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Friday, December 18, 2015

"Selfishness posing as freedom"--W.B.

American Christianity will break your heart.

This week, we had another Republican debate.  As far as I can tell, everyone running claims to be Christian.  Which is awkward when they speak with rude disrespect for our current President and attack each other ten times more often than they actually debate issues.

At the Service of Lessons and Carols this week, the pastor prayed against "selfishness posing as freedom" which is about the best description of current affairs I've heard.  So many people want guns, they want low taxes, they want to exploit all the coal and oil they can get their hands on, they want cheap gasoline, they want access to the ultimate in medical technology, they want zero risk of crossing paths with the wrong kind of foreigner.  All of that no matter what the cost to their neighbor.  So we have candidates who, with a straight face, say that they can not support denying terrorist-watch-list people the right to buy assault weapons, while at the same time saying, with a straight face, that we should build a wall to keep out the undesirables.  Selfishness goes on masquerade as policies that ensure freedom.

Then to add insult to injury, a sober, respectable, intellectual Christian college suspended their only black female tenured professor because she expressed an opinion that Christians and Muslims (and one must also wonder, Jews) all worship the God of Abraham.  Not that Christianity and Islam (or Judaism) are the same religion, but that at their core they aim at worshiping the one true God. As a missionary who grew up on Richardon's Eternity in Their Hearts, who sings worship in Lubwisi and Swahili that uses local-language names for the one high creator God which preceded Christian thought but are now incorporated and enriched, the fact that this is a debate baffles me.  Read an articulate response here, an essay I thought was on-target and well put.

Yes, American Christianity will break your heart.

Until, of course, you spend your weeks with American Christians.  People who give sacrificially.  Who open their homes, care for the poor, sing with gusto.  Who bring their faith into art, creating beauty.  Who provide safe haven for the alien and the widow.

It's just that the heart of American Christianity exudes silent goodness while the vocal minority comes across as stridently self-righteous, paranoid about being persecuted, over-ready to draw lines.

There are worse things than a broken heart, namely, a hard one.  So even as I look around and mourn the way our faith is portrayed and discussed and maligned, I know that I need to start with my own broken-hearted embrace of my own part in bigotry, in fear, in self-protection, and isolation.  No guiltlessness here to justify throwing stones.  Just a hope that the silent majority of decent kind American Christians will not swallow the fearful hateful rhetoric we are being fed.  Repent.  Ask disruptive questions.  Consider.  Listen to Jesus.  


Bobbi said...

I am thankful for your gift in articulating well truth that has twined through your life.

Anonymous said...

I did not realize that Allah is the triune God.

DrsMyhre said...

To anonymous above: niether did Abraham.

scruffy said...

i wonder though, did he? Did Abraham know something that's not expressly spelled out until the New Testament? The Old Testament has Theophany, the Angel of Yahweh appearing who swears by himself, not God. The Old Testament refers to the Spirit of God. Gen 15 has God appearing to Abe not as one symbol but two. A burning torch, open flame, and a smoking fire pot. Flame hidden in a clay vessel. The Spirit could even be said to be the smoke of both fires. Moses certainly knew of the Spirit since he wrote about him in Genesis 1.

i'm not disagreeing with you. i'm just wondering out loud.

Nerd Mom said...

I am not a follower of Christianity, Islam or Judaism, but even I can see that the three religions have a shared history. The 3 religions are like 3 brothers whose paths have diverged. Mary and Jesus appear in the Quran. Christianity shares the Old Testament with Judaism.

As a minority, as a non-Christian, that vocal minority of "American Christians" scares the daylights out of me. My mother's family and my husband's family are Japanese American. There are a lot of similarities of what the pinhead xenophobes are doing now and what happened to my family members 70-80 years ago. I would rather not see anything like that happen again.

Being afraid isn't a good enough excuse to not take care of refugees, or the poor, or the sick. That tired old excuse of "we should take care of our own first!" is a lousy excuse too because that same people that are trotting that one out are the same that vote against programs that help veterans, children and the poor.