Tuesday, September 25, 2012

In which the Geezer Rants About "Christians"

I don’t like metaphorical closets.  I was in mine for the first 40 years of my life, and it was a deadly place for me.

Still. . .

I have had it with so–called Christians who batter all of us over the head with their so–called Christian morality, world–view, and customs.  I’m sick, sick, sick of hearing about the fantastical rapture, the fires of hell that are in store for sexually active gay people and others, the non–biblical earthly rewards that these so–called Christians believe God will give them if they “accept Jesus as my personal savior.”  I’m sick of it all, and I want these people to go into their own closet and stay there.

Once, at a gay friend’s retirement party, a woman “of a certain age,” who considered herself liberal (“How will this country ever recover from Bush?”), said to me as we sat next to one another at dinner: “I fully accept the fact that Michael and most of his friends are gay, but is there really a need to be so public about it?  Do you have to kiss one another whenever you meet?  Do you have to be so clearly gay?”  I deeply disagreed with her on this point, and we had a polite, even cordial, debate.

Now, though, I find myself thinking the exact same thing about so–called Christians:  Do you have to be so public about it?  Do you have to talk about your personal religious beliefs and experiences every chance you get?  Can’t you tell me that you consider yourself a Christian and just leave it at that?

It’s worse — oh, so much worse — when the so–called Christians are in public life.  Take the members of the tea party as an example.  Many of them call themselves "Christian," and at the same time call for an end to Federal and State government programs that help the poor, that protect old geezers like me, that take care of vulnerable women and children.  These are functions, they maintain, of the private sector, and especially of the so–called Christian churches.  Holding the Bible in one hand and Atlas Shrugged in the other, they prattle on warning of the coming socialist America and telling us that their Jesus wants everyone to accept him and, once everyone has accepted him, the earthly rewards of wealth, solvency, and security will be there for all of us.  It’s like some kind of magic for these people, and it is so NOT in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Jesus had one test of discipleship, and one method of evangelization:  “This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13/35, International Standard Version).  Jesus never counseled his disciples to win people over with promises of earthly wealth and success.  He never cautioned against doing too much for one’s neighbors.  He never said that governments have no role in works of mercy.

So, Paul Ryan and all you others: shut up about religion.  Shut up about the need for “faith–based programs.”  Shut up period.

If you want to be open about your faith, then do precisely what Jesus suggested: love one another.  If you all were to do that perfectly and limit your evangelization to love, then your churches couldn’t hold all the converts.

If that’s too much for you, however, then, please, stay in your closet!!!

1 comment:

  1. Nicely said. I'm neither gay or particularly Christian but I have many times wanted to tell the whole sanctimonious bunch of them to of them to just SHUT UP. I must confess to quitly adding a couple of extra words to the directive though :-)