Monday, March 23, 2015

Hate Email

This week our congregation received an anti-immigrant/refugee hate email.
I am going to read the whole email this morning.

Sir or Madam,

I will start with you and then I will be reporting your service to the Health Department, Attorney General and anyone else that we can think of. 
What you are doing for foreign people that come to this country is not at all fair and neither is what the so called President is doing for letting it happen.

I was recently at Morning Star Condominiums in Concord, and I have been to other areas as well. 
And, I was informed that these foreigner's are being allowed to move into places like this and get everything for free. 
When all they do is walk the streets, talk in their foreign language and stare at Caucasian Americans who have worked hard. 
I could go on and on they are rude, do not know how to drive but are given licenses to get rid of them, they do not move and stand in the way behind vehicles, and they bring their filth to name a few!

For instance my son and his wife live in an emaculate and spotless condo that they rent at Morning Star Condominiums they are caucasian, work hard for what they have, and pay alot of money in rent and have a family of 2 children. 
My son informed me that because of all these filthy,  smelly,  and disgusting people that you are moving in there when they turn on their self cleaning oven to clean it cockroaches come flying out. 
He said at any given point they have seen them in the condo and I was disgusted and gagged when he told me this.

These conditions are deplorable, positively disgusting, and not fair to people who work hard for what they have.

I am extremely disgusted and livid that holy rollers who are supposed to be for the people would let this happen.

Now you might be thinking that when I received this email I was mad.
What I really felt was pride.
I felt happy, because we talk a lot about giving ourselves for the Gospel.
We talk about giving of ourselves for others.
And sometimes you don’t know if you are just talking, to make yourself feel good.
You don’t know if you are really living what you preach.
But this email confirmed for me that our congregation is following Jesus.
I feel that as a congregation we are on the right path.
Because being a disciple of Jesus Christ does not mean glory, it means death and ridicule.
Jesus tells us this morning that, “Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”
What we have been given by the person who wrote that email is a gift.
It is a gift to know that we are not just talking about being disciples but we are actually doing it.

Because being a disciple means that we follow Jesus and following Jesus means that we go to places that no one else wants to go.
We go to the people and places that are considered to be “filthy, smelly, and disgusting” by others.
That is where Jesus goes, that is where Jesus is.
The Greeks come wanting to see Jesus, and Jesus tells them that where they will see him is dying on the cross.
That is where we will see Jesus too.
The person who sent the email calls us holy rollers, but doesn’t understand that what it means for a Christian to be a holy roller is roll with Jesus, and to walk with the people Jesus walked with.
So we are proud to be seen with the filthy smelly people of the world.
If you want to call us names you are going to have to do better than that.
You are going to have to get more creative.

Also if you want a fight then you came to the wrong place.
Because the person who wrote this email you know what they need?
They need Jesus!
They need Jesus love and grace to break through their hardened heart.
They need Jesus to save them from hatred and prejudice.
I pray for this person today.
I pray for her salvation, I pray for her to find God’s love.
I don’t hate her or want God to get revenge, I simply pray for her, and you should too.

Because people who hold onto hatred like that need to learn to let go of it.
Because caring it around does nothing to make one’s life better or more enjoyable.
I pray for her to let it go.
And when she does she will be freed from that hatred and be able to serve and love her neighbor as herself.
Because that is what Jesus always offer us.
Today’s reading is part of Jesus saying good bye to the crowds.
In the next chapter he will say good bye to his disciples.
He will give them final instructions and tell them to be servants as he is their servant.
Jesus will tell them that they should love other as he loved them.
He will again tell them to let go of wanting power over others, of wanting to control what people do, instead to serve and love.

In our hate email, we are told that the problem with “foreigners” is that they supposedly don’t do what “Caucasians” do.
Why is it that our expectations of others is that they will act like us.
They will speak the same language as us, eat the same food, dress the same way.
If they just stopped all of that and looked and acted like us then nothing would be wrong.
Letting go of these expectations is a healthy spiritual practice.
I saw a quote from Mister Rogers this week that I think says it perfectly.

“Love isn’t a state of perfect caring. It is an active noun like struggle. To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way he or she is, right here and now.”

That is what we are called to do as God’s people to love people not as we want them to be, but as they are here and now.

You might think that love is all just a bunch of holy roller nonsense.

You might think that the world is for those that work hard, those that earn their keep.

You might think that life is about who has the most money.

That is fine; it is a perfectly legitimate way to see life.

It is simply not the way of Jesus Christ.

It is not how Jesus rolls.


Jesus sees life as something that needs grace and mercy.

Jesus sees life as something that he dies for.

I can’t think of a time when Jesus tells us that what is really important about people is how hard they work.

What he does say is that what is important about people is how much God loves them.

And if God loves them then we should love them too.

We should let go of judging others, and simply struggle to love them.


I want to thank you all for being a congregation that attempts to follow Jesus.

That doesn’t live in a realm of self righteousness, but that is willing to let go to love the neighbors that God has sent.

I want us to leave here knowing that if we are being put down because of this then I really do believe it means we are on the right track.

I pray this day for all those who don’t know the grace and love of God.

For those who are not free to love and serve their neighbors.

And I thank God for the gift of hate email so that we might die, and in that dying we might bear much fruit for the kingdom of God.


1 comment:

  1. Amen, Jon. May God continue to bless you, the congregation you serve and the work that you do. And I am praying for the person who sent that email, too.