Thursday, December 31, 2009

Nationalized Christianity -- corrupted faith

In a recent commentary on the book "The Christians as Romans Saw Them", Professor David Gushee (Mercer University) says, "Christianity was persecuted not because most Roman leaders couldn't handle religious diversity, but because they could not accept a kind of diversity that taught people to detach from primary loyalty to the Empire, its sponsoring deities and its way of life. ... Christians will always feel both internal and external pressures to resort to nationalized religion, and this corrupted form of the faith is the version most prevalent in the United States."

Another tidbit: Romans viewed Christianity as an apostasy of Judaism.

After reading the commentary, I wonder if we Christians are not getting really good at persecuting others. We have denominations or even parts of denominations that want to legislate their personal views on society as a whole. We make assumptions that we "know all" about God's Word. Of course we also insist that the particular copy of a particular Bible translation we use is the only accurate one and that we thoroughly understand exactly what every passage meant both to the people of the day as well as to us today. Then we seek to implement our own personal beliefs through local state and national legislation.

It's much too easy for such actions to amount to persecution. And it's the result of people trying to nationalize their religion. The commentary (and the book it pertains to) give much food for thought.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

A new view of "You"

Our society constantly pushes us to desire more and buy more. We spend ourselves into debt while others in the scrape by on relative crumbs of money.

The Advent Conspiracy and Rethinking Christmas sites promote increased awareness of others' needs and decreased consumption behavior by us. Pastor Dave promoted those in a recent blog posting, "Advent Resources". The related Trade as One site promotes helping others by buying Fair Trade items. Below is one of their "Trade as One" videos.

Do you have what it takes to lower your stress and decrease the commercialism of Christmas while at the same time helping others?