If someone says I love God, but hates other people, that person is a liar. John the Apostle.
I wrote yesterday about my conversion experience. It was an encounter with God in the Holy Spirit that has given me a certitude about a few things that, based on what I read and see on the internet, seem to bedevil other people.
The first of these things is the most basic. Does God exist?
This question is the basis for all our existential hopes and fears. We know we are going to die, and this makes the question of whether or not God exists a serious one for all of us.
In a slightly less fundamental way, it also shapes the other existential questions we ask and try to answer. What does it mean to be human? Does human life have a purpose? Is our existence meant, and what is the meaning of it if it is?
All those questions were answered for me, at least in a broad way, by that encounter with God that I call my conversion experience. Yes, there is a God. I have met Him. I have felt Him. He has communicated with me in a fundamental and everlasting way.
We are meant. Our lives do have meaning and no, death is not the end of everything. Death is a transition that I don’t understand but can glimpse in a blurry sort of way.
I am far from unique in this experience of the Divine. It is, rather, a commonplace occurrence that has been happening to people for thousands of years. It predates His coming to us in human form as Jesus of Nazareth, and I suspect that it will go on happening until this Jesus comes to us again at the end of time as our Lord of Lords, King of Kings.
All this is important. It forms a basis for living life as a Christian. It sets a guidepost at the beginning of our earthly journey, which is God, and another guidepost at the end of that journey, which also is God. It tells us a lot about who we are.
But there is another question. It is not answered in what I have discussed so far. That other question is not Who are we? It is Who is He?
I don’t pretend to have any large answer for that. I am not capable of comprehending God or even one of His attributes. What I can say with certainty is that the Being Who came to me was Love.
I have never and expect that I will never until I go to Him experience Love of this nature in any other circumstance. All my life, I have been loved. My parents adored me from before I was born. My husband loves me. My children and grandchildren and even my daughters-in-law love me. I have a few — very few, no one is given many of these — friends who truly love me.
I have been loved and I have loved all my life.
But I have never known love as rapturous, ecstatic and deeply joyous as the love that surrounded me, immersed me and filled me on that day when I met Him.
That is God and He is Love.
The reason I am writing this is because I feel an urgent need to say to those who will hear me that there is no evidence of that Presence and that Love in Christianity as I am seeing it taught by our big-name, public religious leaders today.
They have kicked Jesus to the curb. They have renounced the Gospels, the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes. They have even discarded the Ten Commandments.
They are preaching and teaching a political christianity that does not know Jesus, has no Christ and wears the Cross for jewelry but ignores its meaning. I know full well that many of the people who read this will refuse to accept what I’m saying. So be it.
To quote Our Lord, let them that have ears, hear.
If you want to follow Jesus, you have a roadmap to help you find the Way.
The Ten Commandments are non-negotiable. You have to follow them, and when you fail, you have to repent, confess and try to do better.
The Sermon on the Mount is non-negotiable. You have to do your best to follow it. You have to care for, love and uplift the Least of These, because they are Him in human disguise. When you fall short, as you will, you have to repent, confess and try again.
The Beatitudes are non-negotiable. You have to live in humility before the Cross, hunger for righteousness, seek to bring peace, stand for Christ in suffering humanity, even when powerful christians attack you for doing it and refuse to turn your back on Him, even if it costs you everything.
God does not expect perfection from us. He is our loving Father and He knows we will fall as we are learning to walk His Way. He only asks that we be honest about our failures and keep trying.
Years ago, Catholic Answers put out a list of what they said were the “Non-Negotiables” for Catholics. None of these addressed the Gospel requirements for following the Son of God. They were political issues, and they were designed to drive the vote in one direction. That’s all they were; a political tool.
I never criticized them because I didn’t have any objection to the positions they took. However, I also never mistook them for anything other than the political tool they were.
I’ve come to the conclusion that I was wrong not to point out from the beginning that these were just a vote-driving ploy. Too many Catholics seem to think that they are some sort of Gospel imperative that came from God Himself, instead of a political vote-driving tool put together by a web site. They have actually allowed these things to teach them to set aside the Gospel imperatives which were given to us by God Himself when He walked among us.
Far too many Catholics today are willing to smack Jesus on the nose for being disobedient to their political gods and tell Him to sit down and shut up.
That’s exactly what you are doing when you excuse powerful politicians for living and speaking in opposition to the Ten Commandments. You are saying that the Ten Commandments don’t apply to your politics.
That’s what you’re doing when you say that the plain teachings of the Sermon on the Mount are too impractical to apply to daily political life, that politicians should be free to ruthlessly harm, destroy and hurt people in your name. You are saying that you have decided that political expediency sets aside the teachings of Christ.
That’s what you’re doing when you strut around denouncing people, passing on slanders, and supporting crimes against them.
You are not following God.
You are lying when you say that God supports what you are doing.
God is not a God of hate.
God is not a God of misogyny and racism and double standards.
If it is a sin for one politician to be sexually corrupt, it is a sin for all of them — and for you. If it is a sin for one politician to lie, it is a sin for them all — and for you.
If it is a sin for black people to hate you, it is a sin for you to hate black people.
If it is a sin for someone to lie about you, it is a sin for you to lie about them.
If it is a sin for Bill Clinton to abuse women, it is a sin for Donald Trump to abuse women.
If it is a sin for George Wallace to preach racial hatred, it is a sin for Donald Trump to preach racial hatred.
If it is a sin for them, it is a sin for you.
You can’t preach hate and be speaking for God.
Because God is love.
You can’t use political expediency to excuse doing the will of the devil and be a child of the Light.
I do not see Jesus in the christianity I am encountering on the internet and in public venues today. I do not see the God I met so long ago. All I see is hate and grasping for power.
There is no Christ in Trumpian Christianity. There is no Jesus. There is no Cross. There is no Love. There is no Light. There is no Conversion. There is no Redemption.
There is no Salvation.