Much of modern U.S. Christianity unfaithful to Jesus

April 23, 2014 

It no longer surprises me that Christianity, as it’s publicly expressed in America, seems to be turning off the next generation in droves. What is now described as being Christian simply does not fit with the biblical witness of living faithfully as disciples of Jesus. Examples are manifold.

Despite being invited by Jesus to love God not only with the heart but also the mind, much of U.S. Christianity continually denies the best knowledge and wisdom science has to offer about the world, its creation, climate and limitations.

It’s as if being dumb and dumber is a virtue instead of a life-threatening liability.

Quickly forgotten are the frequent biblical references to wisdom being the gift and work of God’s own self.

Despite being invited by Jesus to love and serve neighbors, and even lay down life for them, American Christianity prefers to take life by embracing uncalled-for wars and vociferously promoting the arming of citizens instead of the disarmament of nations.

The phrase What Would Jesus Do? has been replaced by What Would Jesus Carry? Many seem willing to carry those guns even into the sanctuaries of the Prince of Peace.

Despite continual biblical admonitions for the wealthy and powerful to care for the poor, many Christians seem to be turning a deaf ear.

Dismissed are words like these proverbial ones spoken by a One Percent Queen mother to her privileged child: Speak out for those who cannot speak, for the rights of all the destitute. Speak out, judge righteously, and defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Or these: Oppressing the poor in order to enrich oneself and giving to the rich will lead only to loss. The safety net God calls for gets torn to shreds by those willing to give breaks to the wealthy on the very backs of the poor whom Jesus embraces.

Despite claims to be pro-life, especially on behalf of the unborn child, much of Christianity in the U.S. is willing to end that concern for the born child, its mother and family.

Christian voices are found to be supporting massive financial cuts to food, medicine, shelter and education programs for those less fortunate. It seems life is sacred for everyone, except those who live below the upper-middle class.

It’s illogical to believe that, by denying contraception that prevents pregnancies, sex education that delays intimacy and reproductive rights that protect women’s health and safety, one is somehow pro-life.

It should come as little surprise that any faith group which values its buildings over its mission to the larger community, values its survival over its call to ministry, values its security over service to the least among us, values its rights more than its responsibilities, values its biases over biblical admonitions, values its prejudices over the gospel proclamation of welcoming all of God’s creatures and even values ignorance over knowledge truly deserves to have no more children following in its footsteps, especially if those footsteps look and act nothing like those of its savior’s leading.

Pastor Kim Latterell, a Sumner resident, is bishop’s associate for the Southwestern Washington Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He can be reached at latterka@plu.edu.

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