Often Christian friends will call the non-profit my husband and I run - a ministry. I know they mean well, but I would like to explain why we are not and never will be a ministry.
First of all, The Nations is a non-profit organization - not a religious organization - that works with awesome people who happen to be refugees from the Middle East, because they are amazing humans who our society tends to screw over, dehumanize, and often be straight up jerks to.
Ministries are often run by churches or religious organizations that generally have some particular goals in their work that we do not.
You see, our goal is to love, serve, and learn from our neighbors who are refugees. It’s that simple. There is literally no hidden agenda or deeper purpose.
Some of y’all might think, “Lots of ministries in our church try to practically learn, love and serve, what’s your problem with being called a ministry?”
Well, that’s a valid question.
A ministry or at least this term in itself, is often used in our White-Jesus Christian nation in a manner that implies there is an underlying secret (except everyone knows) agenda – conversion.
To be honest, this idea of converting makes us wildly uncomfortable. We are in no way about the manifest-destiny-like conversion life. We are point-blank trying to love, learn, and serve others - not bring people to religion. To be real, we are not into religion ourselves.
However, we do try to follow the ways of Jesus because he’s a bad ass.
And the thing is that Jesus straight up said that his greatest command was to love God and LOVE OTHERS. He didn’t say, “Hey guys, don’t just love people, you need to sneakily plant “seeds” of salvation (conversion) into their minds. Keep your head in the game; we need to make more Christians.”
And yes, I am aware that Jesus said to, “go and make disciples.” but I seriously cannot comprehend how we got “subtly manipulate others into Western Christianity” from “go and make disciples.” I know that may sound blunt but seriously guys; it’s these four words that are central to the ideology of White-Jesus Christianity. And it is these four words that lead to weird hidden agendas.
For one, you can’t tell me you know one hundred percent what Jesus meant by disciples. Seriously, be honest, we don’t even truly know what Jesus meant here but we (White-Jesus Christianity) decided it meant convert.
In addition, the words that follow the disciple making verbiage is, “teach them all I have taught you.” Okay, cool so if Jesus taught conversion tactics or like perspective classes, I could totally understand the conversion interpretation.
But he didn’t.
Jesus taught us to love more boldly and self-sacrificially, than we ever knew was possible.
And I know what you are going to say next, “Well the most loving thing we can do is to try and get others to convert to Christianity and save their soul from eternal hellfire.”
And to which I would like to say, guy’s God doesn’t need you to save souls, I am not sure why you think he does.
I mean a lot of White-Jesus Christians deny that climate change is a real threat because the idea is that God is more powerful and will have our backs when our grandkids need spf 10,000, so there is no need to try and stop global warming.
Okay, so it’s hard to follow the logic that God doesn’t need us to work to reverse climate change, but he needs us to save souls. Like he can’t handle whatever “saving souls” actually means without us - sounds sketch and super arrogant.
The reality is - through these sorts of White-Jesus ministries with the goal of conversion – what we are really doing is putting ourselves on a pedestal, trying to be little messiahs for all the “poor non-believers.” As a result, the people your ministry serves are dehumanized to the point of being projects.
That’s not love.
This sort of self-elevation, truly, is the opposite of the ways of Jesus.
I understand how ingrained manifest destiny theology still is in much of American Christianity’s theology. Though we don’t ever publically say convert or die these days, the White-Jesus church does pretty much say make converts or die to organizations such as ours. I mean we lose support on the regular because we refuse to play the conversion game.
Regardless of it all, my point is that the only thing that is relevant is trying to love boldly first with literally zero ulterior motive because the reality is, that is the way of the Jesus of the red letters.
So you see, this is why our non-profit is not a ministry. It’s why we will never be called a ministry. To White-Jesus Christianity, it lacks the conversion tactics needed to be a worthy ministry. And though we may be considered heretical, loving others is bigger than any rules of religion and our desire is to let love win.