I don't know exactly what to call it, but in this season of increasing political news and upcoming elections I have to join with my good friend Paul and point to something very dangerous in our American Church. For the last several years an element of American Christianity as been very closely associated with a narrow political platform, and transforming itself into something barely recognizable as historically Christian. What has our Faith become? What do those outside the Church see us as? For a disturbing glimpse see the image on this post, or the link.
Do politicians that are supported by the Christian Right live open, holy lives? Sadly I think not. I see too many politicians living dark lives, full of hidden sins, while they openly proclaim faith in Jesus and preach against the very things they are doing (unfortunately, I have no need of mentioning names).
Somehow something has changed in American Christianity. We no longer believe in the gentle Shepherd from Nazareth, we have put our faith in politics, guns and bombs. Jesus, Who told the Jews to love those "godless" Romans who occupied their land, turn the other cheek and walk more than the occupier's law required. When was the last time you heard a call to post the Beatitudes on a courthouse wall? No, we want Law and we want to mix it with our National Pride. As Pastor Paul Grabill says 'It ain’t deception if it ain’t seductive."
I often hear conservatives use Bible verses to clobber those whose sexual orientation they abhor, however as Jesus taught us to do, what if they pointed those verses at themselves? Would the horror of Idolatry shine through? I submit that the Christian Right has been seduced by wealth and power, and consumed with lust for more. What if we saw this verse pointed at the Domionists, Facists and Christianists who have invaded our Church?
So they are without excuse; 21 for though they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their senseless minds were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools; 23 and they exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling a mortal human being or birds or four-footed animals or reptiles. 24 Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the degrading of their bodies among themselves, 25 because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.
We have lost our way on a sea of scarlet sin, and have no one to blame but ourselves. How, and in what way will any amount of Law or Politics roll back the effects of the Fall? How can anyone use hate to climb the rungs of power and might and call it Gospel living? No matter what, that is NOT the Gospel.
I pray we all see the One we are to serve and not get lost in this whirl of National Pride, Patriotism and following the One Who had no place to lay His head.
† Almighty God, the Father of all, Whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in Your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before You; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.