We live in a culture of ungrace. I know it's not a word - my computer is underlining it in red, screaming "take it out!" But I'm leaving it. Because it's true. Probably the most insidious way in which ungrace (stop underlining my word!) is infiltrating our lives is through the media. I know that a lot of Christianity has been guilty of ungrace. Televangelists wagging their fingers and Christians picking "pet issues" to pound into the ground. But the media takes the cake. It seems the only thing the media EVER reports about any kind of organized religion is the way in which it hurts people.
The most recent example of this was Pastor Terry Jones. The man had 50 members in his Florida congregation. 50 members! His Koran burning frenzy should not have been newsworthy. But the media got wind of it through Twitter. This led to national news stories, a 15,000-member Facebook group called, "Burn the Koran Day," and a landslide of violent rhetoric between people of different cultures and religions.
Before that, we heard from Pat Robertson who told us that the reason a violent earthquake shattered the already desperate country of Haiti was due to their pact with the devil. This clip of Pat Robertson played over and over on news networks the whole world over.
So I want to know - where is the news about grace?
Where are the news stories about the church in Eagan, MN who raised $77,000 and packed nutritious meals for people in Africa who would have literally starved to death through a famine?
Where is the news media about the missionary organizations who are still in Haiti, feeding children, hauling stones and bandaging wounds long after many national relief efforts have bowed out?
Where is the news media about the 30 Christian women who, without training, raced in a triathlon in honor of their friend who was dying of cancer?
Where is the news media about the Christian children who stapled grocery lists to shopping bags for the food pantry?
Where is the news media about the single-mother-recovering-alcoholic who went to church to find refuge and found so much more than that? She found a community that embraced her with her scars, helped her find a job, and formed a village around her children.
We need so desperately to find a way to SPREAD the news that being a follower of Jesus means living with passion and compassion. We need to get the word out that the majority of Christians are people of LOVE who believe in the movement of God's GRACE in the world. The news that God, through Jesus Christ, lived and died because he has mad love for us.
Spread the news, people. We're on a mission. And we're following Jesus' example of grace without boundaries.
Romans 5:20-21 (from The Message)
All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn't, and doesn't, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it's sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that's the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.