Thursday, July 2, 2009

Churches & Christianity guarantee nothing . . . ?

Is it possible that Christianity as a way of life in the world means nothing?

While the efforts of the Eupan Global Initiative are not exclusively Christian - and while members of our effort to advance eupan do not need to advocate any specific religious perspective - it is true that I am Christian. And I want to believe that being Christian and being a part of a group of people in the the church matters. But, sometimes, it does not matter. And that pains me - and it pains David P. Gushee.

In the text Genocide in Rwanda: Complicity of the Churches? - Gushee has an essay entitled: 'Why the Churches were Complicit: Confessions of a Broken-Hearted Christian." Among other things he writes:

Rwanda was the most heavily Christianized country in Africa.

Christian churches, seminaries, schools, and other instituations were sprinkled throughout the land.

[L]ong study of the Holocaust, and now fresh study of the Rwandan genocide, has led me to the heartbroken realization that the presence of Churches in a country guarantees exactly nothing. The self-identification of people with the Christian faith guarantees exactly nothing. All of the clerical garb and regalia, all of the structures of religious accountability, all of the Christian vocabulary and books, all of the schools and seminaries and parish houses and Bible studies, all of the religious titles and educational degrees, they all guarantee exactly nothing. (italics in original)

After his confession and truth-telling, he implores:

But still we must affirm the mission and vocation of the Churches. We must say that the Christian churches are required to be agents of resistance to genocide or any other kind of social evil. They must do so as a basic expression of faithfulness to their own God, their own sacred scriptures, and their own social responsibility. We must do so.

If the good for the all will be made available, it must involve our actions that effect good, not just our vocalized assent to do good.

Toward eupan.

~ marty alan michelson, ph.d.

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