I am stepping away from the lectionary this week because none of the passages are speaking to me nearly as much as something from a recent new episode of Doctor Who has been. In "Into the Dalek," The Doctor and Clara end up on a spaceship surrounded by a whole Dalek fleet where they discover an unusual prisoner of war: a “good” Dalek. Instead of running around yelling “EX-TER-MIN-ATE” and zapping everything in sight, this one wants to help them defeat the rest of his kind.
A “good” Dalek is too good to be true, of course - it turns out that it has been damaged, and as soon as the Doctor repairs this damage, it reverts back to its normal, angry pepperpot self. The next time the idea of a “good” Dalek comes up, the adjective has a much different connotation. “I am not a good Dalek,” the creature in question tells the Doctor, “You are a good Dalek.” It forgot its hatred for a while, it was able to appreciate beauty and looked down on the rest of the Daleks for wanting to destroy everything - it did not live up to the Dalek ideal. The Doctor, on the other hand, is full of hatred towards the Dalek race and has, in fact, destroyed untold numbers of them over the fifty years of the show, acting towards them in the same manner as they act towards the rest of the universe.
What is a “Good” Christian? Is it someone who follows the letter of God’s law, warning others of the consequences of their sins at all costs and with no regard for their feelings? Is is the person who is in church every time the doors are open, wins the “Perfect Attendance” badge in Sunday School, and sings in the choir, but gives little thought to God the rest of the week? Is it the person who cares for others regardless of background or situation, loving them the way Christ loved, warts and all? I think there are many non-Christians in the world whom an outsider looking in might say are better Christians than many of us who claim the title.