What Christianity Offers Us
It is helpful, I think, to reiterate from time to time that what I publish issues from my own personal convictions and, I may add, that of a large segment of the American people.
Not that it matters. What is of paramount importance is whether or not the people of this nation can be made to understand the dangers of power politics in which the rewards go to the strong and not to the right.
Things have in fact become so serious right now to give too much importance to the effects of what one says on the sensitivities of one’s peers and colleagues. A writer like Orwell could hardly have imagined the kind of animal farm American society has become. Again, it is here that I think Christianity offers us a perspective that politics can’t – that the purpose of life is to love God and love our neighbor, that Christ is the only answer to the wickedness and abysmal horror of our warmongering, and that a man lives only to the extent that he dies to himself.
In earthly terms, Christ’s mission was a complete failure, since it led to the cross. I imagine our power-hungry populace shouting, “Crucify him, crucify him,” so intoxicated are we with our comfortable lifestyles and, conversely, so repulsed are we by religious upstarts wearing sandals of peace. We prefer instead the small shrewd men who trumpet abroad how much they are willing to spend of America’s largess on enabling the common people to scrape up enough purchasing power to grease government’s lard with butter. (The allusion to the presidential candidates, save Ron Paul, will be obvious.)
None will deny that the hour is late. Nor is there any reason to hope that we will soon be delivered from our unbrotherliness to our fellow men. Modern man is spiritually sick, yet the treatment we persist in using presupposes that he is only ignorant, or poor, or discriminated against. If I may speak from recent personal experience, it is like taking a temporary palliative for a heel that can be cured only by healthy exercise. I see this wishful thinking at work in the tendency of many Christians to want to be told who to vote for, relying on “expert” evangelical leaders so that there might be “expert” grounds for preferring this or that candidate. The amount of information – or misinformation – behind the opinion matters not. The result is always to train the weapons of ignorance against ourselves.
It is, I think, dangerous to make even the slightest concession to this mentality. Frankly, I believe the evangelical church is scared – scared to face the truth about its statism, scared to face its this-world-centeredness and, therefore, scared to face its own corruptibility. Our present mood of crisis comes from the unrelenting feeling that we have failed to master ourselves or to deal with our neuroses or to acknowledge our political-economic lies. All of this stems from a much larger failing, namely the inability to recognize that the pursuit of happiness is the ultimate American scandal.
So I come back to where I began, to that piece of wood to which our dark egos must be nailed if we are ever to make progress in this life. Genuine Christianity (and not that detestable form of evangelicalism we have become so accustomed to) has much indeed to offer us, if we would only give it a fair shake.
November 13, 2007
David Alan Black is the editor of www.daveblackonline.com.