Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A CHRISTIAN IS NOT A THUG

On my friend, Bishop Leland Somers' Blog, he wrote an excellent post that I strongly urge you to read entitled, "Reflections on the Church and Discipleship in the Twenty-first Century." I made the following comment on his post:

"How anyone can consider him/herself a “Christian,” a disciple of Christ, and align him/herself with the most reactionary secular and religious forces in society is a mystery to anyone with even a scintilla of spiritual sense. Merely reading Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, and Matthew 25:31-46 puts the lie to the “cheap grace” against which Bonhoeffer railed, and puts the lie to the claim that one is a “Christian.”

"It’s high time that we realize and acknowledge that demonic forces have both infiltrated and taken over most of the institutional Church, and all of us have a cold turkey choice to make: have as idols power, prestige, and wealth of these deomonic forces or follow Jesus’ Gospel of grace, faith, love, peace, reconciliation, and inclusiveness. Jesus tells us that we will know who are His by their fruits, by the love they show others, particularly the most unfortunate and deprived among us.

"So, when any self-styled “Christian” enacts or condones through rhetoric or silence the victimization of others, that person has shown him/herself to be none of Christ’s! It is high time that all Christians, disciples of Christ, speak out and confront the thugs among us who sully Jesus’ name, spit in the face of God, misuse the Bible to oppress others, and who in any way seek to harm any of God’s children.

"For, to the degree we don’t confront them, their lies, and their wicked deeds, we are being complicit in their perversions of the teachings of Jesus and we are being complicit in their demonic acts!"

A while back, Bishop Somers coined the term, "thug Christianity," and we can see thug Christianity, once comprising a fringe group within the institutional Church, now comprising a major part of the institutional Church. Nowhere is the hegemony of thug Christianity better seen than in most of the institutional Church's attitudes toward full and equal civil and sacramental rights for LGBT people.

Frankly, I have no less revulsion against the outright homophobes, with their hateful rhetoric and/or discriminatory action, than I do against those who keep silent in the face of the grinding oppression of LGBT people. By their silence, they falsely think that they are not getting their hands dirty in hate-mongering and other discriminatory activities, but they are fooling themselves.

Those who keep silent are as complicit in this oppression as are the most rabid homophobes, only they are more cowardly about it. By allowing clergy to demonize from the pulpit, or in any other venue for that matter, our Gay sisters and brothers, these cowards are giving credibility to these clergy; tacitly agreeing with their hateful rhetoric and perverted values; not facing up to the mandate of all who would follow Jesus to help remove yokes of bondage and oppression from others.

Moreover, the thugs and their silent accomplices have given, and are giving, Christianity and Jesus a bad name in the eyes of so many non-Christians who falsely view Christianity as a harsh, judgmental, censorious "religion," made up of a bunch of legalists who love to cast stones at others' perceived "sins," but refuse to take the log out of their own eyes.

Anyone who seeks to oppress another, or deny another person dignity and full and equal civil and sacramental rights, is not a Christian, but is a mere thug, and that fact both has to be acknowledged and advertised as forcefully and as widely as possible, so that Christianity and the name of Jesus aren't further sullied by the thugs who have enjoyed hegemony in most of the institutional Church for far too long.

And it must also be acknowledged and advertised that the institutional Church and the Christian Church (made up of the ecclesia, God's called out ones) are by no means necessarily coterminous!

That's one of the reasons why, if you are involved in a homophobic church, or are involved in any church that preaches the false gospel of legalism and exclusion, you should leave that church, as by your mere attendance, let alone your membership, you are aligning yourself with the thugs who preach a false gospel; you are giving them a credibility that they don't deserve; you are giving your time and money which encourages and allows them to continue to proclaim that false gospel, and you are therefore fully culpable in their perversion of the gospel and in their oppression of others.

To the thugs who profess to be Christians, on the day of judgment, Jesus tells us that He will say to them, "...I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:23)
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2 comments:

Ellen said...

Hi Jerry,

I'm a Christian Lesbian and came from 30+ years of fundamental Christianity. I have contributed to a forum called "The Bible and Homosexuality" at:
http://stevebrownetc.com/2007/06/podcasts/steve-brown-etc/homosexuals-and-the-church/

I need some help here. If more Gays would help contribute here, MAYBE just MAYBE they would "open their eyes." We all pray this would happen and I STILL have faith that someone somewhere will be converted like Carlton Pearson and other televangelists.

People daily are finally listening to us and are "turning around." We must be persistent, like the woman and the judge in the Gospels.

Can you and anyone who is scholarly in Biblical studies help me? Please!

Ellen

Jerry Maneker said...

Hi Ellen: Some of my articles in my Links section may be of help; some of the Links to other sites, such as Christ, The Gay Martyr; UFMCC; Whosoever, are some other good sites. Please also let me know what I can do to help, and I'll be more than happy to do the best I can. Best wishes, Jerry.