused to bury everyone whose conduct we didn’t approve of, the country would be ten feet deep in corpses! We are to live in the world and this is a part of it.
I am struggling, too, with your claim that Donald Trump is a champion (albeit an unlikely one) for religious freedom. What freedoms are we talking about here, Franklin? We are called to use our freedom to serve one another, to love our neighbours and not to ‘bite and devour one another’. Is the language of Donald Trump promoting this freedom? When he refers to woman as “dogs,” “fat pigs,” and “ugly” can we say that’s the freedom the Bible talks about? Or calling his opponents “idiots,” “losers,” “liars” and “frauds”? Is he not guilty of slander toward people with accusations of criminal conduct based on absolutely no evidence? He is our president but I must question your assertion that he is our champion for religious freedom.
You might be right about God putting Donald Trump in the White House-though your reasons for so believing are probably different from what I might conjecture. Still, how do you know that? Where did you get this info? I’m concerned that this pro-Trump movement is not standing on solid Biblical ground. What makes you right and another wrong if both are claiming to have heard from God? As I read the Scriptures it seems to me that God is more concerned about how men treat women in the workplace, how people of color are treated in the real estate market, how the hungry and homeless are cared for (or not), and less concerned if we bake a cake for a same sex couple to celebrate their wedding? Let’s continue this dialogue from a Biblical basis. How do you know? Show me how you get to your conclusion that baking a cake is a bigger deal than caring for the hungry and homeless?
Here’s the thing, Franklin. At the last judgment, Jesus doesn’t ask anyone about who they voted for, how many times they have been divorced, what their sexual history or orientation is or for whom they did or did not bake wedding cakes. He isn’t even concerned with how we treated the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, the imprisoned, those deemed “least” among us. We all fall short of God’s ideal. We commit adultery and we abandon the least among us. We offend our enemies and we live in abundance while those around us starve. But God is interested in whether we are united in himself through his son. That’s where the compassion begins. That’s where the power to love our enemies and feed the hungry comes from. That’s where we can stand together and work through this as brothers in Christ despite our opinions on politics.
You know, Franklin, I would like to think that we are brothers. I would like to believe that we are on the same side. I would like to believe that, beneath our differences, we worship the same God and follow the same Savior. But quite honestly, I don’t recognize the Jesus I learned from my parents, my Sunday School teachers, my pastors or my years of study and reflection on the Bible in your angry, fearful rhetoric. Yes Franklin, your sound angry and fearful. In Jesus you are in love and there is no need for fear. Yes, I will answer your call for prayer. But I will be praying for the real victims of persecution-the victims of racial discrimination, sexual violence and bullying. I will answer your call to action. But I will be acting to establish health care as a right for all people; making the college campus and the workplace spaces where women and girls need not fear being called “pigs,” “dogs” or “ugly” nor will they need to fear rich, white celebrity males who feel entitled to grab them by the genitals. I will respond to your call for action by working for a society in which no one needs to worry about where she will sleep at night or where the next meal is coming from. You want prayer? You want action? You’ve got it. Please tell me you are praying for these things too!
Franklin, we have the scriptures, we have prayer, and we are learning every day what it means to love God with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength and to love our neighbors as ourselves. That’s all we need.
Christ’s servant and yours,
Peter

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