From my friend, David Austin. He really sums it all up pretty nicely and ties a big bow around it. This is priceless. Thanks, David.
YOU CAN READ THIS ON DAVID'S BLOG, ALONG WITH SOME OF HIS OTHER WRITINGS.
Jesus is not for wusses.
Posted on February 2, 2010 by QuakerDave
This comes from a couple of very interesting “conversations” I had with a couple of virtual friends on a certain social networking site where I spend way too much of my time lately, on the subject of religion and faith. If that sort of subject matter turns you off, feel free to click on elsewhere. I’m not going to debate the existence of God or the evils of organized religion in general with you, so let’s not go there, okay?
And some of my Friendly friends might take issue with perhaps what they will read as the “hard” tone this post may take, but understand that I say all this in the spirit of love. Honest.
Still here? Cool.
The conversation started when someone posted a link to an old blog post concerned the propensity of certain members of the Christian Far-Right – mostly the folks I refer to as Multi-National Evangelicals - who seem to spend an inordinate amount of time tending to the care and breeding of their persecution complexes. We get a dose of it every holiday season with the annual “war on Christmas” prattle. Then whenever those darn gay folks start kicking up a fuss about something, like they are now over the President’s promise to do “something” about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (here’s a clue, sir: it’s called an “Executive Order”), our Far-Right brothers and sisters drag out all that “traditional family values” stuff, and how the “family” (presumably NOT the ones headed by gay and lesbian heads-of-households?) is “under attack.” Shoot, even the Pope was moaning about this last week, about how the whole wide world sems to just hate all us defenseless widdle Christians.
Are we serious?
Here’s what I see, in terms of real-life evidence to the contrary:
The overwhelming majority of the American population claims to believe in God, and the overwhelming majority of those folks self-identify as Christians of some sort. There are Christian churches on almost every street corner in almost every community in this country, and some of them are, like, really big. They all have tax-exempt status to carry on free of government interference (unless they’re a peace church, which is another whole blog post or two). Conservative Christians can run their own schools, and they don’t even have to teach, like, real science in them. Evangelicals have their own cable channels, radio stations and networks, magazines, music recording companies, movie production studios, web sites, and newspapers.
The overwhelming majority of the people who run our national politics go out of their way to self-identify as Christian. We have never had a non-Christian as president, and frankly, I don’t believe we’ll have a non-Christian president in my lifetime. Our presidents, regardless of party or political ideology, routinely fall all over themselves catering to Far-Right evangelical types, even though those folks do not represent a majority of folks of faith in this country.
So how exactly are these folks being “persecuted”? In fact, to be honest, I hear a lot more them doing the persecuting themselves. So why all the rather unattractive whining?
Besides the fact that it’s good for fund-raising, I mean.
You know, Jesus, as my late father the United Methodist lay preacher used to say, was a man’s man. HIS dad was a carpenter, a tradesman, a man who worked with his hands for a living. Jesus worked in that shop as a child. As an adult, he hung out with fishermen and other guys who worked outside. Guys, I’m betting, with tans and scruffy beards and callouses. You know, real guys. I never was one for picturing Jesus as all pasty and fey, as the classical artists and Hollywood have done. Jesus laughed. He hung out. He went to parties and drank wine. As my virtual friends reminded me, he also went a little nutso that day at the temple when he kicked over all those tables, and he got angry with his disciples when they kvetched too much.
He endured all sorts of REAL persecution and he never backed down.
I can only recall reading about him complaining once, and frankly, by then, it was understandable (he was nailed to a cross at the time, as I recall).
He wouldn’t recognize these people as his followers, I don’t think.
Because Jesus wasn’t a weenie.
What kind of a weak religion do these folks have, to moan and complain like this? What kind of faith is that?
In her book Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, Anne Lamott (a woman, as another friend once told me, who knows) said this about faith:
I have a lot of faith. But I am also afraid a lot, and have no real certainty about anything. I remembered something Father Tom had told me — that the opposite of faith is not doubt, but certainty. Certainty is missing the point entirely. Faith includes noticing the mess, the emptiness and discomfort, and letting it be there until some light returns.
I like that. Faith is messy, yeah. Because like a lot of other messy things we humans get involved in (marriage, governing, etc.), faith takes work. It isn’t easy. If it was simple and easy to come by, everyone would have it. Because faith isn’t about taking the easy route that some people seem to think constitutes faith, which is really just blind acceptance or blind obedience. That’s not faith: that’s fascism. Faith is a long, tough, twisty, steep hike, buddy, and if you’re going to go on that journey, you better wear your sturdy hiking shoes. Sometimes the road is flat and effortless, and sometimes it’s full of big rocks and broken glass and other people’s cigarette butts. And sometimes the way appears to be washed out completely. You can go on, or you can quit. Your choice.
But to just stand there and whine?
Man up, brothers and sisters.
But whatever you do, quit complaining. Please. It’s wimpy.