The Heresy of Little g gods and Running Runners Who Run Away

 

Don’t be alarmed by defecting Christians.

It’s just the Holy Spirit, pruning the dead wood.

Christianity in America suffers from a blight that is choking out the Word and covering up the Light of Christ.

That blight is the heresy of conflating Christ the Lord with partisan politics. This has gone on so long and become so endemic that a lot of people actually think that they are following Christ by how they register to vote.

Even worse, people who confuse Jesus with the R and the D always seem to end up lopping off parts of Jesus in order to make Him fit into the partisan box. If you’re an R, this has historically meant that the Sermon on the Mount is just jesus (little j) blather that comes from the First Century and doesn’t mean much. I’ve had the experience of using the phrase “If you’ve done it to the least of these, if you’ve done it to Me,” in debate and seeing the bored, patronizing expressions cross those Republican faces.

They don’t want to hear it.

Likewise, anyone who has ever gone into a Democratic Party what-not with the idea that gay marriage or abortion or any trendy social sin is not a “human right” is going to learn what the word “cut” means in the Victorian sense. They will cut you dead. And that’s if they’re in a good mood.

My point, which I’ve made over and over again, and which I’ll keep on making until it’s no longer pertinent, is that the R and the D aren’t Jesus. Party platforms aren’t the Gospels.

We are now living with the inevitable consequences of this decades-long heresy of political jesus. People are increasingly sick and tired of the heresy. They find — quite rightly — that it is a sham and a flam and that partisan politics jesus is a bogus god not worth their time.

Many outspoken Christian leaders have maintained so loudly and for so long that this perversion of the Gospels that they’ve been preaching is, in fact, the true Gospels of Christ, that they’ve managed to convince not only their besotted followers, but the larger population, as well.

A lot of people believe that political jesus; political party apologist jesus, mean and heartless django jesus, is actually Our Lord.

Why do they think this?

Because Christian religious leaders and their followers have been telling them so for decades.

This group of disenchanted, disaffected-with-Christianity reactors to political django jesus, has grown to the point that they are now able to affect the outcome of national elections. Which means that they are now players.

That also means that the same political parties who’ve used and abused the name of Christ for so long are now trying to get shed of Him. The stampede for the exit ramps among politicians and professional Christians of every stripe has become such a crowded field that it is a parody of itself.

The National Review published a whimsical essay today titled “A Form Letter for Defecting Conservatives.” This humorous article is an accurate representation of what is happening and the flabby, flimsy lies these runners are using to explain themselves.

What interested me the most, however, is that the National Review’s title underscores the heresy I’m talking about. The “issues” these running rabbits are dumping are the same issues that traditional Christians have fought for these past decades. They are the issues that put the Rs in the winner’s circle. Hence, the use of the word “conservative” to describe these folks.

However, what they are, are sham Christians who’ve used a faked fealty to Christ to win elections or build big careers in publishing, think-tanking or some other moneyed and powered endeavor. As anyone who isn’t wearing a mental blindfold can tell just by looking around, they haven’t done much good. But they have certainly done well.

The reason they are hitting the door on these “issues” now is because they never believed them in the first place. I’m not saying that people can’t experience a change of heart, that they can’t be converted. But this mass stampede of political opportunists for the higher ground of a different take on traditional Christian teaching has nothing to do with conversion. It is pragmatic people being pragmatic and taking care of themselves.

They never believed it in the first place, and whatever they tell you now, they don’t believe that, either.

The heresy here is that none of this — none of it — has anything to do with Jesus. By conflating politics with the Gospels, we have corrupted politics and defamed the Gospels. These aren’t “defecting conservatives. ” The reason they aren’t is that issues like the sanctity of human life and marriage are not issues. They are truths. The sanctity of human life and marriage are not “conservative” values. “If you have done it to the least of these, you have done it to Me,” is not liberal spin.

These are the law and the prophets of God Almighty. They are the teachings of Christ the Lord.

We are beginning to reap the whirlwind that we have sown by lying about the nature of God for political gain.

My advice is don’t be alarmed or dismayed by all these recanting Christians and born-again nihilists.

Let them go their way and don’t worry.

The Holy Spirit is pruning the tree of life so that it can bloom anew.

 

Here, from Monty Python, is an anthem for the runners.

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  • TheodoreSeeber

    I think it would be highly interesting to create a true political Jesus- a constitution drawn not from the laws of man, not from the liberty of man, but from the Gospels themselves.

    Has nobody had that thought previously in the last 2000 years, or am I just ignorant of some failed country someplace?

    • Sven2547

      You are proposing a Christian theocracy? There have been quite a few. Every single one has been rife with corruption, and most were brutal despots.

      • FW Ken

        Unlike atheist regimes.

        • Sven2547

          I completely agree with (the implication of) your comment. As I’ve said many times before, countries that abolish religion by fiat are every bit as bad as (and sometimes worse than) theocracies. That’s why neutral secular governments are the way to go: neither endorsing nor condemning any particular religions, or the lack thereof.

          • FW Ken

            My experience suggests that theocracy is more a talking point than an historical reality. Secular seems to be the same.

      • Dale

        Sven, I am puzzled by your remark because other than the Vatican City-state (and its forerunner, the Papal States) I can’t think of any Catholic theocracies. Could you name some of the ones you have in mind, particularly the corrupt and brutal examples?

      • TheodoreSeeber

        This was the one I thought was deleted. See below.

        The Jesuit run Reductions in South America come closest- and they were so much utopias that to enable slavery, the Pope had to remove the Jesuits from South America.

    • Sus_1

      If that person exists now, I find it hard to believe they would have anything to do with the political system.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        I wish the other comment had gotten through, I’d love to have Sven tell me where and when a Christian theocracy actually existed- as opposed to yet another “prune Christ down to the King” theocracy like Tehran does with Allah.

        Having said that- Jesus *was* a political figure as well, much as He tried not to be. There were people even in his day that wanted him to do away with the Romans- Simon Zealotes comes to mind.

        • hamiltonr

          Ted, so far as I know there is no such comment.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            :-) Sorry- saw it in preview. Was a bit nasty though the way he put it- all Christian theocracies being despots and dictatorships or something like that. But he failed to name a single one.

            I’ve heard a rumor about a Jesuit State that existed temporarily in South America once, created out of the ruins of the Incan Empire, but I don’t remember where I heard it or what the history was.

            • Dale

              Ted, you may be thinking of the Jesuit run missions in Paraguay which had some degree of autonomy (and opposition) to colonial authority. If you haven’t seen the 1986 movie “The Mission” (starring Jeremy Irons) it is well worth watching. It is somewhat fictionalized, but gives a sense of the broad outlines of what happened.

        • Sven2547

          The Holy Roman Empire? It lasted a solid 900 years or so.

          The Vatican is a Christian theocracy that exists today.

          • Dale

            The Holy Roman Empire, despite its name, was not a theocracy. In fact, during much of its history, the Emperor and the Pope were hostile to one another, if not actually at war.

          • TheodoreSeeber

            The Holy Roman Empire is a bad example because the Emperor wasn’t chosen by the Pope.

            The Vatican is a bad example because of the use of Italian Civil Code instead of Canon Law.

            I’m talking about actually *designing a government from the Gospels*.

  • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

    From a theological perspective (and I’m no theologian) I don’t think the Holy Spirit prunes away any soul. That person may choose to turn away from God, but God has open arms for every prodigal person.
    I found that National Review piece very funny. I don’t know if they are aware of Joseph Bottum, but it seemed a response to his article.
    Your post here got me thinking. Until abortion and SSM became such huge issues, I never looked at either political party as standing for Jesus. I know both have tried to take the mantle, but that just shows you both had some claim to it. Set aside those issues and I think both parties can make a case for policies that Jesus would support. And that would not be a surprise because this is a Christian nation. Or at least I thought it was until the Obama presidency. History may well record that the United States of America stopped being a Christian nation on Jan 20th, 2009, though the roots of such a state were growing for some forty years.

    • hamiltonr

      You’re probably right. From a theological perspective, I’m no theologian, either. I was thinking of Scriptural texts when I said that. If you’re interested I’ll misquote them here. But for now, I’m in a big rush to get ready for a meeting tonight and don’t have the time. :-)

      • http://ashesfromburntroses.blogspot.com/ Manny

        No need. I’m in a rush myself. ;)

    • Bill S

      “History may well record that the United States of America stopped being a Christian nation on Jan 20th, 2009″

      The United States was never a “Christian nation” as is made clear in the First Amendment.

      • TheodoreSeeber

        Not Never. The Constitution replaced the previous three documents, and in those, it was a Christian nation.

  • Bill S

    People who reject their church’s anti-gay policies and go elsewhere are not “dead wood” being pruned off the tree of life by the Holy Spirit. They are actually taking the high road in not allowing themselves to be misled by their church. They are following their conscience and opting for a more tolerant form of Christianity.

    • TheodoreSeeber

      I would call that the low road, the easy way out- who cares about right and wrong when we can just redefine wrong as right!

  • FW Ken

    I know you are talking about political opportunism, Rebecca, but it’s good to remember that people really do have crises of faith and flip-flop around during those crises. I’ve been there more than once, and remain grateful for the sacrament of reconciliation.

    • hamiltonr

      Of course they do. What I’m talking about here is not one individual, but the mass migration of rats that we’ve had in the past year. Seems like every day another one hits the dirt.

      • FW Ken

        Fair enough. Of course, it’s not just the politicians: until a very few years ago, the only states that had same-sex marriage got it by the legislature or judicial fiat. Popular votes consistently rejected it, as in the Prop. 8 balloting. The state of things today show popular support and – what? 3? – states have passed it by referendum. Not just politicians, but the whole country has gone mad in a short period of time.

        • TheodoreSeeber

          I blame bullying.

  • http://nebraskaenergyobserver.wordpress.com/ D. A. Christianson

    So much of this is caused by the government (D & R) sticking their noses into business that is none of their lookout that it pretty much insane. There are exceptions such as the very first principle the Right to Life, you which shall not be infringed. But overall, the us today makes imperial Rome look like a libertarian heaven.

  • Fabio Paolo Barbieri

    Amazing how many people take up their pen – and in an environment as unpromising as this, yet! – to defend the moral and intellectual validity of being an unprincipled time-server.


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