Monday, September 17, 2007

Ironic, isn't it...

That since I became an intentional follower of Christ I have avoided voting for self described "Christian" politicians, avoided if possible buying from businesses that label themselves "Christian" businesses, and so on.

I suppose that is because I've seen (and been a victim of the damage) these folks who trumpet the "Christian" label can do. Remember the Recalcitrant Tenant, the "Prosperity Gospel" pastor who left our house a filthy mess while owing us several thousand dollars in rent? I remember my father cheated into penury by a "Christian" business partner; of course Dad had put too much money into the business, but the guy was a Christian so he could trust him, right?

Of course look at the damage that "Christian" politicians have done to this country. John Danforth had it right when he said he did not think it a stretch that when the Religious Right took over the Republican Party, that the era of cooperation in Washington DC was over. You can't discuss or reason with people who are "right", who say "I know that I know that I know."

Here is a book review I got from the Ekklesia website for a book called God's Own Country. I think I'll have to read this.

Brian McClaren says in his book A Generous Orthodoxy that the hymn is called "Blessed Asssurance", not "Blessed Certainty." I love that. Faith is assurance, not certainty.

Anyway, part of the reason that my family of origin are not followers of Christ can be traced to my dad's step mother, who was one of the most vicious people I've ever met. Her tongue was described in the book of James. She also went to church at least 3 times a week. Although she attended a church that thought dancing was sinful, she would tease me if I didn't have dates for dances because I must be too ugly. She thought the worst of everyone, went through our drawers regularly looking for illegal drugs, and asked me how "far along" I was when I got engaged to my first husband (I wasn't "along" at all--she couldn't understand why anyone would marry me). My grandfather, who really was a dear man, was caught in this web cast by his wife as well--I remember him saying that since they had told my dad's cousin about Christ and she had not accepted, they didn't have to be nice to her anymore.

Sorry gang, that is coercion, not love. And that is what this is all about. It is not about love or the other gifts of the Spirit, it is about power and control. These "Christian" politicians use the name of our Lord to get elected, many (not all, of course, but enough) "Christian" businesses use the name of our Lord to lure unsuspecting patrons or partners or tenants so they can take them for as much as they can get, and family members reject others in the name of Christ while quoting,"I came to set daughter against mother..." to give "respectability" to why they do not wish to associate.

It is a wonder anyone wants anything to do with Christ. But therein lies the answer. Christ is loving but firm. He asks lots of us, but is not shaming or blaming if we do not respond, but sad. Christ is not after power or control. He just loves us, more than we ever can be loved. That is what I responded to in the past, and continue to respond to.

(Of course, there are politicians, business owners, etc who are Christians but they are politicians who happen to be Christian, vs Christian politicians. I think there is a difference.)

I'll end with something a Bible study partner said years ago: "There'd be more Christians if it weren't for Christians!"

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