Early on the morning of March 26th, Pastor Greg Locke took to Twitter to say this, “People are like ‘if you support Trump you can’t be a Christian.’ Do y’all listen when you talk? Jesus hired a demon possessed traitor to handle his money for 3 years. He can use the President if He so desires. Take a seat people.” Walking the line between God’s tendency to use imperfect vessels to advance His ministry and one’s outright support of even a man’s worst vices is where many religious leaders have gone astray.
Though Jesus repeatedly used the morally bereft in order to advance his cause, there was a general theme of repentance that accompanied each case. Saul repented, converted, and became Paul. Mary Magdalene abandoned a life of sin (though the degree to which her life was sinful is a matter of constant biblical debate) in order to follow Christ until the end. Without repentance, the endorsement of anti-Christian behavior by supposed Christian leaders is purely a politically driven exercise. In the midst of such politicization even in the halls of our most sacrosanct religious institutions, Christians are desperately searching for a leader who represents their values, their religion, and their culture without waving like a flag in the wind in order to appease the society at large.
Pastor Harry Reeder has spent a lifetime serving Christ and His followers. Since his arrival at Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, AL, the faithful knew that Pastor Reeder was a kind and loving soul, a true Christian role model in these times of great moral peril. Natives of Charlotte, North Carolina, he and his wife, Cindy, have three children: Jennifer, Harry IV, and Abigail. They are also proud grandparents of eight grandchildren. As a man driven and dedicated so fully to family and to Christ, Pastor Reeder has led Briarwood Presbyterian to its position as a widely-recognized home for droves of Christians seeking solace in Christ’s word.
At a time where nearly every aspect of society has seemingly been co-opted by one faction or another for some political purpose, Pastor Reeder has kept himself and his church defiantly out of the political fray. While many pastors and religious leaders have compromised their most deeply held convictions in support of presidents, policies, and the like, Mr. Reeder’s steadfast refusal to enter the mud to appease his base is a refreshing breath of air. For those of us who wish to keep our politics and our religion as separate as is possible, his refusal to compromise the dignity of his church or its members in order to advance his own political interests or ambitions is a much welcome change. Like all great religious readers, and like Jesus the Shepherd, he has put the needs and concerns of his flock above his own.
We’ve seen recently the nation’s visceral reaction to the passing of Billy Graham. Graham, though a more public figure and more closely tied to the political world, managed to remain, himself, relatively apolitical. He counseled Presidents of both parties and various ideological leanings with equal wisdom and spiritual guidance. Despite his charming personality, strong spiritual character, and apolitical nature, some stooped to demonizing Graham upon his death – they slandered and smeared America’s pastor as a false prophet of God’s word.
Graham’s fate is a reminder to all who serve God’s mission not to expect kindness or acceptance, and never to seek such things if it requires an abandonment of His principles. Mr. Reeder recognizes that his adherence to Godly values will not win him many friends in today’s cultural arena. Those who believe, like Pastor Locke, that the mystery of God’s plan mandates blind, hypocritical support for wicked behavior simply because the person caught in sin agrees with their political views will denounce Reeder for his insufficient support of their cause. Those who believe that Billy Graham was a false prophet will never acknowledge the true holiness of any public figure devoted to the Lord’s work. The only friends Harry Reeder will be making are, ultimately, the only ones he needs; his flock and the Good Lord.
Special thanks to Nick Briscoe and Daniel Bruce for their help in writing, researching, and editing this article. Nick is a graduate of Alabama and manager of the Reid Law Firm, and Daniel is a Political Science and Economics student at Auburn University. Both hope to attend law school in 2018.
Photo courtesy of Jennifer Reeder-Toomer Hay (Facebook)