Now Southland is in the news again. The only thing the church has in common with its previous "infamy" might be its reluctance to be the media "target of the day." The cause of their move to the latest media milieu? Why, Britney Spears, of course. More specifically, the church's effort to reach out to "love Britney the way Jesus loves her."
In a September blog posting, Pastor Jon Weece wrote:
A month ago is a long time in cyberspace, of course. But the story took on new life after catching the attention of CTV.com late last week. When Fark picked up the scent and attached a "dumba**" tag, I suspect brother Weece began flashing back to last December.
Sometimes it’s easy to see celebrities and the mistakes they make and think they are less deserving of our care and compassion—and our prayers. They have it all—money, beauty, success—but really, they only “have it all” according to a worldly definition.
Take Britney Spears. In the world’s eyes, she’s young, beautiful, talented, successful, yet her life is in shambles filled with bad relationships and devastating life choices. 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?
Take a few minutes and write a note to Britney Spears, and bring it to the front of the stage between worship services this weekend this week. No preaching. No criticizing. Just love. As a church, let’s love Britney the way Jesus loves her.
That's life on the cutting edge, I suppose.
Jon and Southland took a lot of heat over last Christmas. In Frankly Speaking's opinion, most of it was deserved, some of it was not. Certainly the tone of much of the criticism was uncalled for. By comparison, this latest media mess is much ado about nothing. What is the worst Weece is guilty of? Maybe naivety. Maybe. At best, though, Weece is teaching his people to love those who've messed up their lives so thoroughly that the rest of the world (including many Christians) seem happy to sit idly by and watch them receive their comeuppance.
I suspect that, if Britney receives the well wishes of the faithful at Southland, they'll point her to a God of love and not one of condemnation and irreversible judgment.
She needs that God.
But then again, so do I.