Some pastors were in the news this week, a couple dozen of them, from Albion, New York, a crossroads village midway between a couple of places you never heard of.
They wrote a letter and sent it in to the online newspaper, about the drag queens.
Nothing negative, more of a kind request, and a reminder, that something’s going on in society, a turning of things upside down, and one of the fronts is drag queens, and trying to pawn them off as innocent and innocuous, especially to kids. The pastors said adults are adults and kids are kids, and adults ought to be careful about normalizing things that can be harmful to kids.
And they made the news. Kind of in a mocking way. Like they were bigots or Neanderthals and they should probably shut up and go back to whatever hole they crawled out of.
And it got me thinking.
At first about why these pastors spoke out, and then about why the other pastors didn’t.
Because while there were a couple dozen pastors’ names attached to the letter, there are several hundred churches across the region. Churches and mosques and synagogues, places where pastors and priests and imams and rabbis are supposed to speak for God and his truth, not just behind closed doors to groups of believers, but out in society to the mass of unbelievers.
The pastors who signed that letter were doing what Christian ministers are called to do – declare truth to a confused and wandering world. God isn’t about keeping secrets, God is about shouting from the rooftop.
God isn’t about fear, God is about boldness.
And in an era where good is called evil and evil is called good, where the dominant forces of society preach a gospel of confusion and evil, those who are ordained to defend and declare God’s absolute truth are remarkably silent. The voices of evil are loud, and the voices of good are absent or muffled.
And so the curiosity isn’t that some country pastors did what Christians are called to do, but that so many of their brothers and sisters of the cloth didn’t and don’t. Why are my religious leaders silent? Why are your religious leaders silent?
Sure, pleasant Sunday sermons delivered to the dwindling faithful are nice but meaningless to the salvation of a society that doesn’t sit in pews. There is a world adrift, where loud and angry voices are cutting the moorings and sinking the ship, endangering the happiness and salvation of the human family, while well-fed and well-paid pastors are holding forth at coffee hours in the rectory among the faithful few.
Jeremiah didn’t do it that way.
But we seem to have more Jonahs than Jeremiahs, prophets of our day running away from the Ninevahs starving for truth, hiding, for some reason, their candles under a bushel.
The old saying is right: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” And in our society today, across the region and the globe, a great many good men are doing nothing.
And issues of morality are being decided and imposed in an amoral way. There is no other side of the story, there is no defense of traditional or divine truth.
Worse, many of America’s religious leaders are advocates of evil, seemingly disciples of Karl Marx before they are disciples of Jesus Christ, proclaimers of popular culture instead of proclaimers of absolute truth. Not lights to guide the world, but mirrors to reflect its worst inclinations. Instead of showing the way, the American church too often hurries to catch up to the false philosophies of a wayward and fallen world.
Our churches too often seek the approval of the world instead of the approval of the Lord.
And so the large majority of the pastors sit silent, afraid or deceived, blind leaders of the blind, useless in the fight for truth.
There was a ruckus in Albion, New York, this week, over a letter written by some Pentecostal and non-denominational pastors, wild-eyed folks out in the country, who remember what they are called to do.
Pray God more of their brethren remember their duty as well.
And pray God our poor society listens.