Monday, January 23, 2006

How About "Just Plain Christian?!"

Everybody's raging about the big fight between Christian Right and Christian Left. Who's right and who's wrong?

What's the matter with all of you people? Do you have brain damage, or are you simply dishonest?

It's not about us. No, it's not about you or me. It's about Jesus Christ. It's about God.

Both Christian Right and Christian Left are human movements, of very recent origin. The Christian Church is two thousand years old. Christian Right and Left are mirror-image, Yin-and-Yang, mutually-reactionary movements. And many of the members of both "sides" are spoiled little children who think it's all about themselves and whose priorities are -- to use a word I almost never utter -- fucked. They all need to grow up.

I wish Jesus would come down and slam your stupid little heads together. Shut up, all of you. JUST. SHUT. UP.

When I pushed off into print and cyberspace as a writer ministering to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered world, I had a very big decision to make. Gays don't fit neatly into any of the comfy-cozy little categories straights have made for themselves. Would I identify, primarily, as a GLBT Christian, as part of the Christian Left or as a member of some forlorn and disowned fringe of the Christian Right? In a society where the average person has the attention-span of a kindergartener and the intellectual capacity of a half-wit, packaging and labeling is supposed to be everything.

I suppose the easiest thing to do would have been to align myself with the Christian Left, as they represent a far bigger share of the "market" than do GLBT Christians -- and they are, as a good number of them keep assuring us, "more welcoming."

But not so fast. I have some huge problems with this. Three, as a matter of fact:

(A) The theology of the Christian Left is vapid, infantilizing and reactionary. It is subject to continual revision (they won't believe tomorrow what they believe today), which Christian Lefties somehow fail to realize means they can't be relied-upon by those honestly seeking to know God or taken seriously by serious thinkers. It is bland, molly-coddling babytalk. It consists almost entirely of visceral and irrational reaction against the Religious Right. And (perhaps worst of all) it seems to recognize no difference between faith (which canNOT change, if its articles are believed true) and morality (which is, indeed, continually evolving -- but ONLY in practice, not in guiding principle).

Almost every one of the notions trotted out by the Christian Left were very seriously considered, by those at the highest levels in the Church, centuries ago. And they were discarded as heresies or as just plain errors. If we are to consider them anew, let's at the very least do so honestly. Very often, the Left repackages and relabels them with something jazzy, shiny and new and then tries to sell them as brand-new, bright ideas. This is nothing but theological plagiarism.

(B) The Christian Left does, indeed, bring up some very valid points. It sometimes fulfills the purpose of highlighting areas of the faith that the Religious Right (an equally reactionary and erroneous faction, which has failed Jesus Christ to the same degree as have their counterparts on the Left) misses. It provides a crucial set of checks-and-balances against Right-Wing excess and neglect. But because it is so obsessed with the Right, it's like the jealous little brother who has to shout "no!" every time big brother says "yes." Or like that surly fourteen-year-old who just can't get over her anger and Mommy and Daddy.

It's almost comical, how predictable the Christian Left is. If it might shock and piss off the Religious Right, they're on it. How utterly sad that they don't realize they have totally surrendered doctrinal orthodoxy to people unworthy to serve as its guardians. (Indeed, surrendering the defense of orthodoxy to the Religious Right is like trusting the alligator to guard the baby.)

(C) This is the main objection -- and the one insurmountable for me. One of the last prayers Jesus is recorded, in the Gospels, as having uttered was a plea for unity between believers. "May they be one, as the Father and I are One." Those caught-up in the insane fervor of the war between Christian Right and Left are so blinded by the hoopla and brouhaha of the present that they have totally forgotten both past and future. The Church never would have survived for twenty centuries if the Holy Spirit had not preserved it against the damage done by the petty, little squabblers and their ego-inflating little divisions of opinion, and it will never survive into the future unless saner heads (and more important priorities) prevail.

The Christian faith is a treasure precious beyond compare. It has been handed down through the ages, and has now been entrusted to us. We do not have leave to wantonly destroy it for the sake of our childish compulsion to "be right" and to "defeat" those who disagree with us. My primary obligation is to God in Christ Jesus. I am a just plain Christian -- period.

The founder of my denomination, Martin Luther, is often accused of having created disunity in the Church. He was kicked out of the Catholic Church -- he did NOT willingly leave it (a point usually overlooked by those willing to lie about and slander the name of a man who's dead and can no longer defend himself). Most of the reforms he proposed were later adopted by the Church of Rome, which is just plain dishonest in not acknowledging that this makes clear HE WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG. Read my lips, and repeat it after me. He tried to stop those who were trying to tear the Church apart, though ultimately only the Holy Spirit was able to do that.

We do NOT have the right to attempt to undo the work the Holy Spirit is doing. We need to bring together both "sides" -- Left AND Right -- to sit down like adults, break bread and respectfully exchange ideas. You know, like the Christians we so loudly and proudly claim to be. Only by remaining united in what matters the most -- our dedication to following Christ -- will we be cooperating with the work of the Spirit of God. Who will help us to sort out the details upon which we disagree, if we will but act like real followers of Christ.

This is as basic as A-B-C. This is drugs. This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?

I cannot, in good conscience, sign on to a movement that is reactionary in nature. To do so would be to ally myself with those contributing to disunity and disharmony in the Body of Christ. So the only label I will wear is Christian. JUST. PLAIN. CHRISTIAN. Period, end of discussion.

Now let the REAL discussion begin...


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