(Click here for a video of John reading this Catch.)
In his book Screwtape Letters where an underling demon learns how to trip up Christians so as to render them useless for the kingdom of God, Lewis introduces the sinister idea of “Christianity and” where one’s faith is bound up in something in addition to their faith, so that one’s faith can be made to support just about anything, even that which would be in conflict to the true nature of following Christ and His teachings.
Examples of this would be:
Christianity and wealth
Christianity and the American dream
Christianity and family values
Christianity and power
Christianity and anti-abortion
Christianity and politics.
Or looking back on our past in this country, one would have to include:
Christianity and capitalism
Christianity and slavery
Christianity and white supremacy.
There is a lot that could go here because we have mixed our faith up with much that is cultural and not necessarily biblical. Sometimes not even close. We need to learn to strip our faith away from our culture to get at what Jesus wants us to do.
For instance, James says, “Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you” (James 1:27). Pure and genuine religion is caring for orphans and widows? How much of that do we do? And refusing to let the world corrupt us would be getting rid off those “and’s” we’re talking about that are attached to our faith. Looks to me like we have some work to do.
Your assignment, should you choose to accept it, is to come up with your own list of “Christianity and _____________.” Let’s see what we can find out together about what has invaded our faith and gotten us off track.
Good examples of how Christianity has gotten off course to what it should be. I believe go back to the beginning and think about what Jesus wanted long ago. Being there for those who suffer or sometimes have ideas we don’t agree with and loving our fellow man no matter what may come. Sharing ideas with others who do not necessarily agree with ours and the total acceptance of our Lord and Savior no matter what following a path and letting him lead us.
Christianity and my own personal perspective. We can assume our experiences are everyone’s and judged quickly those who have not walked in our shoes and view the world differently.
Christianity and my own bias. Same as above but worse because it’s usually accompanied with bigotry.
Christianity and religion. That’s when our traditions, practices and rituals are just as important as how we live. (Of course, they’re not) Also it limits our spiritual vision to that which carries the religious label. The “secular” world is not part of our Christianity.
Sorry but I had to add this one…
Christianity and American patriotism. I often hear “For God and Country” as if they are synonymous.
If making the pledge of allegiance and singing the national anthem are treated the same as prayer and worship, something’s wrong. God’s Kingdom is eternal, countries are temporary. God is perfect, countries (their leaders, representatives, citizens and voters) are all sinners. Yes, they should all be loved, prayed for and respected but not put too close to God. If God comes first and the USA comes second, there should be a big gap between 1 and 2.
Thank you, John. Hey everybody, let’s keep this list going!
For myself it’s all too easy to add to the list:
Christianity and my abilities
Christianity and having things under control
Christianity and my reputation
Christianity and my comfort and safety
Christianity and my pride
Christianity and being “right”
Love this. Especially the last one. Thanks for the honesty.
I thought two comments would be good at this time. I was listening to my neighbor talking to his children last night about various faiths and beliefs. Also mentioning to them to talk to him being their father if had any questions and also their mom. Something this dad mentioned was about how some people will tell someone their belief is the only way to God and Heaven. I guess it helped me to see something important like Christianity and denominations and the belief it has to be this way or no way. The neighbors did not see me while talking about this because i was sitting under the car port on my side and their fence is covered in that area where the back part of our car port is and also, they have a trampoline by their fence. It was very helpful to listen quietly to this while the Dad was explaining to his children ages five and seven i think. So the idea of my belief is the only way unfortunately needs to be looked at carefully. Take care, and God Bless.
I like to attempt replies to a few of these by asking a bit more in-depth questions to try to understand them better:
Such as: “Christianity and wealth” what does this even mean? I think it might be better understood from other Pastor comment “Jesus was a communist,” which blew my mind ANYONE would write that to try to make ANY POINT – as I said or wrote back than I’d be upset if John wrote Jesus was a capitalist. Please DON’T ever lower my Savoir to ANYFORM of Govt! Although, I know we need Gov’t and I believe it says in he Bible to Gov’t is on His shoulders…
“Christianity and anti-abortion” again like to answer by asking another question does that mean we has believers & follower’s of Christ shouldn’t say any thing about killing an unborn child? When King David wrote in the Psalms (a Mark’s paraphrase) I knew you while in your Mother’s womb.
“Christianity and capitalism” Love to ask anyone to please help me to understand what other form of Gov’t other than Free-Market Capitalism as helped generate more money to spread the Gospel?
And these 2:
Christianity and slavery – Christianity and white supremacy. BOTH are wrong!
Mark, These things are not all necessarily wrong. Some of the things we tie to our Christianity are good in and of themselves but when they become so important they are tied to our faith, then things get out of whack. Capitalism may be the best economic system we know of, but it isn’t perfect, nor should it be considered “Christian.” It also runs on greed and can be easily abused. It is a good thing to try and prevent abortions, but not to the exclusion of caring for the mothers, the poor, and caring for everyone’s eternal soul. When the “and” part gets equal billing to faith, something is askew. And as far as slavery and white supremacy is concerned, they were very much a part of Christianity in the South in the founding of this country. They were even justified by the Bible. And a number of Christian historians today, such as Randall Balmer and Kristin Du Mez have shown how they are still a factor in Christian leadership today.
And they (Salivary & white supremacy) were WRONG back then & still are now!
Also, agree, with what u wrote: ” Capitalism may be the best economic system we know of, but it isn’t perfect, nor should it be considered “Christian.” It also runs on greed and can be easily abused.” Amen b/c no man is perfect and I never met or heard anyone say Capitalism is Christian. And if ANYONE thinks or feels I ever said that I apologies for it…
Yet in the next breath will I be willing to debate or discuss it has “the best economic system we know of…: B/C it has produced more wealth to spread the Gospel, give jobs and feed people none of which are done for free..
It has been interesting to read so many different labels attached to Christianity. I know this much their have also been times I felt I was pretty right on some areas and needed to open the mind a bit. I believe it all goes back to the basics of when we walk with the Lord he will never let us go no matter if we are making foolish statements maybe out of trying to be more pleasing to him or folks around us. I am just grateful to be with him on this journey. Right now feeling very emotional and glad for the technology where we all can really express our views and not feel shy or embarrassed. Mr Fischer thanks for the great messages each day as we all keep the faith in our Lord and Savior and exchange our views about each message with others.