Recently, I wrote a post entitled Jesus in the Amazon. You can read over it if you want as it is loosely related to what I'm about to write. The academic dean of the Bible college that I attended *&#$ years ago commented that my "pessimism about the gospel is disturbing, to put it mildly." I would contend, however, that I'm not pessimistic about the gospel. I'm pessimistic about Christianity, of which I am a part.
More specifically, my beef lies with a particular brand of Christianity. It's not a particular denomination as such. It's the brand that only shops at Alpha and Omega bookstores, only listens to KLove, sends its men to Promise Keepers, its women to Women of Faith (so they can learn how to be more submissive and therefore a better Christian wife and mom),and its children to CIY conferences. It teaches that the place of the woman is at home cleaning house and homeschooling the kids. It won't come right out and say that, though, but by practice you know it's the true Christian way.
It's the brand that boasts megachurches with worship teams that are larger than Artisan. And don't all 50 vocalists look so sincere with their eyes closed and hands raised to the ceiling? None of it sounds any good or, for that matter, looks good in a gymno-sanctuary. The buildings look the way they do to attract wealthy businessmen and their Stepford wives. All of this done to the glory of Christ? Really?
There is little depth here except depth of pockets. Really, though. How deep can you go before you upset the business man and his pocketbook?
This is the brand of Christianity that needs to be right. They educate themselves in colleges so that they can affirm their positions and win any theological debate. Homosexuals, people who have left abusive and poisonous marriages, Buddhists, Muslims (especially), people baptized as infants or sprinkled as an adult be damned. They are wrong! And we are right. It's the brand that teaches you what to think, not how to think for yourself. This is because thinking for yourself would cause all kinds of problems once you think of something a little differently than they do.
This is the brand that sends missions teams to the 10-40 window of the world to feel better about themselves and to spread not the gospel but to spread American ideals, American democracy, American culture under the guise of capturing the world for Christ. If you scroll down far enough in the link, there is a picture of the 10-40 window and a list of all the "unreached" populations. You'll find, though, that they aren't really unreached, they just aren't Christian. They are Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus and Jews. At that point it seems less like missions and more like the Crusades.
I hate this brand of Christianity. While hate is a strong word, it is exactly the word I intend. I hate that I have been a part of this brand. I want to completely dissociate myself from it because I hate the arrogance it produces. Because it has produced that kind of arrogance in me.
So, part of my spiritual formation plan is to avoid throwing the baby Jesus out with the bathwater. I know that not all of Christianity is as I have described. So I'm wading through the skubala in hopes that Jesus will in fact take it and turn it into something useful, and that in wading through it I can, myself, find something wonderful about Christianity that I can agree with.