Friday, July 2, 2010

Illegitimate kids needing a Father

An old friend and I had a short Facebook chat earlier today. We met when our families attended the same uber conservative church where he’s still a member. After catching up a bit, I asked about the church I had attended for over 13 years.

Me: How are things at church?

Him: Different. They’re dedicating illegitimate children now.

Me: Wow!

Him: Yeah. You know, they wouldn’t dedicate our grandkids when they were born.

Me: What changed?

Him: Several staff and “elite” church members had illegitimate babies born into their families and they wanted them dedicated. They had to wake up and live in the real world.

I have to confess—I was shocked (but thrilled) to hear that this particular church was now bringing unwed parents and their babies up onto the sanctuary platform for the dedication ceremony.

For those of you who aren’t churchgoers, when a new baby is born to Christian parents they bring the child to the pastor in front of the congregation. The parents agree to raise the child up to know God and the church members promise to pray for and encourage the family. The pastor prays over the child and his or her parents.

This particular church acted as if the babies born to unwed parents were unclean and contagious! Aren’t babies born to single moms just as important as any other new baby? They deserve to be dedicated to the Lord—don’t they?

When I attended that church there were a lot of very, very rigid rules. Divorced people could not teach Sunday school, musicians and actors were not allowed to perform in secular arenas, clubs, or theatres, and female staff members were not allowed to wear pants.

No, I’m not talking about the 1950’s. I’m talking about recent times. In fact, the only rule that has relaxed in the last few years is the one about woman and pants.

And now—babies born to unwed parents are being dedicated.

How sad it is that it wasn’t until church staff and “elite” family members began to be affected that the pastors finally understood the value of dedicating ALL new babies to The Lord. I hate to point out the obvious, but wasn’t Jesus an illegitimate child?

The Church sometimes fails to see The World until The World comes dancing down the aisle wearing sandals and dreadlocks and plops itself in a front row pew. I come back again to my purpose for writing this blog—to encourage you (and me) to be Jesus with skin on.

Jesus went into the world and walked with the lost, offered hope to the empty, and accepted people right where they were. He did not wait for them to come to Him!

Leaving that conservative church was a very difficult thing to do. Today I find myself wondering why it was so hard. Was I concerned that people might suspect I wasn’t “good enough” to be a member of that congregation? I think I was afraid that if I left the church people might suspect I had sinned!

I HAD to leave the church—the world was calling. You know the whole be-in-the-world-but-not-of-the-world thing? Have you met people that are so heavenly minded that they’re no earthly good? Well…that was me!

I’m okay with admitting that I’m far from perfect. I love the amazing people that I’ve had the awesome privilege to walk with, talk with, share with, and cry with. If not for my imperfections I might still be sitting on the pew in my comfortable piety and religiosity.

Get off the pew. The illegitimate kids of the world are looking for a Father. Get off the pew!


  1. I read a book once about Christian culture...and one of the people the author interviewed made the point that the reason Christians are so concerned with certain problems (things like abortion and homosexuality) is because "those are the sins that other people commit. Those aren't the sins that we commit." I have noticed that things like divorce no longer have the same shame and stigma attached as they used to...probably because Christians divorce rates are so high now. We love to judge until that judgment is something we'd have to reflect back on ourselves. (I'm not saying that I think that we should shame others who sin - not at all - just that a double standard exists.)

    I love your blog - you make great points and observations!

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words. Whether we're committing the same sins as the rest of the world, or our very own infractions, we are all guilty of sinning. For the believer, that should be freedom--freedom to accept people exactly where they are and love them and lead them to freedom in Jesus.