Through a quirk of fate, every year I am responsible for the essay that will arrive on this site, on Thanksgiving. For much of my Spectrum writing “career” I used this space, on this day, to take a break from the advocacy of any particular political or theological position and express a message of thankfulness. I did away with that tradition recently as events in the church and the world led me to want to use this opportunity for us to think differently about thankfulness and what that means. But I’ve struggled to write this year’s piece because I find it increasingly difficult to find, on a large scale, what I can be thankful for. There is so much bad news regarding so many of the things and causes I care about.
This is because “real Christians” if such a thing exists, and I’m inclined to believe that occasionally one dear sister or dear brother does happen along, if rarely, aren’t standing up and shouting from the rooftops, and backing up their message with any meaningful action or dialog or position in any effective way whatsoever.
For decades now the go-to response has been “The secular, elite media is lying about us.” I call BS on that tripe. If Christians were actually being Christians EVERYBODY would know it.
First, I love the arm wrestling shot. Just who is that buff in the foreground, Liberal Adventists or Conservatives? From Jason’s whining, it must be the conservative folk. But liberals control the colleges, and the Review and Ministry are not that conserviative.
Second, I could say much about Jason’s positions that are not true, but the one quoted above is worth exploring.
A. Christianity is often conflated with conservative Evangelicalism
This is only so because liberal Christianity has almost vanished. The Presbyterians, Episcopalians, Brethren etc. have hemorrhaged so many members they are indistinguishable from background noise. Besides, they just take the Democratic positions, and are only quoted when there is a counter to conservative Christianity needed. .
B. It saddens me that this political influence has been used to try and create a Christian society through the force of law,
Where has this happened? Conservative Christinas have little power. How can you say conservatives are winning when cross dressers are having story time in libraries? And the conservatives on the Supreme Court had protests outside their homes without any attempt to enforce the laws against such portests? Liberals control most of the media, the universities, the corporations, and half the politicians. Where is this Christian Nation idea gong to take hold?
C, This movement was born out of a desire to continue living by racist policies.
This is just plain baloney. Republicans supported the freeing slaves, while Democrats became the party of segregation, JIm Crow and voter suppression. The Democrats ruled the south for about 100 years and were the ones who passed all those bad laws, and did most of the lynching.
Now the Republicans are running a black man for Senator in Georgia’s, and a black man is a conservative on the Supreme Court. Racism?
Jason, you believe your own rhetoric to much. Get out of your bubble.
If, as you note, there are a few dear brothers and sisters that are “real Christians,” why does the world not know about them? Would you put Jason in the “real Christian” category based on the post he has written? Mine seems not to have met muster, but I was just responding to his.
Christians often live lives of obscurity, but still have influence. The mountaintop is swept by powerful storms, and only the most humbly submitted, who realize their weakness and flee to the safe haven of Jesus, can survive. And few there be that find it.
Maybe you need to define “real Christians” before lamenting their absence. I am aware of no perfect individuals but know many who would do anything for someone in need. Evangelical Christians are behind soup kitchens, relief agencies, and a myriad of helping projects from building houses to opening churches for homeless. Look behind most kind deeds and outreach and you will find a believer. If they were as political as charged their work would not be for others. It would be to raise money, not for the poor, but for political purposes. The elite talk a lot about justice, but what are they doing but making life worse for the innocent?
It seems to be the rich who don’t mind high gas prices to get to work, or pay for food. They talk about climate change in the future, but care nothing for the suffering world now. The greatest threat to human life is lack of food, oil for transportation and heating this cold winter and those to follow.
It’s sad that a Thanksgiving editorial turns political and blames our citizens for a legal decision on one issue. Thanks deserves a balanced reasonable response showing empathy with other views. No pole ever showed the right to nationwide abortion to be at the top of the list for the majority of our citizens.
While the rich and high middle class have no problem with gas prices to get to work, or oil to keep warm, and food for their families, most of our citizens put this at the top. And I would add the threat of nuclear war encouraged by this administration and the specter of people freezing in Ukraine and facing death. Then there is Afghan fading from memory and those trapped there and now forgotten.
Abortion is not the issue, but morality and education. Most people are not against abortion at early stages and in certain circumstances nor the use of birth control . But many politicians say it should be legal up to birth or when a child can live outside the womb. That is infanticide. It would be called murder after a regular birth.
The writer takes aim at “evangelical” Christians. Yet they do much if not most of the volunteer work for the poor. They have relief agencies, churches who devote themselves to service. He talks about all the other isms but ignores the dislike expressed against Christians. No helping Christian hates other races or genders. The isms have been overblown so that every racist with a disturbed mind will want to shoot someone. I agree with gun limitations, instruction, and registry; but it won’t stop hate by a significant few with mental illness. Every one claiming the name Christian isn’t Christian, and even those who are, lack perfection in all they write or say. We have opinions. So looking at life from their side, some Christians believe a literal biblical text and seek to live by it. Let’s be real --it’s not because they hate anyone. There is no basis for any threat by religious people to our government and Republicans (I’m not one) just want to be treated fairly and honestly. They are half the nation and the backbone. I am thankful they exist to keep us from going too far downhill.
assuming we’re talking about our Church in these sentences, i’m definitely thankful for my Church…i don’t always make it to Church - sometimes it’s better for me to sleep, lounge around, go for a long walk, or a drive - but when i do go, i always come away thinking to myself that my time was well-spent…
yesterday, Church service was mainly our Children’s Cantata presentation - a Xmas special…around 40 kids, 5-10 yrs-old, took to the stage, singing 5 or 6 songs, all by memory, with pretty good pitch, excellent rhythm, excellent ensemble, and lots of enthusiasm…their parents had dressed all of them well, and every face was beaming…my Church doesn’t usually believe in clapping, but we couldn’t help ourselves at some moments…the Church itself was packed to pre-pandemic levels - at least 1,400 - 1,500…
it was great to take in the innocence of the performing kids, feel the unity and momentum of the crowd during song service, hymns, and our elder’s prayer, and to see and chat with people i’ve known for yrs and yrs…there’s nothing like a successful Church, with tons of programs, and an intelligent pastoral staff…
Neither Jason’s post nor his status as a Christian were the point of my comment. I was specifically addressing what in my opinion was a less than christian characterization of “whining” that was leveled at Jason for no other reason than he shared his opinion.
Strong work, my friend, strong work.
We wonder why people choose NOT to “flee to the safe haven of Jesus” yet we fail to critically examine our own disdainful interactions with them as a primary cause of their decisions…