Sunday night I read NT Wright's "Judas and the Gospel of Jesus." It started me off with a belly laugh in the preface, and ended with me jumping up at one in the morning saying amen to my cat (who I'm sure thought I was nuts). Here's what he said that has me so geeked:
Of course, those who propogate today's left-wing neo-Gnosticism will say that they are implacably opposed, among other things, to the kind of "classic Christianity" represented by today's American right, including those responsible for current U.S. foreign policy. But here is the rub. The American religious right, though it has indeed got its finger on some elements of classic Christianity, is itself heavily compromised down very similar lines to what we might call the American religious left. The type of Christianity which has become popular in the last two centuries on both sides of the Atlantic, in fact, has steadily eroded its grip on the great New Testament and early Christian themes such as resurrection, and has embraced not only an individualism where what most truly matters is "my" soul, its state and its salvation, but also a future hope which is worryingly similar to that of Gnosticism. "Going to heaven when you die"--or, indeed, escaping death and going to heaven by means of a "rapture" instead--is the name of the game for millions of such Christians. And when you tell people, as I often do, that the New Testament isn't very interested in "going to heaven," but far more with a new bodily life at some future stage later on, and with the anticipation of the future bodily life in holiness and justice in the present, they look at you strangely, as if you were trying to inculcate a new heresy. "Conservative" post-Enlightenment Western Christianity and "liberal" post-Enlightenment Western Christianity begin to look as if they are simply the right and left wings of the same essentially wrongheaded movement.
N.T. Wright, Judas and the Gospel of Jesus, pp. 141-142.
He hits the nail on the head with what he writes here! He reiterates what Meic Pearse says in "Why the Rest hates the West" and what James Kurth says in his "Protestant Deformation" piece. I hope the Lord gives these men, and others like them, a megaphone to speak this truth to the worldwide Christian church, and maybe even the American church. After all, miracles still happen!
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Tonight is a meteor shower. In ancient times, meteor showers portended major changes in empires. Kings were being born. Empires were falling. Last night I read part of the Iraq Study Group report. On the micro level it has a lot of accurate details, yet it's underlying assumptions leave it ultimately unable to adequately deal with the reality on the ground, either in Iraq, or here in America. Tonight I listened to last Sunday's sermon by Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, just up the road a bit. He's doing a series called "peacemakers". Last Sunday he talked about the war in Iraq, but also about the larger issues of 'terror' and such. He presented a lot of facts and figures about demographics, especially about 'us' in America and the rest of the world. It's amazing how much we 'consume'. America is dying of consumption. A new king is born. An empire is fallen. Our king calls us to follow him. But his way is the way of the cross. Will we/I follow him? Can a victor be found in a bloodied, bruised, broken body? Do I dare trust that power? Do I dare not? I should go out and watch the stars fall to the earth.