A 'tip' for Christian tippers

April 18th, 2016

Last week, a television station in Charlotte, N.C., reported that a group of patrons left their waitress a Bible verse in lieu of a tip. The verse was Lev. 20:13: “If a man has sexual intercourse with a male as one has sexual intercourse with a woman, the two of them have committed an abomination. They must be put to death; their blood guilt is on themselves.”

According to WBTV in Charlotte, Alexandra Judd, the waitress, is gay. And she was offended.

"I never expected a hateful gesture like this," Judd said, according to WBTV. "I've had a guest leave me a pamphlet to their church as a tip one time, but I didn't feel as if they were being hateful towards me. The ladies that came in were very rude, and would hardly talk to me – but I never expected this."

If Judd’s patrons simply were trying to preach at her, their mission was accomplished. But if they were trying to get her to change her sexual identity or lifestyle, their biblical “tip” was an epic fail — despite their “praying for you” message at the bottom of the receipt.

“I don't care what anyone says, this is the most disrespectful thing you can do,” Judd wrote in the Facebook post that accompanies a photo of the receipt with the “tip.”

“Don't pray for me, darling,” Judd concluded. “I have everything I could possibly want and need in my life.”

First, the obvious stuff: Judd is a woman. The Leviticus text is about male-to-male sex acts.

Next, leaving an accusatory Bible text in lieu of a tip is rude, condescending and totally lacking in charity, which is supposed to be a Christian virtue.

Another waitress, who posted a receipt from a customer in another location who complained about the suggested 18 percent tip by comparing it to the 10 percent tithe, said that her salary was $3.50 per hour and that her work days were 12 hours-plus. So far, the message the world is getting is that Christians are judgmental and cheap.

In reality, who a waitress is or isn’t sleeping with is no one’s business but hers. But if we are going to go there, perhaps we should at least stop being so selective in the way we apply Biblical directives. It makes us look hypocritical to do otherwise.

Leviticus 11, for example, gives very specific instructions for which animals the Israelites could eat. Pigs were not on that long list, along with certain fish and sea creatures that are featured on menus across the nation.

Did any of those ladies have a ham sandwich for lunch? Maybe some juicy pork roast? How about a good old fashioned BLT, with crunchy slices of bacon?

Did they have fried catfish or sautéed shrimp? Lobster or crab? All are prohibited in Leviticus. Would they criticize someone eating any of that at a nearby table? Would they refuse it themselves?

Some believe it is their Christian duty to engage in confrontational evangelism. They believe, as does author Ray Comfort, that not confronting “sinners” is a “soft-selling” of the gospel and that believers need to “tell sinners like it is.”

One problem: All of us, believers included, are sinners. That is what the Bible teaches. So if we’re really going to tell sinners like it is, maybe we should start with each other. And maybe, to be as effective in our criticisms as possible, we should target the groups listed in Proverbs 6:16-19.

If we did, we’d have to criticize the arrogant, liars, those who kill the innocent, evil schemers, those eager to do harm to others and people who create dissension. I suspect that if we did that, we’d be so busy confronting those in the church that we might not even have time to tell strangers how they need to be living their lives.

And maybe, by then, we would realize that we do more harm than good to our faith when the best we have to offer falls short of love and compassion.

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