August 1, 2022 Wayne Northey

Interaction With: When Christianity Becomes Toxic ‘Christianism’

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August 1, 2022

WN: This reflection by a top Christian ethicist is pointed, powerful, and hopeful! Please click on the image to learn more about him. I have read other books and articles by him with real appreciation. My favourite, initially co-authored with Glen H. Stassen, but re-edited after his death, is: Kingdom Ethics, 2nd ed.: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context.

His final paragraph of the article highlighted below is sobering:

Whatever we call it, anyone who has any understanding of and commitment to a healthier, recognizably Christ-following version of Christianity must fight hard for the integrity and survival of such faith — and for the excising of the cancer that is overtaking Christianity in this country today.

He rightly does not mince words!

There is much else on this website along similar lines recently added, and there is much, earlier.

Now for a lighter side, though with serious intent. Warning though, it is not everyone’s cup of tea:

excerpts:

Many people appear baffled about the hard-right turn in U.S. conservative religion.

It’s not just a turn to politics, or to hard-right politics, that is problematic. It is the apparent amorality, the cruelty, bigotry and snarling spirit that is so impossible to reconcile with the Spirit of Christ.

It’s the nasty cast of characters who are most associated with “Christians” in politics today, including (just for a start, the list is endless) the rogue’s gallery of Florida Republican Congressman Matt Gaetz, Georgia Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, Colorado Republican Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, Pennsylvania Republican gubernatorial candidate and election-denier Doug Mastriano, the supposedly newly converted Trump dirty trickster/pardoned criminal Roger Stone, and of course Donald J. Trump his very own self.

It’s the way the crowds at the rallies of these people eat up the toxic red meat these figures throw to them. Christians used to be the victims in the Roman Colosseum. These “Christians” are more like the Roman leaders and their debased crowds, baying for blood.

The debasement of U.S. right-wing Christianity is only baffling to those who have been exposed to a different understanding of what being a Christian is supposed to be about. You know, old-timers like me, who walked uninvited into a Southern Baptist church building in 1978 looking for something I did not know how to name, but whose name turned out to be Jesus Christ.

Over a four-day conversion experience, I learned enough from and through devout Christian people to be led into an encounter with Jesus himself. I was exposed to people whose demeanor was gentle, whose speech was clean and kind, whose integrity turned out to be rock solid, whose moral plumbline was the instruction offered in the New Testament, whose life purpose was to follow Jesus, and whose mission was to share the gospel with others. These were the people who led me to faith in Christ and who discipled me at the early stages of my walk with Jesus. They were not perfect. But they were recognizably and seriously Christian.

It’s the way the crowds at the rallies of these people eat up the toxic red meat these figures throw to them. Christians used to be the victims in the Roman Colosseum. These “Christians” are more like the Roman leaders and their debased crowds, baying for blood.

There were other versions of old-time, pre-Trump Christianity that I might not have liked as much but that were still very different from the cancerous thing that is spreading among white conservative Christians in America today. I was exposed to these other varieties as well. There was the smart, humane, post-Vatican II Catholicism in which I was raised, the charismatic Anglicanism of a girl I dated, the earnest social-service mainline Methodism of some friends of my parents, the doctrinaire Lutheranism of a few folks I knew, the passionate Black church faith of some of my friends from school.

Please click on: When Christianity Becomes Toxic ‘Christianism’

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