I don't often write in this space about God or my faith, at least in a personal way. Not because I am ashamed of it or it doesn't exist, though you might not be able to tell from my recurring criticisms of religion and church and so on. Rather, I choose not to write about the personal aspects of my faith because I know there are many other voices with more and better things to say about who God is and what it means to follow Jesus. That isn't what I'm here to do. I don't want to muddle the conversation by entering it as if I were some kind of expert, when admittedly I am not. All that being said, something came up at my church on Sunday which I feel the need to dive into a little bit.
For years, Ted Turner has been known as an enemy of religion, especially toward Christianity. In 1990, speaking before the American Humanist Association, Turner proclaimed that "Christianity is for losers"...and this isn't nearly the most provocative thing he has said about Christians. At one point, Turner suggested that the Pope should serve as a mine detector. Good gracious. Anyway, when Jason, the pastor at the church I've been going to, brought the losers comment up on Sunday, there was a bit of not so well hidden resentment in his voice. It was clear that, naturally, Jason was bothered by what Ted Turner said twenty years ago. Saying that he disagrees would be an understatement. Without question, what Turner said was filled with hostility toward Christians, hoping to devalue Christians and deride a belief in Jesus. Despite apologizing between then and now, it's unlikely that his stance has really changed - in the mind of Ted Turner, Christianity was and still is for losers.
Here's the thing...Ted Turner is right.
Jesus didn't come and live and die for the winners. Jesus came for the poor, the broken and the outcast. He brought love and acceptance to prostitutes and tax collectors. He gave hope to lepers and widows. He provided forgiveness to thieves and adulterers. He came for the losers, loved them, and made them his own.
The thing about truth is that who says it and why doesn't matter a lick. Truth remains truth regardless of the periphery. There is a great deal of truth contained in what Turner said, even if he said it for less than honorable reasons. Why Turner said what he said doesn't matter at all. No, being a Christian does not make you a loser. It's quite the opposite actually...to be a follower of Christ, you have to be a loser in the first place. You have to be a failure. You have to be broken. Otherwise, what need would we have for grace, hope, and mercy?
If you're a follower of Jesus, you should be embracing your status as a loser, not pretending as if you have your shit together. You don't. I don't either. And that's okay, because Jesus came for people who don't have their shit together. That is a marvelous truth, one that is far more powerful than even our greatest failures. Christianity, whether you like it or not, is for losers. Just because Ted Turner said it doesn't mean it isn't true.
And so on...