Addendum: Sick Christianity

embracing the strangerAfter I posted a lesson entitled “Sick Religion” a few weeks ago, one of my best friends asked when I would have the courage to attack the real sick Christians among us. I was taken back, because I felt that was exactly what I was doing. I consider myself a lifelong student of false prophets who thoroughly enjoys my friends making fun of me for constantly watching crooked televangelists and reading lousy theologians.

I chose to use my writing and preaching to oppose their ideas and practices and thought I was being courteous by not mentioning names. Quite frankly, I am not sure it is fair to name a few when I find the whole lot to be a pack of false prophets, and that includes some whom my friends think deserve some respect. After continual attempts to be understanding, I cannot say I would use the word “respect” to express how I feel about any of them. I am convinced they exploit others, even though I am not sure that they are aware of what they are doing. Still, as another friend once observed, it makes no difference; it is still false prophecy.

Failing to see how such a good friend would not see what I doing, I asked him to dash off in a short email where I had gone wrong. He made clear he was thinking of those popular preachers who gather in the White House to use Donald Trump and to allow him to use them. This group talks as if they are engaged in a great crusade against evil that is out to destroy Christianity. Until Trump came along the government was used to persecute them. Now they believe he is leading them in a holy war that promises to restore the values of our nation and church.

The problem, as my friend sees it, is that these are not the values Jesus lived and died for. They have nothing to do with the Beatitudes or the Ten Commandments. Instead they all are efforts to maintain privilege, such as white supremacy, male authority, military security, wealth protection, heterosexual marriage, etc. My friend wrote that the only explanation he can see for their actions is a political opportunism that transcends all adherence to Christian practice.

Under normal conditions, I would feel no need to make clear that I completely agree. However, our times like those during the civil rights movement and the anti-Viet Nam war protests call for standing up against words and actions that deny the truth of the gospel and the world around us. Christians are to pray for the government and those who hold office, but they are also called to expose false prophets. In my mind these are those who claim they speak for God when they bless the work of Donald Trump. I increasingly think they are the greatest threat to the Christian tradition in our time.

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2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. John Myers says:

    Sick Religion. Sick Christianity. Sick Leaders. Sick People. As I ponder how you’ve put it, I agree we have observed a sea change in religion and it’s role in our society. It begs the question of what actually is religion. I think a good way to put it is religion creates a path for your journey in life. I think one of the reasons we have sick religion today is people have lost religion in this context.

    Trump is a symptom, not a cause. I was also appalled by his rise and the pandering by charlatan religious advisor posers. Yes, they use him and he uses them, but in order to be successful they need an audience. In our hearts, we people bought the lie. Our leaders are drunk on power, and we people are drunk on narcissistic self-worship with a side of wealth. We have allowed the party system to divide us into tribes to be used by those who excel in the lie. We have lost serious critical thought, true moral principles, and replaced them with the addictive sound bite, tweet or post.

    Where is religious relevance in the midst of this change in society? This is truly the threat to Christian tradition in our time. We who value religion are guilty of pandering to remain relevant – is this not what we’ve done in so many cases to keep the pews from being empty? The 2,000 year message is still relevant. There is hope in love. We must keep that message alive.

    • Fritz Foltz says:

      Really good thoughts, John. Interestingly, when I recently question if there was any value in trying to converse with the Christian Wrong my Monday night discussion group I was being too fatalistic. They offered hope that we might find some middle ground.

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