I found a story on Facebook today. It made me stop to think if ‘stunts’ like these are helpful. It no doubt highlighted individuals’ shameful and hypocritical behaviour. Of the 10,000 church members faced with this confronting event, I wonder if 10,000 of them are better people for the experience. I wonder if the stunt-like nature of the exercise was used as an excuse NOT to change. I have seen it many times; “you tricked me into feeling bad so now I know the truth I am using your dishonesty to validate the restoration of my normal judgmental ways.”
Anyway – here’s the stunt – worth a few minutes of your time I believe:
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured below) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service….only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food….NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.
As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation……..”We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek”….The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation…..The homeless man sitting in the back stood up…..and started walking down the aisle…..the clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him….he walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment….then he recited
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning…many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame…. he then said….Today I see a gathering of people……not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples…when will YOU decide to become disciples? He then dismissed service until next week…….Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.
He is very right with those closing words. MY comment would be slightly different, however…
Being a decent human being is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.
Because being a decent human being is not about being Christian, or Muslim, or Buddhist, or Jewish, or Atheist, or anything else, and vice-versa. Living as a decent human being and sharing that with others, no matter THEIR faith, is far more pleasant and human than living and sharing greed and judgement. Dare you to have a go!