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Christianity is Divisive: Who Knew?


I’m not that fussed about Jeremiah Wright. I don’t think he’s done anything that hasn’t occurred in countless other churches for countless centuries. He represents to me the inevitabilit y of humanity to imprint and subjugate the precepts of Christ’s teachings. Our hands did everything from kill the Son of God to, well, the crusades, blessing wars, following warriors masquerading as popes, support for capital punishment, corporal punishment (spare the rod and spoil the child),  slavery, invading and taking over countries under the guise of Christian conversion, supporting the systemic violence forcing women to be subjected to men, and an ongoing concerted persecution of gay and lesbians.

Love your brother, indeed.

Christ, on the other hand, the Lamb of God and Prince of Peace, is not about any of that. The Sermon on the Mount is about nonviolence and loving your enemies, an action he personified by facing his accusers nonviolently  ; while violence was heaped upon him at the time of his murder he continued to respond nonviolently .  His influence and lessons inspired the first centuries of pacifist Christian history. The Just War doctrine, first espoused by St Augustine (354-430 AD) declares all war s a sin even when declaring it occasionally a necessary evil is an example. Stopping the fighting between clergy and monks in the Middle Ages is another. There’s also that little issue of the persistent tradition of Christian pacifism still rearing its annoying head today.

Seem s like some folks want to hear the message and some folks want to make the message. Humility can be a real bitch; it’s simply not in our nature. Christ put so much emphasis on it and walked the walk to show it could actually be done. The gauntlet, shall we say, was thrown. It would appear that it’s much harder pick it up than it is to just throw things ourselves.

Getting back to Wright, I think this is a pastor who is as much a part of the human imprint on Christianity as he is Christ’s. The good deeds are there; he worked with the poor and helped the desperate. He’s also succumbed to the elixir of humanity. He blessed racial tension. The fact he’s a pastor means little here, unless we are really ready to rip open the gay persecution in pulpits across this country, the subjugation of women in sects that have sent the popularity of full length denim skirts to new heights and who are happy to marry the 60 year old man to the 18 year old woman and not see the lechery and treachery within, or the conflict of mega churches and the money crazed foundation on which they are built.

Wright is a symptom of a problem with organized religion that supersedes race.  That’s where his soapbox is, but we all can see that there are a multitude of soapboxes. Until we are willing to accept that there is a disconnect between the message and the messenger, that what we frequently hear in God’s house has strayed from the message of love we were given so long ago and fail so miserably to apply to our lives, we will continue to throw stones.

It’s just so much easier than picking up that dusty gauntlet in the corner.

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2 Responses to “Christianity is Divisive: Who Knew?”

  1. Well said Jet. And of course, Christianity isn’t the only organized religion to be divisive, both within and outside of itself.

    ALL religions stray from their basic creeds of love, peace, and helping each other. ALL organized religious institutions are bastardized versions of their eternal messages, which (not surprisingly  ) are markedly similar among world religions.

    Regardless of the true historical reality of the central figures of the various faiths, the underlying message of religion, including Christianity  , is that we need to seek towards a combined humanity, one that not only treats each other with dignity and respect and love, but also to do the least amount of harm to others, including the natural world.

    That humanity has strayed, and continues to stray, from these central ideals comes as no surprise- we are imperfect creatures trying to (or in many cases paying lipservice to the pretense) live up to perfect ideals. The unfortunate part of it all is that religions, once organized, cease to remember these basic premises, or at best, apply them selectively while casting stones at other faiths.

    For me, this disconnect, and the strong efforts to reinforce the disconnect, is what makes organized religious institutions such harmful entities in our world. For they do not exemplify their purported basic tenets, but rather too often take on the mask of that they claim to hold in disregard.

  2. Thanks, Ken. I can’t write authoritativ ely about the other religions, although I agree they are all corrupted over time by human micromanagem ent.

    Thinking back over the events of the last week with Wright and Obama’s subsequent speech, I think we’ve been given a rare opening for truthful dialogue. Whether we step through is another matter entirely, and it will be noteworthy to look at who chooses to block the door.

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