Kent Bush: Too many soldiers, not enough peacemakers

Kent Bush

It's hard to become too angry with people who hold a dim view of religious people.

The self-appointed representatives of Christianity don't tend to do the group any favors. First Fred Phelps and his family of fools from Topeka picket funerals of heroes and children and then the people that show up to "rally" in public places tend not to be those you really want carrying the banner for you.

It seems to me there are too many soldiers, not enough peacemakers.

I hate it when these people make their way onto national television.

"We've tried pelting Muslims with metal crosses while they pray," Jon Stewart said on his "Daily Show," getting a big laugh from his audience. "Or engaging them in reasoned discussion." At that point, he played a clip with people screaming, "Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!" while a Muslim man stood and prayed silently.

Stewart got another big laugh when he said, "It's like they're trying to make the guy miss a free throw."

What may be funny at first glance is less humorous when you see the damage it does to the general reputation of people of faith.

Is that what Christians have become? Are we nothing more than the butt of jokes?

How many people would have been laughing at this group of "Christians" if, instead of yelling and shaking signs that say "Jesus Loves You" at the praying Muslim while they threw metal crosses at his feet, they would have respectfully prayed for him and maybe offered him some water or a sandwich for lunch?

Christian literally means "little Christ," which indicates that we take instruction from the "big Christ."

But do we?

People love to use the symbolism of Paul when he encouraged Timothy to be a "good soldier for Christ" and when he called Epaphroditus "a fellow soldier for Christ."

But that was Paul's symbolic way of showing that the Christian life is a struggle and Christians need to train and prepare like a soldier preparing for war - not kill your enemies.

No one taught about Jesus better than the Apostle Paul, and Jesus had a few ideas on the subject that I'm pretty sure Paul was very well aware of.

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus is quoted as saying, "You have heard that it was said, 'Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven."

Jesus continued his encouragement to love our enemies by pointing out that even the worst people in society love those who love them. But to show love to those who persecute you is a better way to live.

In his letter to the Romans, Paul taught that in order to have hope, we needed to be more like Jesus in our thoughts and actions.

"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Paul said we should be more like Jesus in thoughts and actions and I don't think that includes throwing crosses at people we disagree with.

But I'm no theologian.

I do know that the pews at my church are not filled with people who members surrounded in public, screamed at and became targets of cross throwing target practice.

There is a better way and churches are full of people who minister to each other and those in need.

It's rare to run across one of these screamers or cross chuckers - unless you are a photojournalist with a national audience.

Kent Bush is publisher of the Augusta, Kan., Gazette.