"The Christian must discover in contemplation, and in the giving of his life, those symbolic actions which will ignite the people's faith to resist injustice with their whole lives, lives coming together as a united force of truth and thus releasing the liberating power of the God within them." - James Douglass, Contemplation and Resistance.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Incanting Anemic Souls into Heaven

An essay by Chuck Gutenson, which can be found here, punctures the smug assumptions of much neoconservative religiosity, which dutifully fulfills its role as "moral ballast", in the words of Wendell Berry, by "incanting anemic souls into heaven." In the piercing formulation of Budde and Brimlow's Christianity Incorporated, "Our primary assertion is this: to the extent that capitalist formation succeeds, Christian formation fails." It is precisely the view of Christianity as corporate cheerleader, whose major job is to ameliorate the required excesses of globalized competition, that seems incarnated in the recent essay by Joe Loconte which epitomizes the pseudo-balance of contemporary journalism while reinforcing the requisites of the principalities and powers that underlie corporate domination.

Laconte's underlying assumption is that Christianity can, as long as it behaves itself, be a useful bit player in propping up our unquestionable way of life. Again from Christianity Incorporated, "Indeed, for Christianity to be relevant today, it must do for the whole of society what chaplains do in the armed forces - meet spiritual needs and personal crises, provide legitimation and explanation for the way things are, and generate loyalties to the collective and its purposes."

Though I may be accused of op-edism, I think the best counter to George Will, who wrote that "Jesus can be lord, but only small l and only in your private life." is the poem of Paul in Colossians 1:16 - 17:

For in him were created all things
in heaven and earth
things visible and invisible
whether thrones or dominions
whether rulers or powers -
All things were created through him and for him.

"All things" would seem to include that nasty little patch known as politics, which, while I would be the last to say it might "usher in the kingdom of heaven", will, I believe, one day be redeemed.

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