Tuesday, December 15, 2009

An Adulterous Church

I have lost count of the number of times this year I have been taken aback at the thought of the number of people in my circles who send right-wing chain emails to me. I grow increasingly weary of the loony circus that is hard right-wing conservative Christianity. I grow increasingly afraid as they make matters of state into matters of faith and bring them into the churches.
Conservative Christians should be flatly and completely ashamed at the lies they have perpetrated concerning health care, Obama, Bush, Iraq, abortion, homosexuality, etc. They are continually Machiavellian, justifying the means by the ends, never ceasing to carry water for the "God Ordained Party," and never willing to pass up a falsehood that smears any movement, man, or effort heading in a direction they see as contrary to- AND THIS IS IMPORTANT- their understanding of the Bible.
Conservative Christians should be completely ashamed at the utter FOOLS they have made themselves in regard to science. Instead of humility, reason, and thoughtfulness, they have yet again interwoven themselves with the political right and the rich of this country in an arrogant stance against any meaningful response to global warming, and against any meaningful theological refinement as regards the origin of earth.
That their focus is upon their perception of the issues rather than the issues themselves is made manifest by the smears, lies, and ad hominem that they employ. These fallacious, salacious, and sometimes malicious chain emails epitomize such an approach to the issues. That conservative Christian laymen forward them on is a black mark on the church.
So much could be said but two major issues present themselves in this matter. The first is level to which conservative American Christians have become distrustful of government. Government is God-ordained, and we are to submit ourselves to the power, as well as paying taxes. Biblical government is entrusted with the general welfare of their respective societies, in matters violent, fraudulent, and social. Our willingness to transgress civil laws and regulations should only extend to the clear commands of God's word, and not the philosophy of any denomination, church, or party. Even in such a necessary transgression, we give government the respect it is due. And this extends to the support of its general mission, and a willingness to be regulated and pay taxes and redress grievances in the manner lawfully provided. On the other side, there must also be a willingness to hold government accountable if it transgresses its own law, for the sake of civil order.
The second major issue is the approach to authority that conservative American Christians have today. Independent churches and assemblies rail against denominations, Protestants protest against the magisterium, the country preacher complains about theologians in ivory towers. Each of these have their merits. but what is the real issue? The cult of the individual has infected the church to the point where it has gutted our Christian communities of deference, humility, and ultimately and consequently, love. Instead of recognizing the head for its function in the body, and our own organ for it's function in the body, we have all become soundly assured of our need to be complete bodies in and of ourselves. In this we trend towards a Spiritual state of staleness, pride, insensitivity, and generally the reverse of each and every fruit of the Spirit. Moreover, we defraud ourselves of the rich resources of the body, and of the occasion for thanksgiving to God for entrusting our Christian communities with uniquely gifted individuals. What we often fail to realize, is that a Spiritual gifting carries with it a level of authority in the exercise of that gift. So then we have teachers, administrators, givers, etc., with teachers by virtue of their Spiritual gifting and calling possessing an authority in the church to teach and set sound doctrine that not all have. Nonetheless even in this the pastors of conservative churches refuse to give place to another, defending their own final authority against all comers, often refusing to recognize others with same gifting if they will not fall in line.
If conservative Christians think they are leading lights back to the orderly authority structures of government, home, and church that supposedly existed prior to the counterculture, they are sorely mistaken. For in their whole approach to the issue they have shown themselves to be hypocrites in the very area on which they claim the high ground- authority. For authority and humility are two sides of a coin. That is why he who is servant is greatest of all. It is why Christ banished from His church the Gentile form of authority which admitted no humility.
The lies, smears, and everything else flow out of an authority structure that has given up humility for power- the conservative American church. In time and even now, the corruption of power has given us church after church devoid of the fruits of the Spirit, and consequently devoid of any true witness. Evangelicalism (and its rebellious son, Fundamentalism) as a whole, are being seen by the world for what it is, another regressive power structure standing in the way of human progress.
And with every shout of "liberal" and every less-than-truthful chain email and every ad hominem attack and every hook-up with the GOP/Limbaugh/Tea Party crowd (I see little difference any more) we dig our graves.
And on a civil level the evangelical church is participating the formation of a fascist right-wing which will engulf America one day and then eventually be defeated, fully discredited. And conservative Christianity will no longer be allowed to have a say, at all.


Adam said...

Wow... I got goosebumps reading this.

This put into words so many of the thoughts that have been forming in my head for the past two years...

I wish I could send this to all my friends and family, but I don't even think that they could understand it. I still wonder how I even got to the point that I can...

Sarah said...

I've been trying to get the message out that republicans and Christians absolutely need to stop with the chain letters, because they are discrediting themselves, and giving more ammo to the leftwing nutters. This will do nothing but create the opposite effect, causing people in the center to believe the left is more credible. There is poisonous koolaid on both ends of the spectrum, and if one is going to be interested in exposing the truth about the misanthropic animal rights and environmentalist movements, they should also be interested in the truth about what's wrong with the far right as well. People can't expect to be taken seriously when they pass on bogus political or pseudo-religious chain letters. No one ever complains or points out when the left passes on chain letters, but it does happen. It is also incredibly easy for the left to create rightwing hoaxes because rightwingers buy right into them, and both sides are bound and determined to give republicanism as well as Christianity a black eye. One side does it deliberately, and the other side is completely blind to what's going on. http://Chainletters.pbworks.com

David T. said...

@Adam: The good Lord and His Holy Spirit enable us to understand and also communicate truth!

@Sarah: I am sure it cuts both ways, however, it seems to me to be more of a right-wing phenomenon. The level of conspiratorial thinking amongst right-wingers is astounding. The sad part is, the right-wing may have some points to make, I think they do, but then they abandon all rules of logic and decency and truthfulness in pursuit of their ends with these chain emails, their incessant ad hominem, etc.