24 January 2005

The right question

"I would love to see fundamentalists pay more attention to Jesus. You know, how did Jesus become pro-rich, pro-war, and only pro-American?"
~ Jim Wallis

In an interview with the Boston Globe, Wallis cuts to the heart of a hugely divisive matter:

Martin Luther King said, "The church" – today we'd say religion – "is not meant to be the master of the state, nor the servant of the state, but is meant to be the conscience of the state." Now that means we don't just grab the levers of power and force our agenda. I think the religious right makes that mistake again and again. James Dobson thinks he has veto power over American policy.

But neither are we the servant of the state, meaning we just clean up the mess of bad social policy, provide good social services. We're also the prophetic voice. That's what King meant. . . . Let's have a real, deep, rich conversation about moral values. If we do, it'll cut both left and right.

Some Over the Rhine fans have started their own discussion on what this looks like.

Meanwhile, I'm still pondering Chris at Splinters' reaction to the news of the recent FoF attack on SpongeBob:

I think all the real Christians in the world, the ones that actually believe in Jesus Christ and understand his teachings, rather than pervert everything in the Bible into an excuse to spew shit-streaked, inflammatory hate propaganda, should get together, go round to Mr Batura's house and beat the shit out of him. [...] OK, fair enough, real Christians wouldn't do that. Can't we just ship all these insane right wing fucks out to Fallujah and bring the Iraqi civilians back to the States and let the US wipe up its own mess for once under the cleansing power of napalm? The world would be no poorer for their absence.

Clearly tolerance is not on my agenda today. Lord, you have made me a channel of your incredulity that people can be so stupid. But, sweet Lord, why do so many cretinous people take your name in vain? Why can't they channel all that hatred and aggression into doing something worthwhile, like raising money for the tsunami victims, or their local homeless, or just rearranging their tie collection? Why can't you arrange some righteous smiting for the 21st century? There was carpet bombing on the Road to Damascus, true, but that's not quite what I meant. I would give anything, anything, for the Second Coming to actually occur in my lifetime just so I could watch Jesus, live on CNN, chucking some thunderbolts around at Mr Paul Batura and his ilk. Because if there is truly any celestial justice, they will be the first to go to hell.

I'm still very moved by these words--they've given my heart another hairline fracture. How are Christians losing the plot so horrifically? As John Lennon said, "Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

And Linford Detweiler writes:
I can fling handfuls of muddy joy at a whitewashed church
That all too often misses the point
And missed the point again
A church that would rather be white than alive

When will love and truth win the day? The conversation is being carried to a new level. I only hope that it cuts through the crap soon. Too many are being lost to lies...

I’m sick and tired of hearing things
From uptight, short-sighted, narrow-minded hypocritics
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth
I’ve had enough of reading things
By neurotic, psychotic, pig-headed politicians
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth

No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
With just a pocketful of hope
Money for dope
Money for rope

I’m sick to death of seeing things
From tight-lipped, condescending, mama’s little chauvinists
All I want is the truth
Just gimme some truth now

I’ve had enough of watching scenes
Of schizophrenic, ego-centric, paranoiac, prima-donnas
All I want is the truth now
Just gimme some truth

~ John Lennon

(P.S. Sam Phillips does him a good turn.)

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