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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Kent Bush: 'The REAL Christians of Henderson County'

  • That kind of Christianity is hard to hate and even harder to make fun of during a comedic monologue. It’s amazing. The closer we get to Jesus’ teachings, the better off we all are.


     

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  • Many have a problem with religion. However, those problems are much more likely to be with the people practicing the religion than the religion itself.
    Because Christians don’t qualify as a minority, they are one of the last groups of people who may be openly mocked and ridiculed. Sure, some of the injuries to the Church are self-inflicted, but many groups and entertainers feel free to take cheap shots.
    One new network television show is named for and features stereotypes of hypocritical Southern Christian women. The name and premise of the show are denigrating to Christians and women in general. ABC should be ashamed.
    Thankfully, like most of the shows that blazed a path to the airwaves on the strength of a shocking title and limited quality, the ratings are falling fast, and it will soon be just another bad memory.
    So how should Christians respond when networks put shows on the air whose intent is to insult them? Jesus never owned a television, but he had thoughts on the issue.
    During the Sermon on the Mount, recorded in the book of Matthew, Jesus told his followers that others will try to harm you, and he gave advice on how to handle it.
    “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. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” Jesus said. (Matthew 5:43-45)
    We don’t always get that right. Sometimes, things happen that are so outrageous that Christians feel the need to protest or even boycott shows, stations or events. I am sure there are times when that is appropriate.
    But sometimes I think we do it because we forget that God is in control, and everything that happens is within his plan for some reason. I enjoy reading about Christians who do get it right. Those stories are much harder to find. Somehow, public meltdowns by religious leaders tend to be more popular stories than public demonstrations of Christian love.
    In Henderson County, Texas, one group got it right. An atheist who said he had always been treated like dirt by Christians because he didn’t believe in a higher power took his negative feelings for the Church to another level by protesting the location of a Nativity Scene in the courthouse square.
    He threatened to sue after a complaint he filed did not result in the removal of the display. However, before he could begin the lawsuit, the man discovered he had bigger problems than a religious display on the courthouse lawn.
    Page 2 of 2 - It turns out, he had a condition that might have led to him not being able to see that display or anything else. He was suffering from a detached retina and faced the possibility of going blind. He decided not to pursue the lawsuit because of his medical condition.
    But the church groups he attacked weren’t finished with him. Jessica Crye heard about his plight and wanted to help. She said she knew some people believed his condition was a victory because it meant the man would no longer pursue his legal action against them. But Crye knew how scary it must be to face blindness, and she wanted to do something other than celebrate the malady that stopped the action.
    “Why not turn this into something else? This is a great opportunity to turn the other cheek and show God's love,” she said.
    So she contacted her pastor, and soon they began working to raise money to help. When he was told the group wanted to pay for a surgery to save his eyesight, the man refused the money because the surgery wasn’t certain to help and he didn’t want them to waste their money.
    So the group asked what they could do to help. The former taxi driver told them he needed help with living expenses until disability payments from the government started to come in. The group came through and helped him bridge the gap financially.
    The man was touched by the group’s generosity and willingness to help. He said he was going to write a book about it and call it “The REAL Christians of Henderson County.”
    He said the donation didn’t change his views about the Bible or their religion, but it changed his outlook about the group. In fact, he purchased a lighted star to hang above their display next year.
    Every forest fire begins with a tiny flame. Hopefully, that flame has been ignited inside this faithful Texas atheist. Hopefully, Christians everywhere can learn a lesson about how to treat their “enemies” and that fire can spread.
    That kind of Christianity is hard to hate and even harder to make fun of during a comedic monologue. It’s amazing. The closer we get to Jesus’ teachings, the better off we all are.
     

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