Week of May 12

Dear Friends,

The church is an interesting institution.  It has a long history.  That same history is complicated.  To be fair, one must acknowledge ALL of the good done by the church. To be honest, one must also acknowledge the trail of corruption, greed and violence.  

Many church historians believe that Constantine (Roman Emperor) ruined Christianity in the 4thcentury when it became the official religion of the state.  Listen to what Soren Kierkegaard says:

As the Christian faith was adopted by the Empire, it lost its heart. The clergy got into the position of themselves being controlled. So there was nothing to do but to water down Christianity. And so they continued to water it down till in the end they achieved perfect conformity with an ordinary run of worldly ideas - which were proclaimed as Christianity. That is more or less Protestantism as it is now.

 That is a provocative idea with countless implications.  Christianity is not primarily about being a good citizen.  It is not primarily about preserving the status quo as defined by the rulers of the day.  It is finally not about being a “pretty” good person.  As Kierkegaard suggests, all of these notions are watered down versions of faith.  Faith has a radically different view of reality.  It sees differently.  It calls out the inevitable corruption of power.  It mocks the idols of the dominant culture.  It calls for peace, kindness, forgiveness and sacrificial generosity.  Anything less is not Christianity.  Call it something else.

Institutions have a way of sliding weakly towards self-preservation.  Our Mother’s Day celebration has nothing to do with that old, predictable impulse. It began with a particular vision. It was about throwing open the doors. It was about celebrating a different genre of music.  It was about outreach, collaboration, diversity, and service.  It was about the loaves and fishes. 

We have not lost our heart.  Please come on Sunday morning to hear the Good News Gospel Choir, and see once again a new way of being in the world.