Tuesday, July 13, 2010
This seems to be the view of some of my evangelical (former) friends on Facebook. Whether de-friending loudly and brusquely as in the case of some family .... or quietly and unobtrusively, as did some ministry friends; my evangelical ranks are thinning out.
The interesting thing is that the vast majority of my FB friends are Christian, but the de-friending (and the ones who fail to see the humor in my posts) seems to have primarily confined itself to conservative evangelicals. I suspect this has as much to do with politics as theology. They may be annoyed at my view of penal substitutionary atonement theory; but questioning conservative politics is just #%*$@*$# ungodly!
So at some point they decide it would be more comfortable to make my commentary go away. Like I said, sometimes they leave quietly. Other times they send parting emails questioning why I have left the faith? What caused me to fall from grace? Assuring me that I am in their prayers... and will I give their regards to Beelzebub when I go to Hell? :)
Of course I reject this interpretation of my view. I simply see Christianity in a different light.
To illustrate: I am a public school teacher. If you look through my blog, you will see me critiquing the system. As an insider, I can comment on what is good, point out what is weak, and reject that which is harmful. I do not defend practices I see as harmful within schools simply because I am a teacher.
In the same way, Christianity is a system. As an insider, I can comment on what is good, point out what is weak, and reject that which is harmful. I do not defend practices I see as harmful within our faith simply because I am a Christian.
If someone gets offended when a potentially harmful practice is critiqued, I can guess where their loyalties lie. They are probably dedicated to the system, and people are secondary. If scripture is clear on one thing, it is this: Folks easily get more dedicated to the system than the people it was created to serve.
Richard Rohr touched on this in his book Everything Belongs:
I think Christianity has created a great problem in the Western world by repeatedly presenting itself, not as a way of seeing all things , but as one competing ideology amongst many. Instead of leading us to see God in new and surprising places, it too often has led us to confine God inside OUR place.
Every major religion has done the same. This preoccupation leads to over-identification with the group, its language and its symbols. Group loyalty becomes the test rather than loyalty to God or truth. ... It is easier to belong to a group than belong to God.... The belief is that God is only found by our group. The next step is to establish the identification with our group as the only way to serve God.
For some, as Richard describes, I have failed to show group loyalty. Sometimes though, I think you have to be disloyal in order to serve a greater loyalty. Errol Flynn said it best as Robin Hood:
Prince John: Bring Sir Robin food! At once, do you hear? Such impudence must support a mighty appetite.
Robin: True enough, your Highness. We Saxons have little to fatten on by the time your tax gatherers are through.
Prince John: Do you feel you are overtaxed?
Robin: Overtaxed, overworked and paid off with a knife, a club or a rope.
Marian: Why, you speak treason!
Posted by Andrew at 11:04 PM