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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

God as a Mob Boss

Like most folks, my view of Christianity is heavily influenced by my years as a child and youth growing up within local churches.  I must say at the outset that whether in a more rural or municipal setting, discussions of ethics focused upon our direct call to responsibilities as individuals and as Christians.  Whether merchants, teachers, or farmers, the question was always how we could contribute towards realizing a more abundant life in all its dimensions in the broadest possible way.

I knew even then that Christianity could take a turn towards emotional fanaticism—with "End-Timers" being peculiarly suspectable to an ugly indulgence in self-righteousness twisted together with a “burn-baby-burn” mentality towards remaining humanity.  These groups evinced utter confidence that (despite Jesus’s advice that only God knew when that date would come) the End-Time was indeed here, that they themselves were safely within the mob boss's favor, and that all others would writhe in pain and destruction—while they themselves (being in the strong mob boss’s good graces) would reap the rewards of triumphant gang loyalty.

This is totally antithetical to my view of Christian ethics.  We are to serve as a creative and redemptive force often in a very local and specific sense.  But even on the world stage, we are never to exalt in the rending of civilization into smoldering heaps of ashes. We mortals are to do what we can to help advance societal health; and not to gleefully anticipate the suffering retribution of the great-unwashed less-worthy-than-we ourselves.

Jesu, Joy Of Man's Desiring
Johann Sebastian Bach

Jesus, joy of man's desiring
Holy wisdom, love most bright
Drawn by Thee, our souls aspiring
Soar to uncreated light

Word of God, our flesh that fashioned
With the fire of life impassioned
Striving still to truth unknown
Soaring, dying round Thy throne 

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