30 November 2005

Have I Been Living In a Bubble?

I think the answer to that is, Yes. I have been living in a bubble. It's been more like a cloister. But still it's been a safe happy place. I've disturbed it lately. I've rippled the pond. I think this is a good thing, but I'm still more than a little sad by what I've found.

As a result of being sick earlier this month, sitting in my chair and extended hours of playing on my laptop I found some new blogs to read. I think I've said that before. I've spent quite a bit of time at a certain political blog with a definite bend to the left. Some things I agree with, others, not so much (as with everyone you meet). It can be sort of harsh at times, and hard to swallow. So small doses are often in order. As with our little community, there is a community of people who flock to this space and comment.

Here's what is currently burdening me as I read this blog and the comments therein.

Because of my past church affiliation, I know a lot of people on the "right" both politically and religiously (if that's a word). I know a lot of "fundamentalist" Christians. Almost to a person, they are gleeful that George Bush is in office. To them, he can do no wrong. It matters not that he lied to get us into this war in Iraq. Their words of explanation are many for that. For all of his perfidies and those of his associates, they have explanations or sometimes no explanation, for he can do no wrong they think. And I am stunned, for similar misbehavior on the part of other politicians of a different political party have brought forth streams of invective from these people; they have heaped tons of criticism and judgement for similar misdeeds from others of another party. But not for George Bush or his associates. Apparently his claims of salvation, of being Christian, are enough to buy their undying loyalty.

But it is far more damaging to the church to have these people in power. After reading this blog for a while, I read comments that range from "they prefer to live like children", people in the church are accused of not wanting to take any responsibility for anything, we have a "get out of hell free card" that absolves us of wrong doing, we've been called stupid, facile, evil, commentary reminding us of what a "certain Jewish carpenter" might have said. The world knows these leaders are behaving like serious hypocrits and they are drawing the line out to the rest of us as well.

The problem is that I wonder sometimes if they might be right. I wonder if most of the churches, or the people in the churches might just be like George and his associates. Or Jerry and Pat and all the rest. They must be. Because no one is standing up and saying anything about it.

The only people saying anything about Jerry Falwell's vile Take Back Christmas campaign are people in the world. And Christian's flocking to his backside, Christian's claiming a false sense of persecution.

No one stood up and said anything about Pat Robertson's shocking "contract" on Venezuelan president Chavez last summer. That was anything but Christian. Christians everywhere should have loudly and summarily distanced themselves from Mr. Robertson and the "faith" he was peddling. That was not Jesus he was talking about, and we needed to be loud and clear about it.

I think we need to be more careful about who takes the national microphone and speaks for the Church. But then I think, who has control of that? I wonder who is standing in the wings with a big hook and allows people out on stage to take the mic? Who is it that lets Jerry out there but not Jim Wallis? Pat but not Tony Campolo? Who determined George Bush's faith more palatable, more tangible than Bill Clinton's?

My point is that we've got a lot to overcome if we're going to speak so these people can hear us. And now we also have to overcome the burden of prevarication as well. Into a generation that is already mistrustful, these leaders are sowing more seeds of distrust from the church itself. And I find myself traversing the pendulum between anger and heartbreak.


Blogger Mike Croghan said...

I'm so with you, Sonja. Unchurched folks in our culture are getting a clear message: "Be a Christian! We come in two flavors: nominal and raving wacko. Which would you prefer?" After growing up with that message, it's no wonder I didn't consider the Church as a credible path until the age of 31. In fact, it's a miracle (and I choose that word intentionally) that I did consider the Christian faith at all.

We gots a lot of work to do! Luckily, it's God's work, not ours really, but we have to be willing participants. It's going to take a lot more miracles if folks in post-Christian generations are going to consider a leap of faith over a chasm that we Christians have been ever-so-busily widening. Good thing we can expect miracles!


11/30/2005 12:36:00 PM  
Blogger Israel said...

I like Mike's response. I was one of those who widened the gap for many years. And I'm here with you Sonja... so there IS hope. I whole heartedly voted in Bush in 2000 and with much campaigning verve, too. And now, here I am, a much more moderate, even left-leaning thoughtful person. So, as Mike said, miracles DO happen... and are still happening in my life. I think some 1 or 2 were praying for me. Pray for Jerry, Pat, Bush, etc... but pray most for your influence on your friends... it was the thoughtfulness of my friends Tom and Amy that over 4 years I came to rethink (or think at all) about wholesale acceptace of anyone who says "I'm saved."

11/30/2005 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I don't think that the majority of Christians follow those lines. I think that the problem is apathy. For some reason it seems that most of the people who are not apathetic, are those loonies, so that's who we hear. Before I found Mars Hill, I was looking for some sort of church that wouldn't make me cringe. I didn't think a good one existed, but I didn't have any idea what to do about that, so I was just looking for a place where I could worship without leaving angry every Sunday. Talking to a lot of old friends, a lot of people feel that way, but it is just so much easier to keep quiet about it. Or, even if we want to speak up, we don't know who to speak to.

12/01/2005 12:27:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Croghan said...

Too true, Maggie; I think you've put it very well. And I know (now) that the majority of Christians don't follow those lines, but I thought they did, growing up. And I think a lot of post-Christian young people get that message. Loud loonies + apathetic non-loonies + mass media that think loonacy and apathy make fine stories = a clear, if inaccurate, message. Those of us who know there's a better alternative need to get the word out!

12/02/2005 11:29:00 PM  

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