Today, I have exchanged my keyboard for a hammer. I’ve decided to write aphorisms, channeling my inner Nietzsche who desires to smash and destroy commonly-accepted beliefs to make way for something new and great. There is much to lament about the state of today’s church. Each of these aphorisms could merit an entire blog post — in which I would bring them to satisfactory resolutions — but without their resolution, you, the readers, must resolve them in your minds and hearts. Allow them to work on you and challenge you. I offer little respite from their critiques so that you must decide for yourself if you have overcome them.
(For those unfamiliar with aphorisms, they are usually short, forceful thoughts which have a sense of general truth. Don’t read this like a series of interconnected paragraphs. Each statement stands by itself.)
On God’s Will
Is it God’s will or a strongly-held opinion?
How convenient it is that God should speak to those with strong convictions by confirming what they already believe. Has God then abandoned the prophetic spirit which challenges convention? Each person I find with a word from God has scarcely had to change in God’s wake. I wonder then if their gods are anything more than the deification of their own egos.
I will only follow a God who is not an excuse for my behavior.
Is there any greater evil than the misuse of the Absolute? Of God? Is God a hammer with which to crush the human spirit?
What most call theology is a system of imperial power justifying itself by using the language of God. To practice theology is to disguise our ideologies even from ourselves — and then deify them.
Christian reverence, mysticism, and reflection might more appropriately bear the title of theology, but what is a word other than how it is used? Thus, “theology” is a sham. Is the word beyond redemption?
What are God’s approved roles for women? Similarly, how many angels can fit on the head of a pin? There is little difference between these questions when asked in the manner of theology. Each depends on contriving a solution from a collection of scattered and unrelated texts to the exclusion of whatever is inconvenient to the one asking the question. Theology prevents us from asking questions in earnest.
If Christ gives freedom, why do we look to theology to give us license for our actions?
For theology to survive, it must recognize its place as a cultural expression of our encounters with God. It cannot envy the perceived certainty of other disciplines and must make do with the scraps which fall from Heaven. Do we see through a glass, darkly, or through a microscope with complete clarity? Theology has forgotten mystery.
On the Church and the Other
What is a church if not a self-congratulatory gathering of like-minded individuals? What is evangelism if not a desire to have others affirm our beliefs?
There is scarcely anything more essential to American Christianity than viewing oneself as superior to one’s neighbor. There is scarcely anything less Christian.
Of what good the church may offer, may not a bar offer these, as well? You may even find more integrity in a brothel than in a church of endlessly-smiling faces — at least everyone will be forward about their intentions!
How can the church shield the poor from the oppressor? It must save us from itself!
The church has grown into its original enemy. Where Rome cast out the other and demanded submission, so now does the church. It has no regard for the outsider except the hope that he might submit. That which some call the church is but an extension of the Roman Imperial Cult.
Was the Good Samaritan a Good Christian? (No.) Did the Centurion pray the sinner’s prayer? (No.) What do we think God demands of us if God sees the faith of the outsider?