Archive for February 8th, 2011

Beauty and Continuity

The other day I posted an Incredible String Band tune, which I associate with the beginning of the journey. This is a video from my parish choir, from where I am at this point. It may not be evident, but there has been continuity in the path: I just followed Beauty where He led me.

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The other day I questioned whether the United States can be said to be a Christian nation, as we manifestly do not love our enemies.

If this is true, though, there is another implication. Christianity is unique insofar as it hold that one Man, only, is God Incarnate. Other religions hold that no man is God, others that all are God, or that God has been made man many times. But only Christianity holds that Jesus Christ is uniquely the God-Man. Most who proclaim themselves Christians believe this in some form or other.

However, there is another thing that is unique to the teaching of Christ. Every religion teaches justice, and every religion teaches that one’s enemies must be treated equitably. If someone puts out your eye, you are to respond in the same manner, and restrain yourself from killing him, taking only his eye.

But Jesus Christ alone proclaims that one must love one’s enemies, doing good to those who would harm you, not returning evil for evil. But if it is hard to not kill someone who pokes your eye out, it is all but impossible to love him. So most who proclaim themselves Christians don’t really try. The clear command of Christ is treated like hyperbole or poetry, sort of like Christ telling us to poke our own eye out if it leads us to sin. We may profess faith in the Christ of the New Covenant, but we live our lives as if we are still in the Old Covenant, at best. Loving one’s enemies is so far from the norm that it is viewed as  quite remarkable when it is seen, as when the Pennsylvania Amish reached out to the man who had murdered their children a few years ago.

I can’t help but wonder: what would the world look like if Christians at least attempted to live the Gospel?

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