Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let’s Pray for Britney Spears...and Some Other Folks

I miss Doug Marlette, the editorial cartoonist who created the comic strip Kudzu, featuring the Rev. Will. B. Dunn, who was loosely modeled after real life “Baptist from the South who is not a Southern Baptist” preacher Will Campbell. Marlette died in an automobile accident on July 10.

These days, churches tend to look for their particular niche in ministry. Once, Rev. Dunn attempted to lead his flock in a “ministry to the fabulously well-to-do.” One Sunday he assailed his congregation because his members had failed to bring even one extremely wealthy person to church with them. He had a point. The rich need the Lord, too. And, if you could just get them to tithe….

I remembered those Kudzu strips when I read about Pastor John Weece of the Southland Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky encouraging his parishioners to write notes and letters of encouragement to Britney Spears.

According to the article, Weece said,

Take a few minutes and write a note to Britney Spears. No preaching. No criticizing. Just love. As a church, let's love Britney the way Jesus loves her.

If she were your next-door neighbor in the same situation without the money and success, wouldn't you care about her problems? Wouldn't you pray for her and offer her support and encouragement?

Indeed, wouldn’t you? Or perhaps you’d wag your tongue and your finger at her just like we already do, only if she lived next door you could do that with more familiarity!

Really, though, a church could build an entire ministry around ministering to the fabulously well-to-do who have fallen or who are struggling or who spend as much time in court as they do on stage.

On the one hand, Jesus said that it was easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. On the other hand, well-to-do folks have been faithful followers of Jesus Christ ever since Joseph of Arimathea. When you get right down to it, no one is beyond the reach of the love of Jesus Christ.

I don’t know that a church ought to favor one rich and famous troubled person over another. But I do know that we ought to offer God’s love and our prayers and support to anyone and everyone. We shouldn’t discriminate against the rich—or against the poor, which is a much larger problem.

Speaking of not discriminating, we need to do more about that business of loving and praying for our enemies.

So maybe, if we really want to act like Christians, it’s time for us to send notes and letters to this guy:

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