American Christianity

American is sometimes called the most Christian nation in the developed world. Whatever. I think we have a lot of stuff going on here that gets called Christianity. I’m having more and more trouble deciding what that means. It seems to mostly be people arguing about who Jesus was rather than trying to do what he said. This takes several forms, the two which seem most common are characterized (somewhat unfairly) below:

Conservative American Christianity
We are Bad, Jesus is Good. Jesus was sacrificed to restore us to God. We need to Believe that to go to Heaven. What he said wasn’t all that important. He saved us by his Blood. God wants to reward our faith so we need strong rights and rules about property etc. I must be doing something right in God’s eyes or else why would I have such a nice house and car. Charity is good as long as we take care of our own first and don’t give away the fish when we should be teaching people how to fish. Can I send some money to someone who will teach people to fish in a Biblically-Based way? We need to be converting people to the faith since then they will be saved like us, even it means War. Sometimes the consequence of spiritual warfare is suffering here on earth. Not as bad as how Jesus suffered for us. That was really bad. I saw the movie.

Liberal American Christianity
Jesus was really a social reformer, who spoke out against tyranny and oppression and pretty much agrees with my Modern Liberal Views(tm) on everything. Since I volunteer at the food bank twice a month, I am following his lead. Go Me! Its a shame the government doesn’t give more to these people since its hard for me to find the time to help out more. We shouldn’t focus so much on conversion. We should just be nice to people or find some poor people to help and that will make them want to come to our church and hear our pastor preach about how important it is to be nice to people and not judgmental like those other Christians are. After all we need some more people in church cause gosh we are all so busy and there aren’t enough people to be on the Fellowship committee.

Neither of these views have ever been very satisfying to me. I have spent time with both kinds of people and they both I think miss the mark. Both camps seem to be trying to hard to make their religion agree with where they are right now. There’s talk about conversion experiences and “growing in the sprit” but mostly its about how good it is that we are on right team and isn’t great that Jesus accepts us just like we are?

The Carpenter from Nazareth along with Lao Tze, Buddha and The Gita, etc. in my view took a different approach. They say: “Here is a teaching. It is True. Follow this and you will grow and become better and as you become better so will The Creation. You can free yourself from fear, pain, doubt, suffering. It takes work. You must practice. “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it” The harder I look, the less in the way of intellectual revelation I find to be had. The gate is not hard to find but the path is hard to walk. What we think is less important than what we do. Our time is limited and there is a world to enjoy, a life to live and a Kingdom to build.

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Tend My sheep.”






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