Wednesday, April 16, 2014

A Call to Christian Humanism?

This is clearly just a rant from my personal journal, cut and pasted here without the thought of developing a thesis. So pardon the jumbled thoughts, please.

Today I am in angst over a TV show. I am watching this series on Netflix called “Orange is the new black.” It is about a debutante whose childish crimes catch up with her 8 years later when she is sentenced to 18 mos of prison. She is a good person, but like all dramas, not perfect, just basically good. And she is a victim of oppression by a corrupt prison system. I feel guilty. I feel like somehow her mistreatment is my fault. It is just a show, and there is nothing to be done about it. But I know enough about the system to believe that this abuse happens. Most people are in prison because of mental illness. The system is wrong. The only way to survive is to be involved in the wrong.

I believe that part of the reason the sexual predator at Bear Creek got off was because of me being to honest of a witness. He got caught in his evil, but evil is inside all of us. I would tell both sides. And the prosecutor decided not to go to trial a second time with me as the primary witness. Even though the man ruined my life, I recognize my own propensity for evil and I cannot judge another.

Are people basically good or evil? Many years ago, a bicycle was stolen from my garage. I paid less than $50, but its retail price was over $100. There was no way to be honest and tell the insurance what I lost. As hard as I tried not to, I had to accept the $100 payout of the insurance claim. The world is evil and there are a few of us who want to do right, in the heart, always. And according to this TV show, it is impossible.

But here is the bigger question: Why do I hate injustice so much? Why the angst? Why do I feel guilty that my tax dollars support such a corrupt system? And, injustices range the entire gamut of our culture. And if we permit one, we permit them all. And why aren't other people upset? Why did my colleagues in ministry imply that I should have gone along to get along? But the biggest is still, why do injustices cause such angst that I lose my own peace?

Is this not my Father's world? And tho' the wrong seems oft' so strong, is God not the ruler yet? Lord, Help me. He has shown you, O man, what is good and what the Lord requires of you: Do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.

But my big question to myself is this, does this angst, this lack of peace, this anger and hatred toward injustice mean that there is something wrong with me? Am I wrong for caring so much?

When I see George Zimmerman get acquitted for killing Trayvon Martin, I am ashamed. I feel guilty. I feel as if it is my fault. When I hear Sarah Palin cry “death panel” about the ACA, I blame myself. Is it white shame? Is it Christian shame? Am I about to lose my faith all together? Is this me, Lord, losing my religion?

I guess one has to believe in the basic evil of humanity, or the basic good of humanity.

The show, “Orange is the New Black” has this woman who describes herself as a secular humanist when a crazy Christian is trying to convert her. It portrays secular humanism as the only moral world view. This show, along with COSMOS seem to attack Christianity. COSMOS does not need to ridicule faith in order to get its views across. They could get to the same science and include Christians like me. Why the attack?

I suppose that we Christians have brought it upon ourselves. And, worse off, we see the extreme fruits of our dogma in the fanaticism that blames the problems of unrestrained capitalism and over consumption as the judgment of God because of the so called gay agenda, entitlements and abortion.

I guess this is a call to Christian Humanism. “Imago Dei,” see Christ in every person. How do we re-create the narrative and explain our belief in people? Is it even true? Maybe all there is are people who are oriented toward believing in basic good, or people who are orientated toward believing in basic bad. Does the Bible support “basic bad” in the doctrine of original sin? Or, does the unbelievers basic God-given conscience, explained in Romans 2 mean that we are basically good? We are both. But, we can live in competition or we can live in community.

Lord, it is frustrating. It is hard. It is difficult to shine a light instead of curse the darkness. Maybe my angst is completely in sync with God's heart over a broken world. Maybe my angst is best assuaged in the redemption story. God, grant me your peace and give me the strength to persevere.