A New Way of Seeing (Pt. 5): Christianity in America

Christianity in American has been co-opted by the rich, powerful and unlearned. Not totally, but enough to form an unnatural and unnecessary barrier between the average American Christian and God. Unnatural and unnecessary in its avoidability even among broken and evil people.

This co-opting could only have taken place given a tearing of congregants from Christian tradition. Contemporary Churches–mainly protestant and evangelical, but Catholic and Orthodox, too, as the ‘evangelical mindset’ seeps in–are filled with lost worshipers, becoming more confused and lost at each service. Without any sense of connection to their history, too many, maybe most, are unaware of what has brought them to their current place. And America suffers for it.

I do not know whether this a-historical, a-theological way of living is the result of an organized plot. It doesn’t matter. Christians find themselves in abysmal positions of blasphemy. Thousands, tens of thousands, millions at Churches with absolutely no ability to conceive of themselves as connected, pastored by single men or boards of elders with little more than self-imposed authority, and less understanding. These men deprive their people of a Christian education, severing those beneath them and their communities from the humanistic, beautiful and transformative Christian paradigm. This makes it all the easier for charismatic, egotistical and money-loving men to shape the laity in their image, creating not icons of God but idols.

And a congregation of idols is given to the service of human masters and their financial interests.

Idol-building is a process still beyond me, even though I have been made an idol, my natural beauty covered over in bronze and caked in garish colors. I am still confused–how can the fundamentalists content themselves in distractions, construct literal readings of Genesis and defend them for lifetimes, while their world suffers? How is the American flag soluted in Church-classrooms and sanctuaries, as the nation spits on a Christ incarnate in poverty? John MacArthur, John Piper, Joel Osteen and their disciples–how can they distract with an endless number of devotionals and daily delusions, in an age where nearly every American has free access to millennia of better, more holy thinkers?

It doesn’t take much training to break through a lifetime of distraction. In one afternoon, a teacher can show the Bible to be something entirely different from those bastardizations of Ken Ham. A month is all it takes to lay the bones of the Church before a group of students. Years hold so much promise!

How did I live in ignorance for so long? Still, my ignorance is unnatural.

Our pastors have hidden the truth from us; our Churches have wasted our lives. They have led us into dysfunction. Who knows whether their dysfunction shapes ours intentionally or unintentionally. It doesn’t matter. There is no excuse. Doing the bare minimum is much less challenging than they make it seem. I grant, of course, that it’s very hard to make time for the minimum while worrying about catchy worship, upgraded lighting systems, and aggrandizing donors.

Christianity has been brutalized, raped and, soon, discarded as a husk. Its people have lost the conceptual scheme of Christ and the fathers–they have no way to see the world as Christ or the apostles might. Those who regain this way of seeing are forced to struggle for lifetimes only to grasp fragments.

But even these fragments are enough to know: Christ is not the Christ of America or capital.

Why, God, have you allowed this? Where are your polemicists? Why have your high-churches stopped overtly fighting against heresies? Where are you, my Lord?

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