In doing some research for our first Preview Service this Sunday night I have consulted a variety of different sources attempting to fully wrap my mind around the true perception of the American Church. Although reading and hearing from other Christian and cultural leaders is helpful I am always more intrigued but what people just like you and me have to say about the church. This morning I found this quote on a web-forum and I thought it was worth posting here. Read it. Analyze it. Think about it and respond to it.
Those of us “outsiders” educated in scripture and having studied the message of Jesus can’t help but feel the hypocrisy of present-day American Christianity. Where Jesus described material wealth as a major barrier to salvation and hung around with the marginalized of his society, we see most of his present-day followers align themselves with the rich and powerful (the Republican machine) and encourage resentment against a marginalized minority that has historically suffered persecution (homosexuals). Where Jesus preached non-violence and “love thy enemy”, we see many of his present-day followers enthusiastically support a foreign policy of extreme violence and unprovoked wars. This kind of hypocrisy is not really addressed in the book, and to me it is the elephant in the room. It is not just a case of not living what you preach. It is not just an example of “nobody is perfect”. At issue is the systematic corruption of the Gospel. Jesus’ self-described followers, many of whom affirm to be “biblical literalists”, to believe that every word of the bible is true, are disregarding entire chunks of Jesus’ teaching, including the Sermon on the Mount. We hear them most often recite obscure bible verses that they interpret as condemning homosexuality. (Never mind that Jesus himself was never recorded saying anything of the like, and never mind that Leviticus contains many other obscure prohibitions that nobody, not even self-described biblical literalists, gives a thought any more.) Yet we *never* hear them recite some of Jesus’ most provocative teachings: “Turn the other cheek”; “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God”; etc. I guess it is easier to hammer down on a minority than to practice non-violence and poverty. I am not faulting anybody for not being a saint. I do think that many Christians are cherry-picking the tenets of their faith. In the worst case, “Christianity” becomes a blueprint for conservative politics that bears no resemblance whatsoever with Jesus of Nazareth’s teachings. Toni – Arizona