Behold: Our Christless Christianity

 

Image: Pixabay

 

Just in case you’re not paying attention, American Christianity is a Christless Christianity.

We demand the Ten Commandments to be displayed in our courthouses, but we never give a thought to Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount.

We justify our cruelty to immigrants by quoting random passages from Paul’s letter to the Romans, but skip over dozens of commands from Jesus about showing mercy, caring for the weak and vulnerable, and totally ignore his warning that “whatever you have done for the least of these, you have done it to me.”

We cry out for “an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth” to be our standard for justice, but ignore the fact that Jesus specifically corrected this teaching by saying:

“You have heard it said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’, but I say to you, do not resist an evil person with violence, but if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.”

In other words: Endure the injustice and take the opportunity to put the extravagant love of Christ’s Kingdom into practice; bring the audacious and everlasting love of God into the daylight and dazzle those whose eyes have never seen or imagined such overwhelming and sincere love. This is how we change the world. This is how we transform our enemies into friends. This is how we end the violence. This is how we push back the darkness – not with more darkness – but with true, undeniable light; the light that only comes from God.

If the best we can do is take an eye for an eye, we will never escape this world of blindness.

If the best we can do is to continue to behave exactly the way we would had Christ never come and spoken these words of life to us, we will never experience freedom.

But, this is not the best we can do. Not by a longshot.

We can stop and reconsider all of this. We can think differently. We can at least try to follow the words of Jesus, if for no other reason than it’s the one thing we have yet to actually try.

All other attempts to change the world have failed. All other avenues have long been exhausted.

What if we try to love one another as Christ has loved us?

What if we consider others better than ourselves?

What if we refuse to regard others from a worldly point of view?

What if we tried to put Christ back in our Christianity?

Honestly, at this point, what have we got to lose?

**

Keith Giles is the author of several books, including the forthcoming Jesus Unbound: How the Bible Keeps Us From Hearing the Word of God”, available July 4th, 2018.

He is also the author of the Amazon best-seller, “Jesus Untangled: Crucifying Our Politics To Pledge Allegiance To The Lamb”. He is the co-host of the Heretic Happy Hour Podcast on iTunes and Podbean. He and his wife live in Orange, CA with their two sons.

Please, join me at one of these upcoming events:

*The Nonviolent Love of Christ: How Loving Our Enemies Saves The World, with Joshua Lawson and Keith Giles on Saturday, June 16 in Portsmouth Ohio. Register here>

*Crucifying Our Politics with Keith Giles on June 24 in Cleveland, OH. Register here>

BONUS: Unlock exclusive content including blog articles, short stories, music, podcasts, videos and more on my Patreon page.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • kaydenpat

    Well said. Unfortunately, the kind of Christianity which animates folks like Sessions and Sarah Sanders is hostile and hateful and lacking in compassion. They must not remember any of the Biblical texts which say we should be kind to strangers.

  • Ulf Turkewitsch

    Bravo Keith. Finally someone is talking about real Christianity. My question is then., why would people who are worldly and nominal christians even want to do any of those things mentioned by Jesus on the “Sermon on the Mount?” Most of our churches want “muscular, white” christianity. Jesus makes living the life of a disciple far too hard for most Americans and Canadians. They would have to ignore the flesh and follow the spirit. Too difficult. Not gonna happen!

  • Veronica Bellucci

    I find it utterly hypocritical to find people that justify sinful acts, condemned in scripture, people that vote for people that are pro-infanticide—to lecture about breaking laws (i.e. pro-illegal immigration). They have no problem with killing children in the womb, vote for candidates that are for this barbarism, but are horrified by deportation. These people knowingly put their children at risk of separation, just as much as if a parent robs a house, does heroin, etc.–there’s the very real possibility that they will be separated from their children. No one likes this prospect, but this is reality.

  • kaydenpat

    Asylum seekers aren’t breaking any laws. Trump’s policy of separating families is barbaric. Period.

    But thanks to the GOP for putting to rest any claims that this is a Christian country.

  • rickeyv

    Trumps “policy” is the law written by Democrats, they will not work to change the law because the cruelty is a favorite talking point.

  • kaydenpat

    Cite the exact law “written by Democrats” which mandates the separation of migrant children from their parents.

    Otherwise, stop lying like your bigoted President.

  • Mike Dunster

    If I can say this with all respect, it feels like this is a problem or a potential problem with the resurrection – it turns Jesus from someone who is to be followed and obeyed into someone who is believed in.

  • SSipe
  • Ivan T. Errible

    What about if the AltRight stopped even pretending to care about jeebus? How would you be able to nag them then?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    We’ve never been a ‘christian country’; both the Left and the Fundiegelicals use that myth to promote their agendas and manipulate people.

  • kaydenpat

    Cite to me where “the Left” has claimed that this is a Christian country.

  • Steve Bailey

    Therefore they are not Christians; they are American religionists at best. They use religion to power monger. We’ve seen this pattern throughout history. These thugs want their American perversion of Christianity to fill the social role of religion described by Karl Marx as “the opium of the people”. Real Christianity can never, as evidenced by the teaching of Jesus, fulfill such a base role.

  • James the Apostate

    Paying more attention to the little red-lettered words, focusing particularly on all the verbs in red, would be a great start to reclaiming Christ/Jesus for Christendom.

  • James the Apostate

    Simply, “Christianity™” has a Mammon problem. The Religious Industrial Complex is too big to fail. To change American Christianity would require a seismic and total shift to a new economic system, and ‘THAT ain’t happenin’.

  • Everett Kier Jr

    I am always intrigued by arguments that see others problems with 20/20 vision. A healthy dose of Lewis’ “The Dangers of National Repentance” is good RX for our hubris.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    They actually are. I agree with the “putting to rest claims that this is a Christian country,” as that happened long ago with abortion and its supporters. 0bama implemented this, Bush, Clinton, and nary a word from your ilk. The outrage is feigned, simply b/c you do not like Trump.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    All the founding documents and Founding Fathers, as well as the state’s different State Constitutions say that the U.S. is a Christian nation, but Ivan says different so we must re-evaluate.

  • Veronica Bellucci
  • Veronica Bellucci

    “Bill Clinton’s shameful legacy on immigration: “Terrible” laws he signed “rip apart” families and authorize unjust detention, Human Rights Watch says
    Rights group says 1996 laws created a system of mass detention and abuse for refugees and migrants.”

  • Veronica Bellucci
  • Veronica Bellucci

    “Several 2014 photos of detained immigrant children in cages went viral in May, and former Obama administration officials rushed to offer explanations.
    The former Obama speechwriter Jon Favreau had even shared the images on Twitter, mistakenly believing they were taken during Donald Trump’s presidency.”

  • kaydenpat

    President Obama didn’t separate migrant families. Those pictures were of unaccompanied minors. It’s your Bigot-in-Chief who initiated the policy of separating families. Those are the facts. Deal with them.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    https://youtu.be/4EthH8WdmvQ
    I bet you voted for this liar too? No?
    If you did, you supported this policy. Save the fake outrage, we all know it is just directed at Trump.

  • kaydenpat

    President Obama and President Clinton did not implement a policy of separating migrant families. But all your side has is lies so keep digging.

  • kaydenpat

    Yes I proudly voted for Secretary Clinton. I would hang myself if I was dumb and immoral enough to vote for a racist bully like Trump.

  • kaydenpat

    Cite to where the Founding Fathers and the “founding documents” said that this is a Christian nation. We’re not. Certainly rightwingers who hate minorities, abuse the poor and treat asylum seekers like dirt aren’t Christians.

  • Mark

    You forgot about the homersheckshurals and how we’re trying to destroy the institution of marriage — which we all know is between a man, his mistress, a rolled-up magazine, his lawyer, his daughter, his porn star, his publicist, his Russian dictator and his wife.

    P.S. Abortion is mentioned nowhere in the Old Testament, the Apocrypha, the New Testament or the Qumran writings.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    “President Obama and President Clinton did not implement a policy of separating migrant families. But all your side has is lies so keep digging.” I already proved this wrong, and you would do well to educate yourself, as you sound quite ignorant. If you would have watched the DHS Press Sec yesterday, you would know that the “Trump” policy (enacted by Congress), is only to “detain” unaccompanied minors, those who cannot prove relation with the accompanying adult (Coyotes), and those that have engaged in felonious behavior. None of this applies to those seeking asylum via ports of entry.

  • kaydenpat

    By the way, I hate Trump. It’s gone beyond do not like. I hope Mueller drags him down. He la is the demeanor to be a decent human being, nevertheless President.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    You did see Hillary, Pelosi, et al Bible-thumping, no?

  • kaydenpat

    Blah blah blah. It’s your President who implemented this evil policy. It’s your Oresudent who is doing what cannot be defended. It’s your President who will be tied forever to this inhunane policy.

    He has set his legacy in stone.

  • kaydenpat

    See them do what?

  • Mark

    And not just Christian, but FUNDAGELICAL Christian, because everybody knows that Jesus Christ founded the Baptist Church and any church which preaches LIEberal nonsense about feeding the hungry, giving water to the thirsty, clothing the naked, comforting the bereaved, welcoming the stranger, etc. is preaching godless, humanistic socialism straight out of the bowels of atheistic Moscow!

    You know, like Matthew 25:31-46, or Matthew 5-7, or the rest of Romans 13 and 14 (after the part about obeying Trump because God made him President (and Hitler and Stalin, too), or the Epistle of James…

  • Kathy Ruth

    AMEN!

  • Kathy Ruth

    Why are you more concerned about POTENTIAL life instead of ACTUAL life? (The Bible, by the way, teaches that life begins with one’s first breath.)

  • Kathy Ruth

    Then WHY did Jeff Sessions say that this POLICY would SUPERSEDE all others?
    Answer: Because current law DOES NOT allow for this!

  • Kathy Ruth

    This is an opinion, not a law.

  • Kathy Ruth

    These were UNACCOMPANIED minors–NOT children forcibly taken from their parents! Also. they were held for no longer than 72 hours before being placed with relatives or released into the foster care system. They were NOT help in camps or tents!

  • Kathy Ruth

    You are believing lies. In fact, you are CHOOSING to believe lies!
    You are complicit and will be held accountable in the end.

  • Kathy Ruth

    Liars repeating lies? You think THAT is credible? Wow!

  • Kathy Ruth

    They do NOT! The Treaty of Tripoli in Article 11: “As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen (Muslims); and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan (Mohammedan) nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.”
    ‘. . .IS NOT, IN ANY SENSE, FOUNDED ON THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION. . .”

  • Kathy Ruth

    No. Proof?
    (And not responses to GOP Bible-thumping, either!)

  • Shirley Blake

    Hmmm we’d all be better served by less Bible thumping. I’m not sure why a secular government needs to bring biblical passages into their rational and I’m pretty sure that if we don’t have a secular government we then have a theocracy and whichever way you shake it is troubling and dangerous.

  • Obscurely

    Check out Brian Zahnd’s response to AG Sessions’s Christ-less cherry picking from Romans …
    https://twitter.com/BrianZahnd/status/1007417377829597189

  • Obscurely

    Please think for yourself and find the real truth about the lie Trump is telling daily now — even Franklin Graham says this policy of separating children is IMMORAL.

  • Frankly

    Well said!

  • Ivan T. Errible

    No, that’s not true.

  • Madea!!

    Simple question…would Jesus take a child from their mother just because they entered a country…seeking asylum…at a non recognized entry point; Yes he would separate them or No he would not.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    No, they don’t.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    If you’ve never read any sermon, speech, or play scolding the US for not living up to its xtian commitments (whatever that means), you don’t get out enough.

  • kaydenpat

    So you come back two days later with b.s.
    Typical rightwinger. You can’t cite to defend your claim so you try to insult your opponent.
    Those of us on the Left do not believe that this country was founded on Christianity or is Christian in any way. You haven’t cited to anything that proves otherwise.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Oh dear, you clearly WANT to believe I’ve ever voted Republican.
    Short answer-no, I haven’t.
    Sorry to disappoint. You still can be a non-rightwinger and think reliigions, including the “progressive” (i.e. over 90% White, middle/upper middle class churches) churches can be ludicrous excuses for ideological axe-grinding.

    Just like the Fundiegelicals, only with more grad school and Whole Foods. And probably in a Prius or Subaru.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    How about cannibalism?
    Asking for a friend……

  • Ivan T. Errible

    How about ending tax breaks for all religions? Why should non-believers support your fantasy life with their tax dollars?

  • kaydenpat

    Blah blah blah. Unless you have a citation to back up your claim about the Left claiming that this is a Christian country, I’m not interested in anything you say.

    Don’t make claims you can’t back up. No one is swallowing your lies.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    No, I don’t have such things on hand.
    But you go on believing-your nonsense makes you happy and gives you a reason to pretend that your life has meaning.

  • kaydenpat

    You can’t back up a blatant lie you made up out of whole cloth. I called you out and your fee fees are hurt. Tough.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Blatant lie?

  • Mr. James Parson

    I have never heard it put that way, but upon thinking about it…

    There is one dominate political partied tied to the religious
    And the other refuses to denounce the religious.

    Either way, religion gets to continue

  • Mr. James Parson

    A Catholic friend?

  • kaydenpat

    You claimed that we on the Left has claimed that the U.S. was a Christian country. You lied. I called you out. You still haven’t provided one citation to back up your claim because it was a lie.
    Anyways Dude, I’m done talking at you. Got better things to do.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Ok, thanks for playing.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Actjualy no.

  • kaydenpat

    Calling out liars like you isn’t playing. Before you make up nonsense out of your behind, have some facts to back it up.

  • This is why despite having the ear of the White House and Congress, evangelical Christianity is LOSING, more and more are becoming non religious. They would rather have NO RELIGION than be associated with something they can see as empty.

  • PistachioNewt

    Good read. Thanks.

  • PremiumOsmium

    The Bible has not one word against abortion.

  • Bald Humanist

    It seems to be a strange dichotomy in that we are overall becoming less religious and yet fundies contain to control things.

    The only thing I can figure out is that the non-religious are not voting as much as they should.

  • Jesus says to love. I can gather from this that I shouldn’t kill anyone.

  • PremiumOsmium

    What does that have to do with abortion?

  • bubbawithab

    Ridiculous pabulum from the Progressive version of christianity. Small “c”.

    No clue on ordered liberty OR the Great Conversation of the past two millennia.

    In 100 years, this version will die out, much like trinitarianism outlasted its counterpart, thanks to the Islamic invasion and Charles Martel. Christless indeed.

  • Robert Roberts

    Actually if you were a true Christian you would not get involved in any politics.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    Chrisitans make Christ into their own image; humane people have a humane jesus, unhumane people have an unhumane jesus. Along with the nice things, we have JC saying that those who don’t accept him should be brought before him and murdered by he faithful. HE says that families should be ignored in favor of him and confirms that all of his fathers laws are to be follows, not just some of them that are convenient. And well, he leads the charge in Revelation, where he/his father intentionally work with satan to corrupt the Christians whom JC has been ruling over for an eon. This is not a being worthy of worship. But I am happy that you have humane jesus. It’s just not the one in the bible.

  • Jane Ravenswood

    so, Veronica, is this a christian nation or not? Your type of Christian can’t seem to agree, considering how Hobby Lobby just published full page ads all over the country this weekend (on the Sabbath!) that says this is a Christian nation.

  • From your question I can see that you don’t think abortion is killing a baby.

  • Timothy Fountain

    Right as far as he goes but how about, “We practice serial monogamy, promiscuity, disposable families, abortion and the like despite Jesus explicit words about ‘the two becoming one flesh’ and against easy divorce.” The article is right as far as it goes but this is a “progressive” page and my problem with it is that progressive Christians think we can hang Jesus on political policies alone without developing cross-bearing discipleship in day to day life.

  • Pennybird

    I wouldn’t have called it Bible thumping so much as invoking the religion, which has always been required by candidates for public office pretty much. Neither wears their Christianity on their sleeves, nor do they weaponize it the way many officials do.

  • Pennybird

    Education, healthy foods, conservation. The left is always employing these sorts of evils – my family confesses to owning both those cars. When will we stop the madness??? I can only pray we begin to see the glory of ignorance, illness and pollution like our Republican friends before it’s too late.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    But you’re not privileged/s

  • Pennybird

    The hell I’m not.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    Sir the ‘/s’ means “sarcasm”.

    I’m sure your prophetic ministry does a great deal. /s

  • Pennybird

    No sarcasm needed. I admit to being in a privileged caste, and not because I earned it, btw.

  • Ivan T. Errible

    But I’m sure you’re struggling against it/s.

  • PremiumOsmium

    Of course not. Because it isn’t.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    The Bible requires submitting to government, Rom. 13.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    Ugh.

  • Veronica Bellucci

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/State_constitution_(United_States) Read all the States’ Constitutions. A foreigner (studied in U.S. university) has to teach you?

  • Ivan T. Errible

    I live in the US; there are no state ties to religion in any US state. State funds to religious groups are illegal. In my state, the local catholic schools weren’t even allowed to take old public school textbooks until they decided it would be cheaper to sell them to them and take up less space in the landfill.