Wednesdays and Fridays over the past year have brought stories that in aggregate have likely given rise in many readers to a little wistfulness with regard to the old days before our Shining City evolved into this present-day post-Christian society deriving its American exceptionalism less from adhering to the principles associated with Jesus and more from our ability now to act as much like God as God does Himself. Or maybe a little more.
Unquestionably it’s impressive that American man and woman have risen to the Old Testament God’s heights in terms of His power to rain Bible-scale death and destruction down on those who need and/or deserve it. The awesomeness of the omniscience we’ve achieved in our Surveillance State is undeniably something to behold—or not behold, as the case may be. Who would have thought man and woman could beat God out for control of the weather? And in many ways our readiness to forsake Jesus as a means to greater ends is an amazing accomplishment in all its God-likeness.
Certainly it’s also true that many Christian principles have become obsolete. The whole notion of atonement is not really a good fit in a world where so many are above both God’s and man’s laws. Obviously the Golden Rule hasn’t turned out to be so golden after all. The Makers just can’t make enough money treating their neighbor like they’d like to be treated themselves. In fact, they’re not even neighbors anymore with about 99% of their former neighbors. As for our enemies, they just won’t stop not turning the other cheek when we take an eye from them for the eye they took from us for taking an eye from them.
The meek are clearly not up to inheriting this dog-eat-dog world, and compassion has been a disaster in terms of toughening the meek up enough to compete with the big dogs currently in possession of the world.
And certainly there are some aspects of Christianity we haven’t completely abandoned. The whole Messianic concept of some poor dirt-poor guy paying for humanity’s tendency toward sinfulness is still alive and well in our economic philosophy. We still treat Israel like it’s our mother country. We even see Jesus’s face in the occasional vegetable or rock formation or carpet stain or bowl of soup or oatmeal.
Is it just me, though, or have we lost a little something in advancing to a mostly pre-Jesus way of doing business? I can’t be the only one in America feeling a bit nostalgic for those former times before the whole wide world was transferred to the magic hand of the free market.
It can’t just be me missing Jesus as we proceed into our future by advancing ever backward and backward into even the pre-Moses times before the now so outdated commandments against killing and stealing and lying and coveting and not taking a break from all the avaricious and prideful striving for at least one day of the week.
Sure mammon is great. I couldn’t be happier that humanity has managed to so dramatically widen the proverbial eye of the needle posing as the gateway to heaven. I also totally get that Darwin won the whole survival of the fittest contest with Jesus regarding who would father our way of relating to our neighbor. And playing God obviously has its upsides.
But wouldn’t it be nice, for old time’s sake if for no other reason, to have some bold someone to applaud for taking a stick and driving all the modern-day scribes and pharisees out of the Temple?
Does anyone else out there get an atavistic twinge of satisfaction from the quaint old Christian notion that acting like God means not acting like God?
In these times of so many outrageous earthshaking accomplishments, who among you still has a place in your heart for the simpler miracles of walking on water and pulling loaves and fishes out of thin air for the hungry and helping the uninsured blind to see, the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak, the leprous to stop crumbling?