Tuesday, December 5, 2006

What is Christian spirituality?

Being in a post Christian world doesn't mean that the influence of Christian thought has gone away. In some ways Christianity has become viewed as a religion presenting the two main messages of anti-abortion and anti-homosexuality. I have gotten letters in the mail asking for money to stop the evil liberal agenda from degrading the morals of our young people with quotes from various educators, lawmakers, politicians, and women's rights advocates placed out of context followed by exaggerated commentary. It has all the earmarks of a scam. I have long suspected that as long as these various organizations keep inflaming polarizing issues, they will continue to have the means to raise a lot of money.

I have observed rallies to save the unborn by groups of Christian youth standing sheepishly at a major intersection weakly waving signs that seem rather more vitriolic than their posture. It reminds me of when I was "encouraged" to go door to door handing out tracks warning that Jesus was coming soon, come to these meetings, and you will avoid God's wrath in the form of the Mark of the Beast. It was not uncommon to get angry stares from people while walking through the neighborhood. We were informed that this was persecution and God was well pleased with our dedication to his cause. We would sing songs like, "Onward Christian Soldiers," or "Bringing in the Sheaves." It was very hard to feel spiritual. I felt more embarrassed and afraid. And yet we were told that this was the highest form of spirituality and a true Christian would not be afraid.

There was something painful about watching these Christian youth hanging out there. Even though I didn't really agree with the method, I could empathize with their predicament. Every once in a while someone would yell out something after which the adult member of the group would yell back some catch phrase. When a car had to stop and wait for a right turn, right in front of them, there was this awkward moment where the group sensed that big sign waving was a little too theatrical for someone 2 feet away.

I wondered if they felt more spiritual or more connected to God after waving angry signs.


Unknown said...

Well, you have a point. Sometimes what we call "holy;" I think God would rather call "Holey."

Luke said...

I think your last question is a really strong one. Most often when I pass groups like that, especially on college campuses, my primary reaction is to get mad at them. But, who I am to judge certain methods? The point in everything is connection with God, and if what they were doing connects them to God and others, then I am all for it. Which is why I like your final question.