July 19, 2010

I am not sure what to think of the Christian faith today

And yeah, I know that is a general statement. But it is where I am right now. Just not sure what to make of some of this stuff. Take this story from CNN where Ed Young Jr., and many other "pastors" are spending millions of dollars to ad technology such as the use of holograms to beam, well, themselves into other churches, because that will help them "reach" more. More what, I have no clue. Greg has a few choice words for this idiocy, including the laughable notion that virtual representation is the same as "being there."

If that is Christianity, I am really not interested.

And it isn't just that. I know Christians who say they oppose torture, but the fact that their party supports torture and even cheers and brags about it (see George Bush), will do nothing to dissuade them from voting for the Republicans. I am still not sure how that works. If torture is evil, and the Republicans openly embrace it, then I am not sure how moral people vote for those Republicans. I am just being honest here. I would appreciate some clarity on that one, btw, as I continue to struggle with it.

And while less problematic, I am still also struggling with how so many of my conservative Christian friends talk about prayer. When someone survives a serious accident, and then attributes all of that to prayer, I ask myself about those who's outcome is not as good. Did they not pray hard enough? Or recruit enough people? Why is it that when the outcome is good, it is proof that God answers prayer, but when the outcome is bad, it is proof that we just don't understand God? We understand him just fine when he does what we want.

Just not sure what to think with those kinds of disconnects. Christians who conflate huge churches with some kind of theological "goodness," or those who see torture as "bad" but not bad enough to do anything about it. Or those who give me a bizarre popular vote version of God.

I don't get it.


Monk-in-Training said...

It doesn't have to be this way, Streak. The world is full of good, decent Christians who follow Jesus in feeding the poor, visiting those in prison, caring for those people forget. We are all around, please don't give up on this Faith that has been so tragically hijacked by political heathens.

I can show you as many examples as you care to know.

Streak said...

I know Monk. I really do. I am just struggling with some pretty weird theology right now. I am not giving up, though.

leighton said...

Not that there's anything wrong with giving up; I gave up on Christianity nearly ten years ago now, and have never regretted it. I am a better person for it in every way. There is no reason to give up on connecting with individual Christians, however. People are far more than the sum total of their reference group, even (or especially) when that group happens to be a social majority and subject to what Niebuhr called the inescapable gravitational pull of moral mediocrity.

Smitty said...

Given some of my clientele, I regularly correspond with pastors and "faithful" people. They never talk about the various prison ministries they've started or the reading or food pantry or job training programs they started from their churches to deal with crime victims' families and families of those who were incarcerated. They just do these good works, unnoticed, unless you ask them. That seems entirely in-line with the Christian way.

Unfortunately, my job also puts me in contact with people who wear it like a shiny metal badge with lights on it.

Many Catholics I know (my family included...I come from good ol' east coast roman catholic stock) are chastised by other degrees of faith as being "cafeteria" or "lukewarm."

Is it lukewarm? Or is it just appropriately quiet?

Is it cafeteria, or is it recognizing that faith has less to do with following an arbitrary set of rules (many of which the chastisers don't follow either) than it does living a life geared to finding peace? Arguing certainly is the opposite of peace...

So for every quiet practitioner who struggles with faith and belief but tries to live a good life, there is some vocal loudmouth on TV screaming and waving their hands proclaiming us to be a Christian-only nation. Unfortunately, I feel like more and more people, because the loud ones get the attention, feel like they also have to be that...voracious in their faith.

tink...tink. There goes my 2 cents.

Streak said...

I am actually wondering if these things qualify as Christian. I am not questioning their salvation. Who the hell knows? But suggesting that a hologram is just like what Paul would have done--or suggesting that good Christians can vote for torture supporters as long as they themselves don't support torture--or applying some magical crap about prayer--those things are not Christian. The people doing them may be. But those actions are not Christian.

And today my head-banging-keyboard moment is because those Christians seem to not even think about it. Sure, they can tell me that I need to have a quiet time because all Christians have to do that, and if I don't conceptualize God in the same way, then I am clearly not on the right path. But think about the moral implications of choices, votes, money, cities, education, taxes?

Surely evangelical christianity can do better than this. Surely.