Julie Davis comments here on the pending execution of a Christian woman for the crime of not adhering to her father’s religion.*
I grew up with the usual American public school version of history, which went Greek Democracy, Roman Republic, Magna Carta, Pilgrims, 1776, and look everything’s great!
It’s a tempting narrative for good reason. When you have an awareness of the way God is acting in your life, you begin to see at key moments what the Grateful Dead nailed on the head: Everything lead up to this day. You can see how a series of seemingly random events all converge in unfathomable ways. With the Author of History making grace out of garbage at every turn, if you also happen to live comfortably, you might misdiagnose the progress. Instead of eternal life, it’s all about the inevitable Making of America.
It’s a delusion. We Americans who live in the bubble that is prosperity, freedom, and apparent security are like Pleasantville without the cheap philosophy.
Back in the Lenten lead-up, this or that priest reminded us that one of the benefits of fasting is a sharpening of the senses. I suspect there’s no coincidence between the decline in fasting among western Christians and the increase of our prosperity. We are sated, always sated.
It shows up in our theology. Over the hedge in the protestant world, you run into the “prosperity gospel” types. Jesus wants you wealthy, and He wants it here and now. Our side of the fence, it’s a bland approval-god we deign with our recognition once a week, or you know, when we get to it.
Atheism has a certain earnestness to it when those are your alternatives — if you aren’t going to worship God, at least have the courtesy to admit that’s what you’re doing.
I hate this. My little bubble-world is the path to my holiness, or I wouldn’t be there, but a treacherous path it is.
What to do? Utter abandonment to the Will of God. Not really any other way out of it.
*It would please me greatly if the various world democracies would make a consistent policy of aggressively offering asylum in this and other cases like it. I’m aware of the difficulties. That doesn’t make me not want it.
Artwork: Guercino [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons