The tradition that St Paul was bald. That would be a good starting point.
“Gee, Donald, what a great hairstyle you have! Wow, how do you do that comb over? Have you ever thought that your fake tan, your fake teeth and your fake hair tell us exactly who you are and what your values are?”
So says the great apostle. He stands the whole thing success thing on its head. What worries me about so much of American Christianity is that we have uncritically accepted the Alpha American Achievement culture and actually integrated into our religion.
We go for show. We dress for success. We strive to be on top and be the winners (which usually means beating the other guy). There’s nothing wrong with this per se, it’s when we believe that this outward, trophy-winning, success oriented, appearance focussed thing is reality, and when we live life as if this is all that matters.
When I see conservative Christians therefore cheering Donald Trump for shooting at the easy targets of women, immigrants and the poor it makes me sick. By all means let us come up with a way to integrate immigrants successfully, but to take cheap pot shots at them? C’mon.
This is non-Gospel. It’s the Way of the World. It’s exactly the opposite of the beatitudes. It’s the opposite of the apostolic life. The Catholic faith should not condone the American Alpha Achievement culture, but criticize it. Someone has said the gospel is only good news when it is subversive.Instead, what we’ve done is drafted Christianity into the whole thing as if to give God’s blessing to these worldly values.
The gospel must subvert and undermine the way of the world in whatever culture it finds itself. In America it is the prophetic part of the gospel to challenge the accepted success culture, to find the marginalized, the downtrodden and those who are not so outwardly wonderful. They’re God’s little people, and like all the saints, it is our task to identify with them and somehow stand things on their head and put down the mighty from their thrones and exalt the humble and meek.