I have studied Jesus of the bible throughout my life and his example of love, compassion and selflessness has made me a true believer in the Christ-centric way of life. I have been able to see my faith from outside and inside the church and after 55 years on this earth have come to the conclusion that American Christianity has little place in my Christ-centered life. I have watched religious influence drastically change its purpose. Projects to combat famine have morphed into America First diatribes. Programs that help women, children and refugees have mutated into national allegiance groups where children are stripped from their parents and put in separate prisons in order to inflict as much pain as possible among people that are already violated & oppressed. I have seen educational safety programs transformed into second amendment “save our guns” rallies. I have watched as women are repeatedly told that the sole purpose of their existence should revolve around God, husband & children and to reach further is arrogant & sinful. Women are supposed to hate sex until they’re married and then magically turn on their sex-drive on their wedding night. I have watched as women are forced to have baby after baby after baby because of manipulated bible verses that condemn family planning and birth control so that women can continue to remain part of the subservient class within the church. With horror, I watched as a small box was formed that all church members must fit into in order to be part of the club. Faith leaders are worshipped above Jesus as these “men of God” put forth a message of intolerance, bigotry and discrimination that members must adhere to. Where gun violence is considered part of church culture and protection of weaponry takes a pivotal role in keeping the undesirables out of not just churches, but community as a whole. Where money & power are king and everything, including human decency, takes a backseat.
This is the reality that has me most flummoxed. How can 70 million people, of which 80% call themselves Christians, vote for a man who is the total antithesis of who Jesus Christ was and who has exhibited a level of hatred, bigotry, misogyny and racism that this country hasn’t seen since our Civil War. A so-called “brilliant businessman” who has filed for bankruptcy six times and notoriously doesn’t pay his partners, vendors or employees after they have already done the work. A man that has a lifetime reputation as an adulterer and perpetrator of sexual assault. A man that recorded 30,573 verifiable lies during his term. A man who repeatedly spurred on an insurgency that left fear, death and destruction within our nation’s legislature. This was nothing short of sedition and a call to arms against our democracy and yet religious followers still back and lift up this traitor. WHY?!
I have come to the understanding that I will probably never understand. That my reality operates on a plane different than some of my fellow humans. Change, progress and inclusion are dirty words for those that want to live in a structured and well-defined existence, where people look, sound, worship and behave in uniformity that rarely deviates. A way of thinking that is so entrenched in white male domination that justice is more than an inconvenience, it is a threat to their existence. They equate equality as loss. Loss of law & order, loss of uniformity, loss of power, loss of economic superiority, loss of a servant class. Privilege is a word thrown around a lot but it is not strong enough to describe the oppression that has been heaped upon this world in the name of ______ (fill in the blank). The powers that be keep us in turmoil in order to control our freedoms and upward mobility. Some know this and make no apologies. Most are along for the ride because “this is just how it’s done”. There is comfort in the known.
Progressive Christianity is on the rise, but ultimately cannot keep up with what has become a mass Christian exodus. They offer a more loving faith, but are still fighting a battle for relevance every single week. People are tired of fighting. The American Evangelicals have muddied the waters so badly that many progressives can only see the hate and want no part of it. The progressive church gets pummeled in the process, even while presenting a more loving, inclusive God. They end up with a “we’re not one of those Christians” mantra that borders on religious pomposity and exclusion. We can’t decide what the role of the church is. I feel that love, peace and inclusion is the purpose, but know that there are some that require rules, control and power. Evangelicals call out perceived sin while progressives speak out against perceived injustice. It is a sad world that we live in when we cannot find a comfortable tension between love & sin. There will be no meeting of the minds when we can’t even be in the same sanctuary, so sitting in the pews, hoping to eventually, someday, see a glimpse of God sounds like an utter waste of a good Christ-centered life.