|photo by knowhimonline / flickr|
But with this current tempest in the Indiana tea-pot the Church has come across looking like a bunch of mean-spirited Yahoos. Well, maybe sometimes we are.
The press takes one group of Christians--say the Fred Phelps' folk and implies this is what it means to be a Christian. But there a whole lot of good folk totally unlike the Fred Phelps crowd that have simply been misled in their understanding of the Bible.
The Bible, written over thousands of years by many people from varying cultures reflect two different strands. One: culture. Other: time-tested faith. Every book usually reflects the time in which it was written. So--we can't expect folk that were blood-thirsty and downright cruel to reflect anything but their own time. Consequently, it was perfectly all right to "bash the heads of little children against the stones." It was ok to stone those committing adultery and even kill your children if they back-talked. It was a time in which ax-handles really could float and the world was flat and had four corners and night demons could gobble you up at night. It was a book that was deeply suspicious of whatever their idea was of blood transfusions and a whole lot of different foods. No wonder some groups think women should be not only submissive but should be treated like women are still mis-treated in many parts of the Middle East today. All this and more is culture representing primitive times and primitive ideas in many places.
Now let's turn to time-tested faith. In more places than I can foot-note in the Old Testament (as well as the New) the blinding light of a faith that heals, sustains and enables can be found. John Calvin and others said if you want to understand the Bible you need to filter the whole book through the prism of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus was and is the high-water mark. And if this idea is true--so much of culture just falls away in the light of the teachings and life of Jesus. He never, ever used the Bible as a hammer or a club to hurt people. (But he did raise hell in the Temple when people were desecrating that holy place.)
So when I read in The Daily Kos this article on "I am a Christian Business Owner in Indiana" I wanted to share it with you. This writer, tongue-in cheek talks about all the people he could not serve if he were a real Bible-believer. The list is long as well as hilarious. It reminds me of something that H.L. Mencken said of Puritanism: "The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy." I could even paraphrase his remark like this: "Speaking of Atheists and maybe some Christians--"The haunting fear that someone, somewhere will find joy through the Christian faith."
(Sorry I couldn't make is easier for you to read the article from The Daily Kos--but you can dig it out for yourself. I am still a babe in the woods when it comes to computers.)
--Roger Lovette / rogerlovette.blogspotcom