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The blog—informal opinions and chat about the parish

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Broad or Narrow

Recent surveys seem to show that Christians are, as a whole, much less accepting, affirming, and generally nice people than non-religious people.

That's not really news to many of us, though we usually think of the non-loving culprits as "those other guys who call themselves Christians." Certainly not my crowd. (Of course, that loops back into the non-accepting complaint almost instantly!)

So here's the dilemma. Built into the notion of teaching a religious truth, there's the unavoidable fact that if "A" is true, then "Non-A" and "Anti-A" can't be true too. If Jesus said, "No one comes to the Father except through me" (John 14:6), then the way is shut for those who want to come to the Father, but not through Jesus, right?

Big stuff

As Christian believers, we need to hold on to the "Big stuff"—who Jesus is, what belief and salvation are all about, and what basic morality means.

Little stuff

Church history is a constant story of items migrating from the "Little Stuff" category to the "Big Stuff" category. Can you be a Christian believer if your church uses grape juice instead of wine for Eucharist? Can real Christians smoke? The list goes on and on, and it's a very sad testimony. Last I looked there were 217 "real" Christian denominations in our country, but there must be thousands more tiny splinter groups that have pulled away, mostly because of "Little Stuff" issues. Can God save a person who who owns a gun? Will you meet the priest from the neighboring Catholic church in heaven?

There's a reason all this is important. We do make distinctions, and we need to, but when the distinctions are all "little stuff" distinctions, we're excluding Christian brothers and sisters. 

And when we ignore our own issues—focus on finding what's wrong with you and telling you about it—we really do deserve to be called judgmental.


Because we Americans have gotten foggy about what the Christian faith really is, another religion is gaining a lot of ground. The Christian faith, as defined by a very vocal segment, is defined as opposing rights for minorities, rejecting immigrants, hating sexual minorities, living in fear with a gun under the pillow, and grabbing as much power as possible, with dishonest strategies if necessary, for our subgroup. That's a strongly appealing religion/political party for many, but Jesus didn't have much to do with it, even if the adherents meet in church buildings. The true Christians, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, and the others, need to band together and reject this new false religion.

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