Wednesday, June 06, 2007

I'm a big fan of Christians.

Christian bashing is in vogue, even among Christians. "Oh the crusades! Oh the crusades!" goes up the baleful protest and lament. "And Jerry Falwell! And George W. Bush! And Republicans!"

I'm tired of watching Christians bend over backwards to admit they're so bad, the Church has been soooo bad, particularly as they engage in discussions with non-Christians. I will admit that this may amount to 'turning the other cheek,' which just proves my point: that Christians are actually quite good. Try to find a non-Christian bending over backwards to admit he or she is bad and historically at fault.


jose said...

Isn't that what white folk are doing when they trumpet affirmative action?

Kenny said...

Yeah, sort of, but this crowd is usually eagerly pointing out how it was some patriarchal old white guys - it's usually implied that good people (white liberals in Seattle) are the ones trying to fix what the bad old white guys did.

Sometimes, granted, there is a certain amount of genuine repentance over the matter. But alot of times there's a lot of finger pointing and self-righteousness.

-Dave said...

So the answer is another question: do those who are complaining about Falwell, Bush, the Crusades, etc identify themselves with those who are the "problem?"

To the extent that they do, they are genuinely admitting to imperfection. To the extent that they set themselves up as not-those-guys, it's just empty hand-wringing.

Ben said...

Dave has a point and I'm probably guilty of that....but otherwise I gotta disagree with you Kenny.

First off, no one is "actually quite good." There is none righteous, no not one. The good we possess and the good we do is God working in us. Over time, he makes us better...that's the Holy Spirit working in us.

I'll admit the Church is doing some wonderful things - but those, too are cause to glorify God for working in us.

Second, we damn well should be bashing ourselves...or, if "bashing" is perhaps too destructive and nihilistic of a word, we at least should be repenting for falling short of God's standard individually and collectively. When anybody falls short, people suffer. In addition, when Christians fall short, the name of God is smeared. This is no small thing. We should absolutely own up to what we have done wrong, individually and collectively.

Now, of course, that's not the end. There's a danger of both despair and of the kind of self-righteousness Dave describes (the kind I'm guilty of). After we recognize our sins, we need to return to God and love Him and our neighbors.

As for whether I can "find a non-Christian bending over backwards to admit he or she is bad and historically at fault"....frankly I don't care. Except inasmuch as it's part of the process of turning to God, I'm not much interested in what blame or praise non-Christians care to take on themselves. I'm concerned with how I - and my brothers and sisters in Christ - are acting and talking. And how we reflect on God.

Kenny said...

A few comments:

1 - It's nice (sort of) to have such intelligent friends because they help keep you thinking.

2 - Speaking of my own GENERAL experience, my interactions with Christians have been much better than my interactions with non-Christians. This is not to say any of them is justified in God's sight by being generally nicer than average.

3 - The good work of the Church in history is consistently ignored. This is a problem because it allows people to think writing off the God of Christianity is justified.

4 - The reason people usually write off the Church is not actually the alleged historic misdeeds. These arguments are smoke and mirrors. The PRIMARY issue people have with the church is that it represents the offense of the cross to an unbelieving world.

5 - I agree that the Church should repent of its historic sins. This should be done, primarily to God, secondarily to those harmed. That said, it is a mistake to let the conversation be hijacked by this issue alone.

Ben said...

Fair enough. Except point 2 - my experience simply differs from yours in that respect. I've met - and become close friends with - many a non-Christian who has been extremely friendly and pleasant. Can't say I've met too many unpleasant Christians, but there have been a few.