2 June 2006
...a simple “cheat sheet” for those confused and worried about the place of Christianity in AmericaIt’s easy to carry a flawed notion about people of faith these days. Sometimes the notions are spot on. Encountering the choir member berating the waitress etches an image that’s probably not flawed at all. Reading the mainstream media’s views of Christians, one gets the impression that Sunday mornings involve snake-handling wherever Christians have gathered. That’s a bit less accurate.
Too many Christians want credit for their behaviors while doing their Christian stuff. Then, they want that credit to buy them a pardon when they do their non-Christian stuff. Like berating the waitress! That’s the way it is with all of us though, isn’t it? We hope the good things we do gather some slack for those moments when we get wound a little too tightly.
There’s humor in all of it. There’s humor in the misimpressions that people form. There’s humor in the attempts people make to appear holier than thou. After all we’re humans and we can be pretty funny regardless of how you look at us.
Mike Holihan points to the glossary that can untangle all the flawed thinking in a Salon article by Michelle Goldberg. Read the Salon article first. Follow that with a bit of a rebuttal—in glossary form. Here’s the teaser:
To be fair to these perplexed and terrified people, Christians are not easy to understand. To begin with, there are roughly 2,000 years of history to grasp, and certainly more denominations and subdivisions than that to take on board. For people who were raised secular, I imagine it’s like trying to understand an opera after coming in halfway before the end: the stage is crowded with people, two of them seem to be dead, a woman is wearing a hat with horns, and everyone is making a terrible racket.
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