"Read your Bible"

Today I heard a conversation between two people about President Obama. One said that she basically liked the man and the other said "gag me," no uncertain terms for disdain toward the President. It was interesting for me to be a fly on the wall in this conversation because it gave me a chance to just listen and try to figure out where people are coming from in their political convictions.

The woman who seemed to hate the president had reasons such as he "canceled" the National Day of Prayer (I don't know how true that claim really is) and that he's pro-choice, bringing "nothing but condemnation upon this country" for his stance on abortion. I have to say, I couldn't see how canceling the day of prayer was really that big of a deal, so a bunch of politicians stopped faking like they give a rip about God's kingdom, and I couldn't understand what she meant about condemnation... is it a surprise that the U.S. doesn't do things the way God would like them to be done? Overall I felt that she wasn't really looking at the big picture.

The one woman who said she liked the president had reasons too. She said that she watched the way he dealt with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently and she thinks he's working for peace and that he's dealing well with things on an international level. Now, I can't say I "like" the president, I'm just not sure that language would be accurate. He's more educated than our last and seems to care a little more about the poor than most political leaders in the U.S. but he's still in a political office which is, by nature, not free to seek first the Kingdom of God. But besides all that, I have to say I agreed with the woman who defended Obama in the argument. Working for Palestinian state-hood is good and working for peace in the world is supremely more important than the government recognizing a National Day of Prayer.

The two women bantered back and forth for a while, one saying that legislating against abortion won't solve the problem and the other saying that peace was never gonna happen. "Read your Bible," she said arrogantly, "the end of the world is going to come from the Middle East." Wow, what a presumptuous statement... "Read your Bible."

Sometimes I forget that people who think like this exist. She was basically saying that we shouldn't work for peace because it's never going to come... I guess Jesus lied when he told his disciples, "peace be with you" after his resurrection... and I guess Isaiah was kidding when it was written, "They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore." And I guess in order for me to disregard these sorts of passages in Scripture I need to "read my Bible"... ironic.

The bottom line is that some people have chosen the path of the Empire and it's ideology has infused itself into their thinking to the point where they've mistaken it for Christianity. They've mistaken assimilation for support, cynicism for faith, militancy for good deeds, and the curse of death for the gospel of peace.

Perhaps we need to go back to basics and remember that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is a gospel of salvation from a curse not of the destruction of the world through the curse. We, like Jesus, must come out the other side of our temptation as people of hope and peace and not as people who give in to the imagination of sin. We must imagine, and dream as God does, a world where death has lost its' sting. We've truly given in when we can use the bible to claim that there is no hope for peace.

And, P.S., we should all stop reading Joel Rosenberg and Tim LaHaye... just a thought.


Dolores said…
I hear these things and I ask God how two people (or churches or groups) can read the Bible so differently. Who is really right? (I ask Him.) How can He stand such divisive talk among His children who equally seek Him? I really want to know!
Elliott said…
It's funny you say that you forget those kinds of people exist, because in my experience, they're the norm.

Your liberal theology is a priveleged position; it's not 'vulgar' Christianity (and I mean vulgar in both senses of the word).

You are unfortunately a rare breed: the vast majority of Christians are like the woman you describe--cynical, intolerant, and consumed superficial politics and the material. They likely aren't the ones you surround yourself with mind you, or the ones you read, but they are the standard.

Jesus said we will know a tree by its fruit, and it would seem that the tree of Christianity sags under the weight of so many rotten apples. This is why I believe we should follow Jesus' instructions to cut down the tree and cast it into the fire.
wellis68 said…
profound words Elliot... You are right, I am in the minority when it comes to evangelical Christianity. But I think there is a shift on the horizon. More and more people like me, maybe even a silent majority, are learning from our mainline brothers and sisters and are learning how to be evangelical without being "conservative" (I think there's been a book written by that very title). I believe you're right that the tree needs to be cut down (I don't know if I mean that the same way you do). That's why I think Christians should just stop with all the nay saying and apocalyptic future reading because the fruit of that stuff just isn't good. I just hope that when we cut down the trees in our own lives, we don't throw the good fruit out with the bad.
Good thoughts man.
Brian Vinson said…
If we could just have a giant book burning... now that would solve a lot of problems. All Rosenberg & LaHaye books in one giant fire...
Mark said…
Hahaha. Nice post. Good point on how we have to read the Bible more to learn that only the hopeless parts of it are going to happen, haha.

And I agree with Elliot. Don't you remember my church? Not only are they the norm - they're the unanimous majority (which is why I don't attend business meeting's now that Ty's gone). (Side note: I at first thought Elliot said "the vast majority of Christians like you are women." Haha.)

Also, The Thief, (it's hard to address you with that name): why don't we just toss the optimistic parts of the Bible in that book burning as well?

(P.S. I posted. Thanks for the accountability. After all, you're one of like three people that read my blog.)