My friends, I know I said last night that I had a big story to break, but I have to wait. I had something occur that was so troublesome that I had to report it to certain Federal law enforcement authorities and a nationally known advocate for religious liberty issues… Since the Feds are doing their thing and that I am scheduled to talk in person with the religious rights advocate on Friday I need to hold off on posting what I have written about the encounter. I hope that by the weekend that I can post it, if I don’t you may see it in the news… but I digress…. It will have to wait for the weekend if then, so tomorrow you will get my latest revision to my Gettysburg text and tonight this….It all depends on what your definition of being a “Christian” is….
That being said my friends I don’t think I am a Christian anymore… but then being a “Christian” really does depend on what your definition of being a Christian to use the words of former President Bill Clinton…well… is….
Well at a least to what I hear from some people but I tend to disagree with them, if it means what they say being a Christian is….
Elevating your interpretation of the Bible over Jesus…
Using your interpretation of scripture to damn other people, even if there are equally valid interpretations from other Christian sources…
Elevating partisan political issues above the commands of Jesus…
Being more concerned with political power than caring about people…
Demonizing anyone that disagrees with whatever pet doctrine that you hold dear…
Accuse others of the most horrible, unbelievable and false conspiracies and then claim that God told you…
The funny thing this is not new. Such behavior by Christians goes back over a millennium. Let’s face it the Roman Catholics and Orthodox split over one word in the Nicene Creed that described the precedence of the Holy Spirit. The Protestant Reformers elevated their interpretation of scripture over the Roman Catholic instance on scripture being interpreted through Church Tradition and the theology of Thomas Aquinas. The Radical Reformers insisted on believer’s or adult baptism over infant baptism, and the list goes on and on with the creation of each new Christian sect. Hell, even last century the early Pentecostals insisted that unless one had been baptized in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of “speaking in tongues” that you were not a Christian.
Among these various denominations and sects these doctrinal issues are still officially in place, even if many church members don’t understand. The only difference is now that many of these people, who I would say are sincere in their beliefs have come together under a political banner, condemning secularists, atheists, and other non-believers to ensure that the Christian franchise remains on top. This was the whole intention of the Manhattan Declaration of a few years back. Throw aside centuries or actual theological and doctrinal differences in order to keep political power, yes that is the Christian way. Martin Luther united with the “anti-Christ” Roman Catholic Church to exterminate the “enthusiasts” and Anabaptists during the Peasant’s Revolt, and there are plenty of other examples that I will not cite here, but forgetting doctrine to keep power is nothing new for Christians.
Be assured that if all the groups that the now supposedly politically unified Christians now oppose were wiped out and their survivors had no more rights than let’s say non-believers under radical fundamentalist Moslems, that these supposed Christians would start fighting each other again to keep power. That is the nature of humanity, that is the nature of religion, that is the unalterable nature of life.
If you are a “true believer” in any of these Christian traditions you may disagree with me, but in your heart you know I’m right because you know that you are right, and if you are right then no one else is, and your power and stays must be maintained regardless of the cost. That my friends is the nature of Christianity which is more grounded in politics and power than it is in Jesus. Eric Hoffer wrote about “True Believers”
“A doctrine insulates the devout not only against the realities around them but also against their own selves. The fanatical believer is not conscious of his envy, malice, pettiness and dishonesty. There is a wall of words between his consciousness and his real self.”
Disagree with with me if you will but since I paid a lot more attention to church history and systematic theology and philosophy in seminary than most people do I can whip this stuff out without even looking at my notes. The fact is that once an external enemy is defeated, those within the community, even Christians of different denominations, who are different must also be defeated, humiliated and destroyed.
That my friends is the truth of history, that is the ever present witness of supposed Christians who value their political power, their economic position, and their place above all others. Alliances between various Christian sects are almost always temporary, never once have Christian sects who have united to face down what they think is an existential threat to themselves have maintained their unity after the threat is eliminated.
So it is… It really is not about a truth, nor is it about faith, nor is it about love… it is about naked brutal power. Power that is only satisfied when the ones seeking it have eliminated all opposition, even that of former allies.
That is why I say that it is all about “what your definition of Christian is.”
So if my belief and trust in Jesus is not enough for the true believers… I am okay with that.
If the fact that I am baptized, confirmed and even ordained is not enough for the true believers… I am okay with that.
If my belief which is grounded in scripture, tradition and reason is not enough for the true believers is not enough… I am okay with that.
If I do not use the name of Jesus to bludgeon non-believers and if I do not ally myself to the Christian true believers who seek their political power and are willing to make temporary alliances with those that they despise in the process…. I am okay with that.
If that means to be a Christian, then I am not… I am okay with that.
I guess that if this means to some to be a Christian then I am not a Christian… then I am okay with that.
If being a hateful, self righteous person who despises all that do not believe like them which is the litmus test of what it is to be a Christian then I am not a Christian… and I am okay with that too.
If those are the things that are now what are the marks of being a Christian, then I do not want to be one… I am okay with that. I would rather follow Jesus than be labeled that kind of Christian.
After all, in the end it is about what God thinks, and not what your definition , or my definition of what being a Christian is.
I guess that Bill Clinton was really on target when he said that it all “depends on what your definition of is is” especially for politically minded Christians who don’t give a wit about what the doctrine of the churches actually is until they eliminate external opposition and can concentrate on eliminating the “heretical” Christians who were at one time their allies.
That is the ugly truth of “Christian” history.
Condemn me if you want, but first take a look at history, especially the history of other Christians who once they eliminated external threats persecuted those that did not believe just like them.
As far as me, I am now no longer on the defensive. I am taking the offensive against people who value their privilege, power and place in society more than they do the simple command of Jesus… to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.
As far as me, I will fight and protect the rights of the same people that condemn me to Hell. I do this because as a human being; and because of my office that I am by law, obligation and and my oath to the Constitution that I am obligated to give them the protections and freedom that they refuse to give others. That being said, when they decide to mock me, attack me or threaten me I will not play the victim. I will use even legal and moral option available to me to expose those that do for what they are and that is what I have to keep a tight grip on for now.
You cannot believe how much that I want to expose those that attack me using the freedom that I by my service and oath strive to protect. Honestly I cannot wait to tell you what transpired over the last two days, bur right now I cannot. So until I can, I am yours,