Sunday, October 22, 2006

"I’m a Christian for a variety of reasons. Maybe because it’s easy."
~~ John Ashcroft

May I suggest, sir, that if it is easy, you might not be doing it correctly.

For a certain generation, of a certain background, Christianity was tangled in their formative years into an amalgam with patriotism, citizenship, and good grooming -- what "decent" people are. And what is easier than being decent?

Certainly it is easy to have your religious holidays federalized, especially the easier of the two, all mangers and drummer boys and Judaen snow.
Easy to have it secularized, so you don't need permission to wear its symbols or vestments, even on Halloween.
Easy to find a church on every corner, even if you don't really go.
Easy to defend a nation that does not designate a state religion and still holds Mass for the Supreme Court.
Easy not to worry about being thrown out of your country for following it.
Easy to believe in a granted Grace, just because you're you, ya little scamp.

Perhaps what he meant in that statement is "it's easy to say I'm a Christian."
Living a Christian life takes a lot more effort.

It is not easy to believe
Nearly every Christian I know has struggled (or does) with the Creed itself --
sometimes unable to actually say parts of it. It's no oversight that there is no handle on that door Jesus knocks on so politely. You have to invite him in to dine.
Look at this one, with the apprehensive knuckle scratch. Meanwhile Elijah strolls right in to a warm plate waiting.

It is not easy to understand
Christian theology can be academic to a crippling degree, (perhaps because so much of it is in Latin), and lingers on topics that have few practical applications: baptism controversy, dialogical personalism, the doctrine of salvation. Revelations.

It is not easy to practice
In many ways it goes right against human nature (forgiveness? sacrifice?) and certainly American nature (humility? poverty? whatever...). Even the Peace that Passeth Understand can not keep me from saying, about 10 times a day, "I could punch that guy right in the head." But I don't punch him, so I've got that working for me.
Our well-groomed crusading lawmakers must have noticed The United States is the only self-described "christian nation" that practices executions.

It is not easy to defend
I won't. The agreement is, I don't ask you to change your life; don't ask me to change mine. But understand that our expectations of the World are profoundly different.
Rev Phelps, pedophile priests, the Inquisition, the guy with the pamphlets at Park Street station... I can't explain them. They don't define my reationship with God any more than the Federlines should define your marriage.

"He’s so simple. His simplicity and just he’s like a boy. He just, you know, and he cares. He cares so much and his—his heart is awesome. He has a really big heart and I love that."
~~ Britney Spears


  1. I never thought I would see the day when Ms. Bender quotes Britney Spears. I must weep.

  2. John Ashcroft is not the person I would take any religious or spiritual guidance from.

  3. I'd second violet's suggestion. Ashcroft's comment probably speaks more to his being a Seventh Day Adventist from Missouri.


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