Where have all the Christians gone?
Is it just me, or have you also been noticing a growing trend among many Christian pastors and Church members in our country to replace traditional Christian values with a completely different set of beliefs? Here are some of the shifts I have noticed cropping up from behind the pulpit and in the pews:
FROM: My kingdom is not of this world”
TO: “My kingdom is the American Dream in the chosen land of the United States of America.”
FROM: “Worship no God but me.” “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one.”
TO: A new Trinity: “God, Guns and Country.”
FROM: The inspired word of God is the Bible”
TO: “The inspired word of God is the Bible AND the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the Pledge of Allegiance” (see the new God Bless America Bible).
FROM: “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male or female, for you are all one in Christ”
TO: “The ideal kingdom is the United States, a nation made up of Christian, native born, religious, social, and fiscal conservative whites” (now including right-minded descendants of previously excluded groups like Catholics, Italians, Jews and Greeks).
FROM: “What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world if he loses his soul?”
TO: “People’s worth is measured by the dollar value of all the stuff they own. Life is a continuous shopping spree for all things, big and small.”
FROM: “The last shall be first and the first shall be last”
TO: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing. The whole purpose of life is winning.”
FROM: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing”
TO “Always get even. Better yet, two eyes for one.”
FROM: “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times seven.”
TO: “Don’t get mad. Get even. Forgiveness is for sissies.”
FROM: “Love your neighbor as yourself”
TO: “What’s in it for me?”
FROM: “The truth will set you free.” “Freedom consists not in doing what what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.”
TO: “Freedom is the absence of constraints of any kind. Nobody is going to tell me what to do.”
FROM: “Blessed are your eyes, because they see and your ears because they hear.”
TO: “What you’re seeing and what your reading is not what is happening.”
FROM: “Whatever you do to these the least of my brethren, you do to me.”
TO: “Nobody ever gave me anything. I got everything I have on my own. Everyone,—even the bootless— should lift himself up by his own bootstraps.”
FROM: “I am my brother’s keeper.” “We’re all in the same boat.”
TO: “It’s every man for himself”
FROM: “Jesus loves the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white; they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children.” “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
TO: “It’s okay to exclude, reject, mistreat, discriminate against and remain silent or even supportive when leaders whip up others to physically harm people because they are different from us in culture, ethnicity, skin pigmentation, origin, religious belief, or sexual orientation.”
AND FROM: “Blessed are the poor, the meek, the merciful, the pure of heart, peacemakers, those who mourn, those who hunger for justice, those persecuted for doing good, those insulted and lied about because of me. Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven”
TO: “Get serious”
Is this shift among many Christian shepherds and their flocks away from “God as the Alpha and the Omega” to “Me as the Be All and End All of everything,”… from a religion of universal love to a religion of exclusionary nationalism really happening? I think so. But maybe it is just me. I sure hope so, because even if the Founding Fathers had wanted us to be a “Christian nation,” as many contend, I like to hope they were not thinking of such a perversion of Christ’s living example as I perceive we are witnessing.
Tim Mannello is a retired hospital executive and management consultant residing in Williamsport.