A video poem posted on YouTube by 22-year-old Jefferson Bethke from Seattle has been viewed more than 19 million times. The video titled “Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus” has high production value with multiple angles, concise editing and beautiful architecture in the background. Bethke takes aim at organized religion, criticizing what he sees as its lack of charity, openness and connection with real people and real problems. The video has resulted in thousands of response videos. It’s clearly a hotly contested topic.
Pastor Diane Greble from St. John’s Lutheran Church in Fowlerville, Michigan watched the video and provided this candid response, “I’m glad this young man loves Jesus! I hope that he will not stop by comparing Jesus to religion, but to compare faith to religion.”
Greble continues, “Ultimately, Jesus calls us to live out our faith through love. [Bethke] says he’s not judging, but yes, he is. We all are far too good at judging other’s actions and motivations.
Pointing to a Christian lesson Greble describes how Jesus warned against judging others, “Jesus said this clearly when speaking of pointing at the speck in another’s eye while ignoring the plank in our own eye.”
Addressing the statement about the church and its members Greble added, “What I know about the church is that it is full of broken people who want to know that God will heal and forgive them and help them become ‘well’ so they can love throughout the world without fear of God. And the church is full of people who love well, and do great and amazing acts of love, whether small or large.
I hope [Bethke] will grow in love and faith and hope and gentleness and perseverance and trust and acts of compassion. Sharp words and harsh critique rarely attract people. These other expressions always attract people.
What do you think about the video? Leave a comment!
Has the Internet made a positive or negative impact on how faith is expressed?