This is a column by opinion writer Adam Van Brimmer.
A wise man and much less tense than I broadcast one of my periodic collapses on the madness of organized Christianity with mild retribution.
“Adam, you are there for the man on the wall, not for the man in the pulpit.”
I’m a Roman Catholic, so the man on the wall is Jesus Christ. Christ crucified is mounted above the altar of every Catholic church in the world. The man in the pulpit is the clergy, and while the church teaches that priests and bishops are âin the person of Christ,â we all know they are imperfect human beings subject to the same spiritual weaknesses and intellectual challenges. than the rest of us.
The same week on The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has proposed a measure Intended to deny Communion to President Joe Biden on his stance on abortion, the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention has turned into a playground for cultural issues. The Methodist Church has faced a similar theological crisis in recent years.
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Evangelicals of all faiths find themselves at or near an ideological tipping point that is all too familiar beyond the doors of the church. As society tends to be more equitable and inclusive in terms of race, gender, and gender identity, Americans’ attitudes toward this development are reflected in the way they worship – understandably, as many see their church as moral authority.
The problem here is with the different ways in which church leaders interpret the teachings of Christ. They build their stories around one or two and ignore the others. And as we have seen with evangelical support for former President Donald Trump, many are willing to turn a blind eye to a person’s shameless moral behavior as long as that person is pushing the church agenda forward.
This abandonment of the core values ââof Christianity – love and forgiveness and the understanding that God, not robed men, will judge us for our sins – is infuriating.
What is more, it eviscerates Christianity. It is no coincidence that polls show that less than half of American adults now claim a religious congregation. Churches literally drive out believers.
Especially young Christians.
At a recent lunch with a woman in her twenties raised as a Protestant, she expressed a desire to return to church after moving away, as many do in the years following the departure of the Church. their parents’ house. She remains hesitant, however, because from her perspective, the church today is more focused on politics and corner cultural issues than it is on the celebration of the faith.
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Rather than acknowledging this obvious reality, church leaders dig deeper. It can help fill the collection plate every Sunday, as ardent conservatives in the benches open their wallets to show their support. But as a long-term strategy, it’s as flawed as a hunger strike as a way to lose weight.
The targeting of American bishops against President Biden is just another affront. Pope Francis himself has declared that communion “is not the reward of saints, but the bread of sinners”. The American Catholic clergy, a group determined to sabotage their own moral authority in recent decades, should not rewrite the doctrine on who is worthy of fellowship.
If they deny Biden, shouldn’t they deny the Eucharist to Catholics who voted for Biden because of his positions on the myriad of issues other than abortion? What about those who don’t condemn homosexuality or sex outside of marriage? Do we need to fill out a moral dashboard and bring it every weekend with us?
That’s my blood pressure again. Fortunately, I hear my friend’s voice ringing in my head at the same time. For faithful like me, whose faith is based on compassion for others and the joy of Christ’s unconditional love for us sinners, the church remains only about the man on the wall.
Those in the pulpit should take note soon.
Contact Van Brimmer at [email protected].