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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Christianity vs Platitudes

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. (James 4:17).

Take 30 seconds to reflect on how 4:17 is true for you. What situation comes to mind? (Serendipity Bible Fourth Edition, page 1686).

Sometimes Christianity is taken as a cure-all, an elixir, for all that ails you. There is a sense in which this is true – the relational and forgiving love of God is fundamental to healing and hope. There are times, however, in which Christianity is taken as a nifty list of bromides which, when repeated, can magically divine instant cheer. Let us say that a child is killed in an accident. It is a misuse of Christianity to pretend that sonorously intoning the phrase “God has another flower in heaven” can help at all in mitigating the depths of grief felt by the family. Sometimes the most a loving fellow Christian can do “is be steady and be there” as my friend Andy Hines often demonstrates.  Since grief resolution requires profound workings within the interlace of reason and emotion, it simply is not touched by cure-all platitudes.  Christianity is a cure-all only to the extent that it opens pathways to reality (as opposed to escapism) and underwrites the complex of social and individual integrity.

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