Far too often I find myself defending against attacks that I am anti-Christian, and occasionally I talk about my own spiritual views. I was raised Lutheran and over the years I held onto the best of the teachings and left the extremism of Dominionist theology behind with my mother when I left home. I even promote the Easter Bunny to my granddaughter knowing that it makes me “the wrong kind of Christian”. Extremists take themselves so seriously.
But back to thoughts about the Christian observance of this day, just because I am absolutely anti-Dominionist does not mean that I am in any way anti-religion. In fact, there is one retired minister whose writings I often post here that teaches what I chose to believe Christianity truly has to offer – that we learn to be kind, considerate and compassionate to ourselves, our families and our neighbors who share this earth with us.
Religion and politics are now inextricably entwined. This has been the case since religion was invented, but in American politics it is taking center stage with increasing intensity. We have to look no further than the bible-thumping parade of GOP contenders for not only the presidency, but local school boards, city councils, legislatures and congress as well. They are clearly making my job easier as I work to get out the message that there really is a pocket of extreme political Christians who are the last ones to actually follow the teachings of Jesus Christ.
The Dominionists whose quest for power and control supersedes the warnings and undermines the message of the story of Easter. Many times the writings of Pastor Bess best represents this ideal of faith that I ascribe to. It is the antithesis of Dominionist fundamentalist, Pentecostal, political Christianity. It is about being humble. Here is an excerpt from an email from Pastor about Easter and what it means today…
Easter by Pastor Howard Bess In understanding and interpreting the life of Jesus, we correctly place him growing up in an unimportant town named Nazareth. He did most of his teaching in rural settings. He was respected as a teacher and gathered a significant following. However, we seriously err if we fail to recognize the significance of his week in Jerusalem.
That final week in the life of Jesus is very important. The story needs to be mastered by serious followers of Jesus. As important as it is to remember the details of that week, the greater challenge is to figure out the meaning of what happened. It is all too easy to follow traditional interpretations and repeat “Jesus died for our sins and was raised for our justification.”
Without denying this central Christian message, I am suggesting that there are deeper meanings of profound importance to be found in Jesus’ last week. We have a body of Jesus’ teachings that come from his rural Galilean ministry. The accounts of his final week are a great pageant that depicts with realism the implications of what he taught in Galilee.
Central to the teachings of Jesus is the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.
It was to be a kingdom not of might and power but of justice, peace, love and kindness.To establish this kingdom, Jesus taught the servant ideal. Servanthood was the character of this new kingdom and its leaders. Serving was at the heart of his message. He told his disciples “If any of you desire to be great, let him be the servant of all.”
If these self-anointed leaders of today’s face of political Christianity understood even a shred of this – I would be happily working on something far more pleasant in my life rather than constantly watch-dogging these false prophets. What ever your faith. Whatever your belief. I think that we can all get behind promoting “justice, peace, love and kindness” – and find the fun in traditions like hiding eggs and watching the awe in little faces who aren’t wise to the realities of the Easter Bunny.