Monday, April 25, 2011

Easter Monday

Today is Easter Monday. The day after the greatest feast in Christendom, Easter, the sign of everlasting imperishable hope for billions of people throughout the world. Here in the United States, in the areas of affluence and the suburbs, people in their new Easter finery trekked to churches for celebrations of various sorts. Easter is also a day when people in their hundreds of thousands who don't ever darken the door of a church otherwise also go to church. Habit, gesture, tradition? I guess. I could never really figure it out. It certainly has nothing to do with the Gospel.

The whole exercise of Christianity, at least the kind of exercise and Christianity I'm familiar with, misses the entire point of the gospels. Or so it seems to me. There is nothing plainer in the gospels than the fact that Jesus would doubtless take a dim view of the kind of self-congratulatory, pablum-based, feel-good, judgmental, and sometimes downright silly religions, practices, and beliefs that have been formed around his name and life.

It's for dead certain that you don't hear this kind of thing from the pulpits of America's Christian churches: "Jesus was a working man, a carpenter, who advocated for the underclass, the powerless, and those country clubs would exclude." If this kind of dead-on gospel does get preached, you can be sure it's couched in enough provisos and qualifications to allow anybody listening to wriggle off the hook, to not be challenged by the radical equality of everyone that Jesus recognized, preached, and most of all, lived. No, we prefer our gospel comfortable and toothless. And we certainly don't want it to have anything to do with equality.

So the Risen Lord is forced to wonder once again just what these people who claim to follow him are actually doing. That is, aside from everything he preached against and despite his many examples to the contrary.
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