Christianity: madness

The cover of Newsweek caught my eye. Pretty hard not to. Hipster Jesus — some didn’t like it. But like the New Statesman cover, it grabbed my attention because it takes Jesus out of Palestine circa 2000 years ago, and puts Him right smack in 2012. Christianity as a religion is in decline because people are mistaking the church for Jesus, Who is ominously missing from His own Body. But there is more to religion than the church, with all its victories and failings. There’s Jesus.

While I don’t agree with everything Andrew Sullivan says, I did like this:

To reduce one’s life to essentials, to ask merely for daily bread, forgiveness of others, and denial of self is, in many ways, a form of madness. It is also a form of liberation.

Also this, which connects to my previous post:

There are times when great injustices—slavery, imperialism, totalitarianism, segregation—require spiritual mobilization and public witness. But from Gandhi to King, the greatest examples of these movements renounce power as well. They embrace nonviolence as a moral example, and that paradox changes the world more than politics or violence ever can or will.

And this:

I have no concrete idea how Christianity will wrestle free of its current crisis, of its distractions and temptations, and above all its enmeshment with the things of this world. But I do know it won’t happen by even more furious denunciations of others, by focusing on politics rather than prayer, by concerning ourselves with the sex lives and heretical thoughts of others rather than with the constant struggle to liberate ourselves from what keeps us from God. What Jefferson saw in Jesus of Nazareth was utterly compatible with reason and with the future; what Saint Francis trusted in was the simple, terrifying love of God for Creation itself. That never ends.

This Christianity comes not from the head or the gut, but from the soul. It is as meek as it is quietly liberating. It does not seize the moment; it lets it be. It doesn’t seek worldly recognition, or success, and it flees from power and wealth. It is the religion of unachievement. And it is not afraid. In the anxious, crammed lives of our modern twittering souls, in the materialist obsessions we cling to for security in recession, in a world where sectarian extremism threatens to unleash mass destruction, this sheer Christianity, seeking truth without the expectation of resolution, simply living each day doing what we can to fulfill God’s will, is more vital than ever. It may, in fact, be the only spiritual transformation that can in the end transcend the nagging emptiness of our late-capitalist lives, or the cult of distracting contemporaneity, or the threat of apocalyptic war where Jesus once walked. (Emphasis mine.)

I’m not saying we should abandon the church, but we shouldn’t follow it instead of Jesus.

“…anyone who holds onto his life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.” (John 12:25)

Blessed, recklessly loving Easter, everybody :)

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