One of my favorite hymns begins ♫ “O God, our help in ages past, our hope for years to come” ♪. One of the biggest comforts in life is that God is always with us, available to us and waiting for us.
When my father died, I was 23 and it was a devastating blow. All my life I had been taught that “these things happen for a reason” and “God does not give us more than we can handle” but those suddenly sounded like silly cliches. A dear friend, and my boss at the time, gave me the book. “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Harold S. Kushner and the notion that we are not just chess pieces on a board to God came home to me.
The world today is more and more confusing. Keeping the faith, and staying the course has never been harder. From the heretics preaching the “Prosperity Gospel” to the marriage of politics and the evangelical church, it is harder and harder to see Jesus in Christians.
I have very much enjoyed the writings of the modern polemic, John Pavlovitz. He takes on those who have moved Jesus and his teachings from the main mission to instead elect Republicans and push for more inequality, punitive immigration and refugee treatment and harmful dismantling of the safety nets because they ignore the teachings of Jesus. That Christians found a way to proudly vote for Trump was the final revelation of how far afield many Christian churches have gone.
I have not yet found a way to get comfortable with sitting in a church or Sunday School with those I know chose Trump and defend what I find indefensible and not in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
I have found comfort in reading more of Adam Hamilton, who also gets it. As David Gushee, says in this book review: “Frances FitzGerald on how evangelicals lost their way”: “Evangelicals very badly lost their way. And they did so because their gospel stopped being about the love of God in Jesus Christ, demonstrated most profoundly at the cross, and instead became a reactionary jeremiad about saving America by electing Republican politicians and fighting culture wars.”
“…The Christian faith is not fundamentally about shaping America or any other country. It is fundamentally about nurturing a community of human beings who will faithfully follow Jesus. This is where American evangelicals went wrong.”
There are many writers and bloggers also tackling the issue of the unholy marriage of politics and church and the damage being done.
So this Easter, I pray that God touches the heart of his church and clears the Temple again before Christians kill Christianity. If not, I am comfortable without a pew to sit in.