Friday, May 25, 2012

Saving Christianity

It's sad when I seem to get more information about things happening stateside by reading bloggers in England than I do looking at my own local news.

This just in from the brilliant and witty blog, Of Course, I Could Be Wrong:
Scores of Maine churches will pass the collection plate a second time at Sunday services on Father's Day to kick off a fundraising campaign for the lead opposition group to November's ballot question asking voters to legalize same-sex marriages. Between 150 and 200 churches are expected to raise money for the Protect Marriage Maine political action committee, said Carroll Conley Jr., executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine an evangelical organization and a member of the PAC. Conley is also trying to drum up support for the Maine campaign from religious leaders from around the country.

Such direct fundraising efforts on behalf of a political campaign should result in those churches losing their tax-exempt status.  But, then again, it seems we have entered into a new error era of politics in the United States where we say that corporations are people and political Super PACs can form overnight and run near-libelous ads with impunity.   And money, especially in the church collection plate, I suppose, could be considered "speech."

I responded to Mad Priest's post by, among other things, noting that it is the job of those Christians who do support marriage equality to become as loud, as present, as "out there" with their support as any fundamentalist "christian" church.  But MP raised another point:  should we consider starting a new name for our religious beliefs so we don't have to keep distancing ourselves from those who are perverting the name of Christ for hatred and greed?

Hmmm... maybe we could go back to calling ourselves the followers of "The Way."   After all, that's what we, who believe in the God that is Love, are all about: living into The Way.   That Way is the way of light, truth, love.  That Way is the path that Jesus so carefully and consciously taught to his disciples and anyone who would follow.  It is that Way that was supposed to be passed down from one generation to the next.  And that Way does NOT separate and divide, nor does it use the pulpit as a means to pulverize people.

I agree with MP that it is getting tiresome to always counter the angry hateful people who regularly give Christianity a bad name.   Their screaming and swinging Bibles like bats into everybody's head have made it hard for the rest of us to proclaim a belief in God as Christ when the image that conjures up for most of the "unchurched" is a face twisted into a fist to punch at gay people and pull money away from the needy.

And yet, I press on with calling myself a Christian, and not shying away from my belief in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  Christ doesn't need me to be some kind of defense lawyer to make his case.  Christ needs me, the queer, and all kinds of people to live and be the better representation of the Love that is The Way.

Here I am, Lord.  Send me.



phoebe McFarlin said...

Once in a while it pays to go way way way back to our roots.. Before we were Christians, we were Followers of The Way. Since Constantine when we got political, we have had problems.

Maybe for those of us who know the loving God, could find a tag line to Christian, or an adjective.. like The Loving Christians.

I agree that when a church service takes up a special offering to support political action.. they should be taxed. Separation of Church and State and all that stuff.

Grandmère Mimi said...

SCG, I'm weary, too, of being tarred with the same brush as the "Christians" who act out in hateful ways, but I don't know what we can do about it, except to repeatedly remind others that not all of us are like that. Some of us take seriously Jesus' command to love God and love our neighbor, and even our enemies.

The idea of a name-change is not likely to catch on soon, so I see no alternative but that we continue to speak out, however tired we may be.

Anonymous said...

As usual you have written well on what you believe and you have received back some good comments from others. We should love all as we can while on this earth, so be it.


SCG said...

I don't think we'll get a name change movement going, either, Mimi. But there does need to be an effort by those who believe that God is Love to keep saying that, and not be afraid to say it (I am preaching to myself here as much as anyone!)

And Phoebe agrees we should revoke the tax-exempt status of a church that takes up a collection for a political campaign. In the Episcopal Church, that's enough to qualify us as a Standing Committee, right? :)