Defensive Christians

cross2These feel like hard days to be Christian, what with culture pushing against us and changing the rules. Church influence is on the decline everywhere, people are making laws about religious rights, and we really need to redefine ourselves.

But then I put my big boy pants on and realize hey! It’s actually pretty nice outside. These are some of the easiest days ever to be Christian and we who claim the title are lucky.

  • We don’t get persecuted for our faith with any sort of serious danger to self.
  • Ours is still the preferred faith for most all serious political positions
  • We can mention faith anywhere and in a newly pluralist age there is a decent chance people will accept our choice
  • We aren’t required to wear weird things on our heads or strange underwear.

I have met a thousand Christians across this country and they each enjoy the sort of privilege the majority of the human race has for millenia only dreamed of.

I know, I know,  in higher academia there are a small minority of well-to-do children of privilege who sometimes get their feelings hurt in philosophy class. Wish it weren’t so.

I know, we are sometimes looked down upon because we have folks using our brand to diminish women, gays, science, and tolerance. Trying to redefine ourselves is the cross we bear.

  Which brings me to the holiest day of the year.

Easter is a wonderful day worthy of celebration. I look forward to it. I have a great sermon lined up! But Easter is God’s Business, not ours. That is, the Easter miracle of resurrection, now as well as then, happens in God’s timing and fashion or not at all. Our recognition and planning for it is irrelevant (other than the egg hunt).

Good Friday is the most important day on the Liturgical Calendar.

As a great majority of Christendom recognizes (being poor, living south of us…) Today is the holiest day of the year when we remember Christ’s sacrifice.  The larger collection of believers across the world is gathering on this solitary day to walk, kneel, pray and recite the most important story ever told. This is our banner day for finding direction and meaning.

Resurrection is the Divine and mystical event we forever proclaim and for which we hope. But the suffering at the cross in contrast is symbolic of the everyday ongoing universal human experience. We don’t wear empty tombs around our necks, but crosses.

This Great Friday reminds us of human rights denied; rights that really need defending and speaking up for all around us.  We keep getting confused in our ministry about its direction. We ought to be less concerned with defending our own experience than in doing the defending for those who suffer.   They are easier to find than you really wish.

In terms of freedom and “rights” this holiest day of the year reminds us to defend especially the One Right we have as Christians: the right to die to Self for the sake of Others.






2 thoughts on “Defensive Christians

  1. We seem to have been thinking along the same lines recently, Don. I read “The Wasteland” on Good Friday and it framed for me again the profound distinction between Christians who are primarily of the cross and those of the resurrection. Eliot was far more the former, which you make a strong case for yourself. Great line about no one walking around with empty tomb medallions around their necks!

  2. Drew – love it! I was always warned in college and seminary to make sure I was being “Christo-centric” but realize I have become more “cruci-centric” since.

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