Location: Granite Falls, North Carolina, United States

I'm an ordained United Methodist minister no longer pastoring churches, a former media producer with skills ten years out of date, a writer trying to sell my first novel, and a sales associate keeping body and soul together working for the People's Republic of Corporate America. I'm married to the most wonderful woman in the world, who was my best friend for 17 years before we married.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A Christian Nation?

I want to know why "Christian" is now synonymous with "Conservative" and "Republican." As I stated in a (much) earlier post, the Bible has much to say about personal morality, it is true. But it also says much about our responsibility to God's world and the people and other creatures who live there.

So, if this is such a "Christian" nation, why the big push to post the Ten Commandments in public (i.e. tax-payer supported) places (as opposed to posting them on one's personal property, which no law forbids) and not the Beatitudes? After all, Paul went to great lengths in his letters to point out how the old laws (the first of which are the Decalogue--Ten Commandments) no longer apply to us who are free in Christ. So why push the old Jewish Law rather than the Good News of Jesus Christ?

Maybe it's because Jesus still makes us uncomfortable, just as he did the religious leaders of his day. Imagine telling Richard Mellon Scaife to give all he has to the poor. He's too busy giving it to the "think tanks" that disparage the poor.

If you count the verses Jesus had more to say about the responsible use of money than about any other subject. Some day I may count those verses and see if it's true what someone told me, that he has more to say about that subject than about all other subjects put together. And Jesus said it was wrong--flat wrong--to enjoy your riches while people were outside your door doing without. Are you listening, Walton family? I refer you to the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in the Gospel of Luke.

It's a lot easier to sit back and cast judgments at people whose lifestyles don't match ours (or whose lifestyle we're secretly attracted to) than it is to live the life of discipleship that Jesus calls us to do. Research shows those who make the loudest noises about homosexuality are those who are least secure in their own sexuality. I figure it's either that or else it's easier to condemn the sins that don't tempt us.

If this were the Christian nation some want to proclaim it, then there would be no hunger. Everyone would share freely, and the government would see that food was distributed to everyone who was in need.

If this were truly a Christian nation the air and water would be pure, because we would take seriously our stewardship of God's earth.

If this were truly a Christian nation there would be health care for everyone at an affordable rate, rather than the most expensive and inefficient health care system in the developed world.

If this were truly a Christian nation, stores would be closed on Sunday, not because they were required to by law, but because people would not shop that day out of respect for their faith.

I could go on, but this is a good start. How well are we living up to what we profess? Do we really worship God or Mammon? When the Commonwealth of Virginia got rid of some outdated laws, they found they had reactivated a law requiring employers to give employees the day off for the day the employee observed the Sabbath. They wasted no time in calling a special session of the legislature to repeal that law. After all, it interfered with their worship of Mammon.


Blogger R U S S said...

Great post! I recently posted on world hunger. Thought you might be interested.

b blessed

June 14, 2006 at 1:04 AM  

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