Ah yes, Good Friends. This is the season where bad neighbors are supposed to join hands, ill will is forgotten and life is reborn. After all, the Christmas holiday theoretically celebrates the birth of Jesus Christ, the human form of God Almighty. The birth of Jesus and His subsequent ministry changed the world in a mightier way than any other man, religion, idea, or concept in history.
True Christian brotherhood should never have permitted the Crusades, or the enslavement of races, or a host of other things that Mankind has brought upon himself. Belief in Jesus Christ mandates that believers forgive, forget, and make a moral and spiritual change that amounts to a profound rebirth of the inner spirit. True Christian brotherhood also mandates that even non-believers and skeptics be given as much respect, consideration and love as those inside the faith. Christ was inclusive, not exclusionary, and Christ-followers do not have the right to assume themselves better, or wiser, or more blessed than non-believers, or to demand that non-believers change their ways and accept a belief system against their wishes and without question.
Christ-followers make just as many mistakes as those outside the faith, and human conflict doesn’t vanish simply because someone wishes another “Merry Christmas.” No, strife goes on, and will always go on because all men and women, including Christians, are imperfect.
This blog is usually about that odd American institution known as Homeowners Associations, an invention originally devised to keep blacks, Orientals and Jews out of white neighborhoods. Doesn’t sound very ‘christian’, does it?
Some believers like to play the WWJD game when confronted with a controversial and puzzling life situation. WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Trying to understand the life and ministry of Jesus, in light of a given current controversy, which side would this incredible figure in history take?
For example, WWJD in a neighborhood where widows have their homes foreclosed upon when money is short and the HOA dues are late? WWJD in a neighborhood where a child with Down’s Syndrome is forbidden from playing outside because the HOA won’t permit a porch enclosure to keep the child from wandering into the street? WWJD with a neighborhood where Negroes are subtlely steered by Realtors away from Caucasian enclaves? WWJD with a Homeowners Association that threatened to sue, seize and auction off a home where a child used firewood and branches to set up a temporary kids’ fort, or where a grandmother was told to face a lawsuit because her daughter’s backyard playhouse was pink instead of beige?
And what about neighborhoods that sue to force homeowners to remove Christmas lights that are set up to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ?
That last question is actually pretty easy to answer. Jesus was not a maniacal egotist. He would never have demanded that humans set up displays to celebrate his birth. He would have preferred that warring neighbors just find a way to treat each other with love and respect, lights or no lights.
Ward Lucas, author of:
Neighbors At War! The Creepy Case Against Your Homeowners Association