Rev. Rich Lang
The Reptile Christ
Trying to find a church can be confusing. Many are drawn to the universalism of the compassion of Jesus but each church seems to have its own twist on how to embody such a lifestyle.
In my own neighborhood there is a gigantic church that packs them in by the thousands. It is so big that it has expanded to several locations throughout the city. Each congregation has its own pastor and infrastructure, but just like any business, the product retains its consistency through the projection of an identical message: in this case the messenger beams his image into each congregation every Sunday morning.
Yep, that’s right. Folks go to church and have embodied experiences with each other but then, at the appropriate time, all turn their attention to the screen to be taught by the Head Honcho himself. It reminds me a bit of the TV series V, with the head reptile seductively entrancing all her crew.
The message basically boils down to this: We humans have screwed up the world and God is pissed. We either get ourselves straightened out by following the rules or else we’re going to fry in Hell forever. Right rules begin with men reasserting their mannishness. You see, the problem is that men have become weenies unable to make commitments or maintain responsibilities. But if we rewire men back into benevolent patriarchs who will establish a household, marry a wife, raise children and impose discipline then law and order will return to society.
This message makes sense to young men who feel like weenies blown hither and thither by materialistic impulses and undisciplined desires. This message makes sense to those who want something more from their lives but lack the courage to join nonviolent Christian Peacemaker teams, or the heart to resist Empire.
Unfortunately, such an image has nothing to do with the historical Jesus. The historical Jesus was a washer of feet, he was humble and hung out with what today we know as the homeless, the undocumented, the drunks, the day laborers, the queers, the crushed, the used, abused and totally screwed up. Jesus never married and certainly didn’t take over society. Jesus never adapted to society. He just didn’t fit in with those who got all orgasmic over dominance, power and control. Actually, Jesus wasn’t all that macho—he was just a run of the mill weakling who got himself strung up by the law.
Who would go to a church that preached that? Who would follow such a leader? There’s no power or glory or fame in that. All there is, is the difficult daily grind of caring for lepers and losers. And that’s why it is so confusing to find a church, because so many of them could care less about the compassionate Christ. Actually, such a Christ is bad for business.
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