What Christianity Is…

by Glenn Fairman  9/13/14

The heart of the Christian ethos is the ransoming of humanity out of the wreckage of a broken world. It is not the redemption of a governmental regime or a temporal ideology that will turn the hearts of children to their fathers and vice versa. It does not begin with a materialist redistribution from which a transformation can then begin to work its carnal magic. It has always concerned itself with lost sheep and the heart transplant that is necessary to procure Sons of God for His Kingdom.

Although morality is a prime component of the faith, it is not central in an ephemeral sense. The Pharisees could follow rules like no others, yet they were aliens to the Gospel. The Church is not an exclusive club for the care and feeding of ego, but a hospital for the Master’s resuscitation of human wreckage —of people who have been shattered by the world and by some mystery of grace, not originating from within them, have somehow managed to crawl their way through its doors. But the building itself is the effect, not the cause. If we pat ourselves on the backs and treat our salvation as any more than the ineffable gift that it is, then we have missed the central point of the Cross.

To review: Christianity is not a political project, a mutual admiration society, or a Rotary Club meeting where men lift themselves up by the quality of their good works. The cart cannot stand prior to the horse, or the work will be in vain. This attitude of genuine humility must flow from the God -given perception that we are as chaff without His touch. The Cross is the alpha and omega of the Christian’s perception, and only through this divine prism can we look out upon the earth and perceive the authentic condition of our poverty. If Christianity be difficult, it is because like all truth it contains images that we cannot bear to gaze upon in the mirror of eternity. The Cross may be free, but it requires the greatest expenditure you will ever pay: your entire self. Until we come to this understanding, we are just playing religious games.


Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca.
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15 Responses to What Christianity Is…

  1. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Glenn, you ignorant slut. The point of Christianity is purely economic, not moral or spiritual. The point is to cure poverty because it’s poverty that lies at the heart of the cause of human depravity.

    Geez. Come on. Get with the plan.

    But, seriously…

    Although morality is a prime component of the faith, it is not central in an ephemeral sense. The Pharisees could follow rules like no others, yet they were aliens to the Gospel. The Church is not an exclusive club for the care and feeding of ego, but a hospital for the Master’s resuscitation of human wreckage —of people who have been shattered by the world and by some mystery of grace, not originating from within them, have somehow managed to crawl their way through its doors.

    If the pope could talk like that, I’d become a Catholic.

    • Glenn Fairman says:

      “The truth that makes men free is for the most part the truth which men prefer not to hear.” -Herbert Agar

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        If St. Francis was “God’s fool” then I am his stooge — his James Carville, if you will. Just as John the Baptist came before Jesus, Brad the Stooge comes before whatever eloquent person (Fairman? Chadwell? Dickson?) will help walk this culture back from the precipice of — well — how did Rosalys put it? The “mushy, wishy-washy, ‘nice,’ pansy ‘Christian’ mask worn by downright Evil.”

        You see, if Rosalys keeps talking like that, I’m superfluous here. And that’s fine by me. 😀

      • Daniel says:

        that was the perfect response Glenn. so short and sweet

  2. Glenn (the lesser) says:

    At the risk of being misunderstood and skewered, I will say I’m uncomfortable with the Pope bashing in the recent articles and comments. I’m not Catholic and I have no delusion that human infallibility can or has ever existed. Joseph Ratzinger, aka Pope Benedict, is a fallen man capable or error. Having said that, from my (limited) knowledge of him, I believe he is a true Christian, a true believer in that salvation is only through the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus and that faith to believe is the gracious gift of God through no works of our own.

    I could be wrong about him, and there is certainly reason to question some of his pronouncements, but I believe he errs is tactics, not belief.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      From Glenn (Fairman’s) words, “To review: Christianity is not a political project, a mutual admiration society, or a Rotary Club meeting where men lift themselves up by the quality of their good works”, I think you can derive from that the Christian message isn’t about prestige, worldly authority, groupthink, habit, or even tradition itself. It’s about something deeper than that.

      There’s nothing wrong with culture acting as societal memory for things that we cherish and should want to hold onto — even including wearing funny hats. Culture (and habits, and tradition, and liturgy) can provide the inertia to reduce the influence of mere mindless fads and other corrupting influences. And discernment is necessary in determining what is a corrupting influence and what is simply another outward (though different) form of expressing a core truth.

      If one believes in emphasizing a socialist-like “equality” and emphasizing the eradication of poverty (not sin), then I would say that this is not just a new outer form that expresses an essential truth, but is an entirely different thing altogether.

      This current Pope has, frankly, said some amazingly stupid stuff, including:

      Everyone has his own idea of good and evil and must choose to follow the good and fight evil as he conceives them. That would be enough to make the world a better place.

      That is enormously naive, and potentially a very destructive idea. Nobody’s perfect but, good god, no one should be considered immune when they say stuff like that.

      • Timothy Lane says:

        Yes, everyone has their idea of good and evil. Some thing good means stoning women to death for reporting that they were raped and beheading any and all infidels. Now we know why Francis hasn’t had much to say about ISIS. After all, they’re doing right by their standards, and who is the Pope to say they’re wrong?

        • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

          Good points, Timothy. And I have a habit of speaking in shorthand. One may ask why that statement by Pope Francis was so off base.

          I think Glenn’s (and Rosalys’ elsewhere) nutshelling of what Christianity means is inspiring. It’s not easy to have one’s ear tuned to “right,” but if you do (like one who can come to appreciate great music or art), you get to the point where “I know it when I see it.” Yes, we are all subject to runaway emotions, to being duped, to running off half-cocked. That is the human condition. But we are also capable of refinement.

          One may believe in god or not. One may believe in this type of god rather than that type of god. Or not. But Christians have already decided about God. God is Good. And God (as Glenn said in so many words) has decided to give mankind the ultimate “do-over” in the guise of Christ.

          Now, one may agree with that or not, but it is the thing. And to try to turn this into a mere economic transaction is offensive, and I do not offend particularly easy these days. (But one way to do so is to “blame Bush.” Good god, I’m tired of that nonsense.)

          And this Good Christian Redemptive God, in order to be good, has certain rules of Good. Some of them (such as “Thou shalt not steal”) are not negotiable. So for a Pope to come out and say “Good is whatever one thinks it is” is to deny god; it’s to deny the very essence of one’s faith. It’s to kick out the very foundation of that faith and replace it with (in the words of Rosalys), “mushy, wishy-washy, “nice,” pansy “Christian” mask worn by downright Evil.”

          I do not take verbal jabs at this pope lightly.

  3. Glenn Fairman says:

    This is what the ancient Holy Father’s referred to as : Ecumenical Horseshit.

  4. Glenn (the lesser) says:

    Allow me to skewer myself and offer this mea dupa. I apologize for my forgetfulness as it completely escaped me during this conversation that Benedict “abdicated” and the Pope is indeed Francis. Apparently I chose well my nom de blog.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      We all make mistakes. Just look at some of the weird typos I do. But indeed, there is a big difference between Benedict and Francis, though maybe not as much as the anti-papists want to believe. It seems to be at least as much a matter of priority as anything, but Benedict also seems much less politically correct.

  5. Glenn Fairman says:

    nom de blog —– sounds like an 18th century French reactionary. If you persist in elevating the level of discourse here we may be forced to exile you to the pop culture section.

  6. Glenn (the lesser) says:

    Your graciousness is appreciated.

    Now on to hunting heathens 🙂

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