Two Issue Christians…..

This is the second post in the series about how I believe today’s Christian establishments disappoint God.

If one believes that God is only really concerned with a couple of issues, it becomes easier to ignore others.  But human life and particularly the words of Jesus are just too complicated for this kind of reductionist approach to our faith and beliefs. How can we even think otherwise?  We must approach Scripture realizing that it is the story of God’s interaction with humanity, and this story constitutes the disclosure of God’s nature particularly through the words of Jesus Christ.

Unfortunately I believe that the extreme right wing in today’s politics and that especially includes the recent Tea Party movement have kidnapped much of the evangelical vote using this reductionist approach. They deem that God is only interested in two topics: abortion and homosexuality. As long as they shout about these two issues frequently enough they expect, and mostly see, many evangelicals falling in line with all their right wing issues. They want us to believe that all other of life’s issues outside of abortion and gay marriage are secondary at best.

It is sad to see how many Christians fall for this two-issue mantra. Those that do totally ignore the fact that the only two laws as verbally stated by Jesus is to love God with all your soul and to love your fellow man. Jesus told us that ALL the laws of God are wrapped up in these two items.

If I were to be a two issue Christian I would latch on 1)loving God and 2) loving my fellow man instead of the ones currently fed us by right wing politics today.

So many of today’s evangelicals seem to totally ignore that Jesus told us to give the stranger the shirt off your back if they are in need. Instead they seem to actively support  via their votes and their donations eliminating all of the so-called entitlements such as food stamps and medical care and such to the poor and marginalized in today’s world. Instead they are inclined to  favor lower tax rates for the wealthiest among us at the expense of those needing “shirts”. Where are God’s words supporting that view!!

I am just dumbfounded at to how this kidnapping occurred!

Yes, God is certainly concerned about taking of human life and that includes those who are not yet born. But he is also equally concerned that every three seconds throughout the day some where in the world a child dies because of inadequate drinking water or not enough food.  He is surely  also concerned about how we manage to kill each other in our endless wars. He told us that the peacemakers, not the warriors were the blessed ones. We seem to have, like so many other things, gotten that message reversed. Why do so many evangelical Christians minimize the other causes of senseless deaths by putting almost total attention to the first? That minimization of God’s commands is certainly not what He intends.

This reductionist approach to our beliefs promoted by many of today’s Christian establishments greatly saddens me. Why do we allow secular politics to have such a strong hold on us?

Divorce–A Christian Perspective

Divorce is one of those things that gets very different treatment in different Christian denominations. The red letters are pretty clear as to what Jesus thought of it.

Matt 5:31-32

“It was also said, ‘Whoever divorces his wife, let him give her a certificate of divorce.’  But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery. And whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

Matt 19:8-9

Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, and marries another woman commits adultery.”

Most Protestant denominations don’t put much weight behind these words of Jesus. Many seem to be almost flippant about this sin. Statistics show us that the rate of divorce among Christians is actually a little higher than the non-religious population so maybe there is a reason for minimizing these particular red letters.  Jesus made it pretty clear that for the most part once you are married you are married until death do you part. What Jesus said doesn’t mean you have to stay in a marriage no matter the conditions. But if you leave a marriage you can’t then go on to another one without committing the grievous sin of adultery.

Many say that Homosexuality is a grievous sin and if you stay in a homosexual relationship you are non-repentant and therefore your sin is not forgiven.  I question whether by those same standards remarrying after a divorce should also be  treated as a non-repentant and therefore a sin that is also not forgiven!  Is it up to us to pick and choose which sins are not forgiven?  But let’s stay on topic here.  I think only Catholics and maybe some of the Anabaptist denominations actually treat divorce in a serious manner.

But even Catholics “sneak” around this rule when it is convenient. I am very personally a witness to this fact. My mother’s eleven year marriage in a Catholic church to my father which resulted in the births of me and my younger brother was later voided by the the Catholic Church when she wanted to marry another Catholic twenty years later!  Declaring me and my brother bastards because the marriage “officially” didn’t happen was one of the reasons I left the Catholic church so many years ago. So in some ways the Catholic church is worse than its Protestant brothers in that they only appear to take Jesus’ word to heart.

It grieves me that this is by no means the only place where the current day Christians organizations don’t treat Jesus’ words  as “gospel” (pun intended). We seem to pick and choose where sins are forgiven or where they are not. I have more personal thoughts about that but will hold them for another post.