‘The Crisis in the U.S. Church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative: It has everything to do with giving up on the faith and discipline of our christian baptism and settling for a a common, generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, consumerism, part violence, and part affluence.’ Walter Bruggemann
Have you ever wondered why and increasing amount of people do not seek their spiritual fulfillment in a church?
Have you ever visited an assembly of the faithful and no one spoke to you or welcomed you and you could feel the icy stares?
I recall when many faith communities decided that they were going to make a concerted effort to become more involved in politics. Their goal was to bring the agenda of their church to the political arena and to exert more control over their version of the christian faith.
Gradually one political party, seemed to align itself with the fundamentalist views of many churches. Candidates running for the Presidency of the United States, proclaimed that they were going to bring God back into the schools.
Slowly and insidiously the definition of a christian became aligned with political affiliation.
At about this same time the division of who was a ‘true christian’ and who was something less than a christian became much more pronounced.
As we searched for a gathering of likeminded believers to walk our faith journey with us…we, often, were and are met with political partisan, rigid definitions of what it means to be a christian and an american.
The Democratic and Republican parties are not mentioned in the Bible.
When a politician tells me that he or she is committed to returning prayer into the classroom…are they referring to the prayers of the catholic and the lutheran and the presbyterian? Also, may the muslim and the jew and the buddhist and the hindu…be afforded prayer time?
When we believe that God has revealed exclusive understanding to our religious group and excluded the rest of the human race…is that the faith that Christ died for and after three days was resurrected and returned to heaven to sit at the right hand of God?
When I hear the National Anthem…I stand with humility and tears come to my eyes…but why can’t my brother and sister kneel…with humility and tears in their eyes?
Sports is not the primary purpose of life…it is a wonderful and an enjoyable pastime…but it has nothing to do with faith or love of country…those feelings come from inside of a person and can not be mandated or demanded or ordered by declaration.
Capitalism has been a great economic construct for many people. I and my family have benefited from capitalism.
There is nothing in the scripture that indicates that God is a capitalist.
The co-mingling of christian faith and subsequently becoming wealthy, as a direct result of that faith, is a demoralizing doctrine for millions of faithful christians.
‘Jesus said ‘Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s.’ Matthew 22:21 KJV
Affluence, is not a, certain, sign of God’s imprimatur on an individual’s life.
Many in the human family have discovered a way to succeed in the world of finance and have neither christian or faith affiliation of any kind.
Further, millions of christians live and die either poor or of modest financial means…and yet have followed the written precepts of the holy writ to the very jot and tittle.
To have the human constructed mixture of a believer must be patriotic, according to the political leader’s standards and to couple that with the idea that rich people are blessed by God and conversely that poor people are cursed by God…is a significant movement, away, from the teachings of Christ.
‘A Pastor transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for thirty minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7- 10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food-no one in the church gave him change.’
‘He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit in the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares, dirty looks, and people looking down on him. As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor to the church congregation. ‘We would like to introduce you our new pastor.’ The congregation looked around with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back started waking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with all eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited.’
‘Then the King will say to those on his right. ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.’
‘For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat. I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink. I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
‘Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’