An Evangelical Who Gets It

Following up on what we discussed yesterday, it is more than a waste of time: it is counter-productive for Christians to chase around after some power cult that will make the people they want to dominated, control, and dictate to act the way the want to act by means of force. That is the entire goal of the Christian right now and it will result in one thing: backlash and lifelong distrust.

Law cannot save and the attempt to impose a moral code on people who do have no reason to believe that moral code is from God is a fool’s errand–especially when the people trying to impose it demonstrate they themselves do not trust God and think nothing of lying through their teeth to get whatever they want in their nihilist lust for power that has no relationship to the gospel except for a few Americhristian aesthetics to dress it up.

Sherry Weddell’s fine book Forming Intentional Disciples talks about the stages that actual converts to the actual gospel pass through on their way to a living faith in Jesus Christ. The most foundational of them is simple trust. Something or someone related to the gospel inspires a sense of trust strong enough to create a bridge over which they can pass toward curiosity, openness, seeking, and finally intentional discipleship to Jesus Christ.

MAGA Christian and all its works, and all its pomps, and all its empty promises is the vaccine from Hell against trust. MAGA Christians bought Trump’s promise of nihilist earthly power hook, line, and sinker and have committed whole hog to as many lie, lies, lies as they think they have to tell to clutch at that power. Every remotely normal human being outside the Church can see these weirdos and their lies and would not trust them if their lives depended on it. MAGA forms one of the most effective barriers between a seeking soul and Jesus Christ human have ever created.

Those who wish to bear witness have got to face the fact that the biggest enemy the gospel in the US faces is not from “godless liberals” or any persecuting power outside the Church, but from the brazen whoring after raw nihilist power of the MAGA cult within the Church. Jesus was not kidding when he said, “Do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.”

That’s you and that’s me. It is seduction, not persecution, the Church is to fear. And right now, there is nothing on this earth more seduced than the MAGA antichrist cult. It is driving away thousands from the Church, and it is preventing thousands more from entering in, not because they are violating their consciences, but because they are obeying their consciences. God deliver his Holy Church from this obscene perversion of the gospel that Jesus may be seen by the millions who seek him.

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18 Responses

  1. I have spent some time in the bear pit that is Breitbart. Enough to know the site gets enough commenters to suggest there are too many of these MAGA cultists for us to just ignore them.
    They are also doing huge damage to Christianity in the US. More and more people see them acting this way and calling themselves Christians. Yet their core beliefs are so far from the teachings of Jesus. I doubt most of them have read The Sermon on the Mount. Which, lets face it, is a socialist manifesto. Not a million miles from some of this;

    ‘We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.’

    Looks like the cultists are not familiar with this either.

    As it is the first time I have posted here, I would like to make 2 ‘Confessions’.

    To make it clear, I am English. I am most concerned about Climate Change denial. Trump and his worshippers being in power for another 4 years could well have been a disaster for all of us.

    I have been both an atheist and a Christian believer’ and am now a complete Agnostic. My personal feelings is that, as humans, we have little idea of what happens outside our experience, especially after we pass on. So I hope I have no agenda here. Faith is a personal thing, there are probably as many human ‘belief systems’ as there are human brains.

  2. It’s not only a problem in Roman Catholicism, or Evangelicalism, or Calvinism…Jordan B. Cooper, confessional Lutheran pastor and popular theologian/vlogger made an excellent video about the dangers QAnon poses to American Christianity and denouncing the Capitol Riots.

    His “thanks” for this was getting relentlessly attacked, harassed, denounced and accused of being at best a theological liberal and at worse an apostate by the online flying monkeys.

    This is a guy who is a faithful small-o orthodox Christian through and through, a believer in the Gospel who has also criticized in no uncertain terms things like critical theory and intersectional feminism. He is in no leftist in any sense. But because he spoke out against the QAnon insanity and the 1/6 Capitol Riot, he’s somehow now a “tool of Satan” as one of them put it.

    I wish I were kidding.

    At least he seems to have a thick skin, because he made a follow up in which he appeared to be more incredulous that this could in any way be so controversial than scared. He also in so many words told the howling monkeys “log off, and get a grip!” I mean he put it way nicer than that being a pastor and all, but that was the gist.

    Politics is eating American Christianity alive. It did so to Mainline Protestants from the left, and now it’s attacking what remains from the right.

  3. Yeah. The paradox of civil law is it’s only useful when “everyone” sees it as protective of the common good — meaning it’s obvious nobody should be permitted to do THAT except perhaps under a couple particular circumstances, and it’s obvious that contrary behavior should be civilly punished. Otherwise, they’re counterproductive. One American problem is the radical Individualism that makes personal choice the highest good. When “everyone” is converted to the Catholic Religion, civil law will take care of itself.

    If you want law, something’s wrong with you. Thanks to Shakespeare for that. If you want order, work for conversion. If you want conversion, work for justice. Thanks to St. Pope Paul VI.

    1. David Bentley Hart had an excellent talk about this problem–personal choice *in and of itself* being made the highest good and very definition of “freedom”, even though in reality, it can easily lead to a kind of slavery. Think of a poor sap at a slot machine at 4 AM in Caesar’s Palace “playing to extinction”. Sure, he’s “free” in the sense he’s choosing to piss away his paycheck gambling….but….isn’t that choice really the choice to be a slave to passion?

      Freedom properly understood is (paradoxically) perfect conformity to the good that leads to human flourishing, that’s what choice is good for, choosing to do *that*. Not free choice in and of itself floating off in space unrooted from any conception of the true, beautiful, good, etc. The latter is good if what you seek is maximum GDP growth and acquiring the maximum amount of consumer goods, but that’s about it as far as it goes.

      1. @ benjamin

        “ Freedom properly understood is (paradoxically) perfect conformity to the good that leads to human flourishing, that’s what choice is good for, choosing to do *that*. Not free choice in and of itself floating off in space unrooted from any conception of the true, beautiful, good, etc.

        The question is who gets to define what constitutes human flourishing, whose power enforces it, and to what end, and of course…qui bono?

        But even more important…who suffers When someone ELSE is making decisions about the lives of other people, without reference to those people. I have been listening to arguments for 50 years from Christians telling me what is good for me, when it is clearly not.

  4. My two youngest kids and a few of their cousins decided to start the summer with a marathon of horror movies (The Conjuring series). They think it’s fun to scare the hell out of themselves.

    I assured them that evil doesn’t really work that way, and is much more predictable. I wanted to say “subtle”, but it’s not subtle at all. It does manipulate our deepest fears however.

    We talk to our kids so they will recognize what the dark voice says.

    Case in point: even while writing this little blurb, someone I know asked me a question about my husband’s new work schedule, referring to Covid as the “Chinese Flu”. I have already corrected them several times, saying “Good God, Chinese grandmas are getting assaulted!”

    It’s a form of bondage, isn’t it…If we don’t believe in God, we can’t pray and offer our little sacrifices to God against it.

  5. This is from a leftist writer. https{:}//crookedtimber.org/2021/06/14/why-i-am-not-exactly-a-christian/

    A leftist is writing that Jesus is right, objective morality exists, and Christianity brought a lot of good ideas into the world. It’s a defense of Christian ideals from a professed atheist.

    He will never be part of any Church.

    Unfortunately, there are millions like him in this world, who detest Christianity because of culture warrior Christians, bishops and preachers, who are using Christ for personal profits. And everyday that number is increasing.

    1. That was great, thanks for posting the link.

      He’s right about Pascal’s wager–I hadn’t really thought about it. I’m not sure that he’s totally right about Luther. One of the problems with evangelical Christianity is the pride of being saved to the point that you can do whatever you want–religious license. It’s a spoiled brat mentality.

      Also, universalism would require something very Catholic–purgatory.

    2. Meh. He points out the wrong flaw in Pascal’s Wager. The *real* flaw in the wager is that it can be applied to any religion at all. It ought to be called Ali’s Wager because Ali, a nephew of Muhammad, made the exact same argument explaining why everyone should become Muslim.

      1. The flaw is the idea that anyone can con God, but I agree with the author–declaring belief in God while living an ugly life serves more as an indictment than Pascal’s insurance policy.

        To be fair, Teresa of Avila, in The interior Castle considers all of the stages a soul passes through in order to reach union and perfect love of God. If I recall correctly, servile fear doesn’t even place a soul in the first room, though she states that a slave like fear is not without merit as it at least prompts the soul to try to begin –to enter into the first room where there are small stirrings of love.

  6. @soren

    You don’t have to be a leftist, whatever that is and whatever it means this week, to feel that way. Though I am often accused of being a leftist, I am much more center than anything else. My oldest friend in the world is an evangelical Christian, and he is appalled by weaponized and politicized evangelical Christianity.

    1. In one particular church basement conversation wherein I refused to enlist in the culture war, the same woman called me a Socialist and a Libertarian in the space of about two minutes. Nothing means anything anymore. Or if it does, not many people know what anything means.

  7. “who gets to define…whose power”

    Yes, I’m aware of Foucault.

    He died of HIV after contracting in bathouse orgies after denying it was even real. He thought it was all invented by sexual prudes seeking to exercise power over him.

    His own theory killed him.

    Excuse me if I pass on his philosophy, given the results on his very own self.

  8. Lots of good people died. You don’t know, and neither did he, where he caught HIV. But thank you for weaponizing it.

    Wherever he caught it, like wherever all of the other people that have died caught it, it had nothing to do with being gay. It had everything to do with having sex with the wrong person. Not even necessarily promiscuity. But that certainly increases your chances.

    I don’t have it, and most of the people I know and have known don’t have it. I’ve also lost some wonderful good kind people. Your self righteous nastiness is an insult to them.

    Worldwide, AIDS is a heterosexual problem. But again, it has nothing to do with heterosexuality, and everything to do with having unprotected sex.

    As a gay man, I’ve had a great life. I would have to say that most of the gay people I’ve known in my life also have great lives, filled with good friends, love, family, and personal success. And this despite the highly organized effort of conservative churches to make our lives as difficult, unpleasant, dangerous, and expensive as possible.

    2000 years of this has not destroyed our spirits. To me, that says far more good about us and far more malice about you.

    As i said, The question is who gets to define what constitutes human flourishing, whose power enforces it, and to what end, and of course…qui bono? But even more important…who suffers When someone ELSE is making decisions about the lives of other people,

    Thank you for proving my point. Excuse me if I pass on your philosophy, given the results On gay people for the last 2000 years.

    1. @ benjamin

      I left out something last night. It was late and I was tired. Perhaps it’s the consequences of sin when I run 3 miles every day, and I’m tired at my age.

      I wasn’t actually referencing foucault when I wrote my original comment. I read foucault 40 years ago, I think, and I found him fairly boring, not influential. I was just doing basic sociology, informed by a political consciousness.

      Let us look at the very clear subtext of your very nasty comment about the death of Foucault. “He was afilthy f*ggot, and deserved it for being one.” You’re not the first so-called Christian who has voiced such a sentiment. It was a quite a cottage industry for about 15 years after HIV first made its appearance among gay men in the states. The heterosexual world should be very glad that it did make its first appearance there, of course- an easily identified subculture. Otherwise, The disease would’ve done a great deal of what it ended up doing anyway, because viruses are no respecter of sexual orientation or Qhristian belief. But it would have taken another 10 or 15 years of devastation before someone figured it out. Back in the 90s, there were several newspaper articles about the sheer number of celibate Catholic priests dying of AIDS while the church did what it does best— covering it up. One of the many, many failures of Qhristian love.

      For some reason, the whole thing reminds me of a well-known conversation between Gandalf and Frodo. Frodo says that Bilbo should have killed Gollum while he had the chance. Frodo said that Gollum deserveD death. Gandalf responded, “I dare say he did. And many that they deserve life. Will you give it to them? Do not be so quick to deal out death.”

      A lot of really good wonderful men lost their lives 30 and 40 years ago, people I loved very much. Perhaps Foucault and a great many others would nothave died if the Religion of Love had not been cruelly and hatefully doing everything it could to drive them underground, pervert their natural instincts, and destroy even the semblance of a normal life for 2000 years.

      And now you were all butt hurt because you can’t do it anymore, at least not in the civilized world. Well, at least not in the civilized world outside of nazi Germany then, and Hungary and Poland now. In the latter place, at least, the Catholic Church has its own sexual abuse scandal, and is desperate to pin the blame on someone else before it gets figured out.

      But then, perhaps the church would also not have its thousand year old (AT LEAST!!!) problem of the sexual abuse of children and adults, and the wllingness of the entire church to either ignore it or cover it up, if they had any kind of a healthy attitude towards sexuality. And if they weren’t so in love with power and money, perhaps you wouldn’t of had the burnings and torturings of witches and heritage, the religious wars that lasted for 250 years, or little boys being castrated for the musical pleasure of the popes.

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