A Perfect Villain, Post Five

If you read here at all, you understand my preference for Christianity over all other religions and, indeed, my preference for Christianity over no religion at all. If I prefer Christianity (and I do) it is because I prefer the Person of the Christ over the Face(s) of other Faith(s). The Christ is extraordinarily competent, while at the same time common. Jesus treasures both aspects of his nature. In fact, he would not be worthy without each.

I readily admit

my preference for what is now derided as 

muscular Christianity.

The flacid amorality

of what stands for religion now

with its vocal pieties

its social fashions;

mistaken, empty

wrong, just wrong

on the bad side of history 

and the wrong side of Scripture.

The Church believed in sacramental soteriology

until two generations after the Reformation;

then it all got changed.

How did God let us get it wrong

for so long?

Jesus does not order me to “kill the infidel.” My co-religionist predecessors who did kill unbelievers for their unbelief were very, very wrong. I am not commanded to “kill the infidel.” I am commanded, rather, to persuade the unbeliever, but only with word and deed, never with coercion. I am supposed to hear their story, as well as to offer his story.

In death, he does not move around my soul like some cosmic carpetbagger. He does not deny my consciousness. For him, as for his, religion is not just submission and life is not only suffering.  He embodies and offers love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, faith, goodness, meekness, temperance. There is no law against who he is or what he does.

If to be educated is to have the training and experience necessary to sift through  various insightful media presentations (which themselves vary from age to age), then to be religionized must mean to have the ability (wisdom, sophistication, meditational experience) to sift through the alternative facts offered by other religions and by those who prefer none at all, in order to find reality. We have to be able to think through our Faith.

Kierkegaard, the philosophical god-father of this generation of Christians (who may not know we descend from him or even know his name) believed our religion was not a fact-filled or reason accessible faith. He taught (and most of us agree) the God-Man leads us to, in and on an experientially rich life, replete with submission to God and service to one another. In the God-Man, we find out what to do and whom to follow when, as Prospero has it, “…the great globe itself, yea, all which it doth inherit, shall dissolve…”

I love Dr. K. I love his love of evangelism, which I also love.

I do not like to see him misquoted. To misquote a person may mean we put words in their mouths they never formulated. Or, and this is more dangerous, we may give their words applications they never intended.

Kierkegaard virtually brutalized the idea that we can subject God to human reason in order to prove the existence of God, or anything about God. The good Dane did not order us to cease our noisy thinking, but that seems to be how we took him. We are wrong to misquote him this way.

I will have more on Dr. K later, but I do not want to leave this post without amplifying where I started. I prefer Christianity because I prefer the Christ. I prefer him more that once I did in my sun-drenched youth, resident, as I was, in a tiny Bible-Belt Village, member, as I was, of a small clapboard church a half century ago. I prefer Christianity, after fifty years of study and experience because of its history, its culture and its eskaton. The God-Man did not come from nowhere, he did not leave us alone and he will be back presently.

I prefer the common Christ.


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