I’ve been engaged in some good discussions lately about Christianity as a sleeping pill, as a way of making people within a society complacent and accommodating. I’m pretty sure that when Nazi Germany was rising, there were plenty of sermons about Romans 13, submitting to your governing authorities, and the need to turn the other cheek and not be so judgmental. And indeed, history does seem to support that as evidenced by the fact that a good chunk of churchian power went and sided with fascism. So it is not a false accusation or an unworthy discussion to have.
You’re darn tootin the church and religion in general can make people very sleepy and complacent, willing to tolerate things that should just not be tolerated. Jesus isn’t like that at all, but His word in the hands of institutions and men sure can be. Just ask the pharisees how it’s done….
Or better yet, just go stand on the red dot next to the taped off pew in church with your mask on and sing, “no longer a slave to fear.” Even the current VP read the Bible to us on TV and chided us about the need to inject experimental substances into our bodies so as to prove we love our neighbor.
Lettuce take a giant leap here and speak of the grace of coffee. Chuckling because I am all about the coffee idolatry, coffee simply being a rather benign substance that is a useful analogy. While being mildly addictive, it is not likely to land someone in jail and destroy families. Coffee is also not our salvation, it is not redemption, it is not saving grace. So in theory, if one cannot act like a Christian before having their morning coffee, we have a problem. However, I have a problem with that entire statement. First of all, what’s with the word “act?” Faith is not an act, nor are we actors. Second of all, how come the standard of alleged Christian morality is now directly related to your own comfort level around my behavior?
Does my being fully caffeinated and therefore having a charming disposition towards others denote some kind of morality whereas being un-caffeinated and grouchy does not?? To a legalist or a narcissist, yes. My faith now totally revolves around my performance, mostly how well I perform for YOU, how beneficial my behavior is to YOU.
Like, running about in the wilderness uncaffeinated with matted hair, feasting off of locus and honey while baptizing people in the river obviously makes me a social outcast, and therefore a bad Christian? Of course not, but that really is a prominent mindset within Western Christianity. Nice people who comb their hair and speak gently in the morning are “good” Christians, whereas the cranky and short tempered, the obvious hot messes, are not.
“By whose standard,” is really a quite brilliant bit of wisdom. What makes me a good Christian? Unquestioning obedience to the vice president? Wearing deodorant, looking presentable, and making sure I am properly caffeinated? Making all the right choices? My charming disposition?
Laughing here, but that last one certainly helps in the sense that God is actually excited to see me in the morning and I have found favor with Him! Seriously, if every time you talk to God you are either wailing in despair or screaming in outrage, He may be less inclined to really want to hang out with you. However, grace itself is dependent on nothing but the blood of Jesus. (Less inclined does not mean unwilling. Take you hot mess and wailing despair right to His feet. He will be there for you.) Just saying.
So what is responsible for the decline of America, for the fact that we now have men without chests, for us being so complacent, so easily led by fear? We have been taught to root our faith in an act, in a performance, in a set of Western behavioral standards, in a culture. We’re all very compliant and obedient, tripping over ourselves to win people favor in fact, but obedient to what?? To whom?
The what, whom, or Who is an absolutely critical part of the equation because as the saying goes, “Rebellion to Tyrants is Obedience to God.”