Dropping Christ from Christianity

What’s causing all this madness? Well look around, it’s in the air. Of course, the church is supposed to be a sanctuary from what’s in the air, but too often these days, it’s merely an extension of it. If everything from our professional sports to our entertainments have been politicized beyond recognition, why wouldn’t the church – which is, after all, made of imperfect people – follow suit?

And yet the entire point of the church is that it is supposed to stand apart, to be in the world, but not of it, to abide by higher standards, and show the way. It is not supposed to sink to the level of those some of its members may perceive as ideological enemies – both real and imagined – but to transcend such petty concerns. Plenty of fellow Christians I’ve talked to on the side, over the last several years, suggest that Trump, for instance, was serving as God’s hammer, pounding nails into a board with brutishly effective blows. To which I say: It’s reductive of the God you pretend to serve to insist he needs Trump. (Though Trump clearly needs God, as do we all.) And besides, if you believe in God, you tend to believe he wields ultimate control…….of the hammer, and the nails, and the board. The other way around – as we’re discouraged from saying in church – is ass-backwards. You’re putting your faith in the hammer, not in the one who is capable of swinging it.

In the book of John, Christ is quoted – on the record – as saying, “I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.” And yet too many of his franchisees – the ministers who do business in his name – seem to be flipping off the switch, preferring instead to bumble around in the dark. Or to abruptly mix metaphors, too many are no longer functioning as God’s servants, but as his speed bumps, slowing the Good News down, as it’s getting defiled by too many other messages – their messages, which are often politicized ones.

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