Pardon Me, But Your Theology is Showing...and It's Not Pretty.

photo (1)Sunday's Grammy Awards provided much low-hanging fruit for those seeking to write something provocative and then watch their stats rise into the blogosphere. My preference is to mostly ignore the aforementioned...mostly. On the one hand I figure why spit into the wind. Clearly times are changing. On the other, addressing the current cultural quagmire is likely to reveal more self-righteous indignation on my part than is healthy. The result would be yet another monologue the likes of which we've all absorbed more than enough of lately. One might take exception to that stance, challenge my manhood, and insist that I "fight the good fight." In response to this exception I would make the following assertion: Your theology is showing...and it's not pretty. When it comes to being a Christian I imagine that people who are not Christians have two basic questions they might like to have answered by people who are. The first is "Why?" as in "Why be a Christian?" The answer to this question starts with a perspective quite peculiar, maybe even offensive to the mainstream: I am not okay in any case just the way I am, but particularly not in relation to God. There is indeed a "good fight" to be had but I am perpetually losing it, thus there is a tragic disconnect between myself and God. My only hope is for there to be a means by which God chooses to close that gap. I believe faith in Jesus Christ to be the only means by which my existence is justified before God, thus the "why" of Christianity.

All of us, regardless of sociopolitcaligious (I made that up) affiliations, have one thing in common. We all need to come up with some way in which to justify ourselves. It's part of being human. There are millions of different ways in which we attempt to do so, ranging from building a Fortune 500 company to touring the countryside in a Volkswagen and planting daisies all along the way. Like everyone else I also do a lot of things, some more intelligent than others. But I happen to believe, as hokey as it may sound to you, that faith in Jesus is the only means by which any person including myself is truly justified. What I can't understand is why I and so many other people who believe this allow ourselves to get so angry at people who do not.

What in their past ever gave me the impression that entertainers like Macklemore or Madonna would actually share, much less respect my particular point of view? Furthermore if faith in Jesus leads me to a particular set of conclusions that are at odds with the conclusions of Macklemore or Madonna, why would I be surprised if they took it upon themselves to shout down my beliefs? After all they have microphones, talent, lots of money...and funny costumes. And most of all it's a great opportunity for them to attempt to justify themselves. Responding in kind, that is trying to justify myself by shouting back, while at the same time claiming that it is only Christ who justifies me...see the problem? It's a theological contradiction. If I believe that I am justified only by Christ, then I must stop trying to do it myself.

If my justification is the result of faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, then the "good fight" has already been fought. More than that it was won, albeit in a most unusual manner involving Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection from the dead, and the inheritance of the faithful is secure. It cannot be taken away or improved upon. Thus what is the point in shouting at, blogging, or complaining about people who are not Christians because they act like people...who are not Christians? If you feel your powers of thoughtful discussion and polite conversation slipping away, then just turn off your TV for crying out loud!

I said that there were two questions people who are not Christians might like to have answered by people who are, assuming we can find two such people who are still capable of a polite conversation despite their differences. The second question is "What good is it to be a Christian?" More to the point, if the inheritance is secure at the first moment of faith why not just bank on that and live however you want in the meantime? This question grows ever more intriguing in the context of a world that is increasingly moving in a direction opposite Christianity. But that's enough for one week; it will have to wait.