I found Emily Stone’s list of ten things she doesn’t get about Christians intriguing. So I set myself to answer these as follows:
- The Tipping Business. That goes back to Finney, who made a very big deal about Christians tallying every monetary transaction they made to be exact to the penny, which has given rise to all the “short-change testimonies” we’ve heard. So Christians look at tipping as being overcharged. But Emily is right about the realities of restaurant server wages, which presuppose a gratuity. So in shorting them a tip we’re short-changing them.
- Global Warming: Christians rightly regard global warming as a competing religion because that’s how its proponents have presented it and every other aspect of environmentalism to the public. If we had put science education in the place it deserves in our society and had the proper debate to follow, our situation would not be the same. The thing that bothers me about Christians attitude along these lines is the underlying want to prioritise lifestyle maintenance when New Testament Christianity doesn’t support it. But that’s the product of prosperity teaching, and I dealt with that in a post by her husband a few weeks back.
- Presidency: American Christians have merged their faith in God and their relationship with the country to an extent that, when a person becomes President that doesn’t reflect their values (and this one certainly doesn’t), the reaction is unmitigated hostility. If we would start by putting God first and realising that, as was the case in Augustine’s time, the “City of God” is distinct from the state, we would understand that God’s plan will move forward with or without this country or this President, and then perhaps we can take a more detached approach to the problem.
- Television: we are simply too eager (and too unwilling to put in the effort to be otherwise) to be a part of this culture to push the off-button on the remote.
- Feminism: I dealt with this here and in my more recent post on women in ministry.
- Abortion: I’ll leave it to my liberal Episcopal visitors to explain why they think it is their sacred duty to support abortion as a Christian.
- Pretty: “Beauty Pageant Christianity” is a bane. It is largely an outgrowth of our Southern culture, and a lower-to-middle class one I might add. I didn’t run into this obsession with physical perfection among the “beautiful people” I grew up with in Palm Beach to the extent I do where I am now, although I understand it’s now bubbled up there too. It’s another one of those things where we’ve let the culture lead us than the other way around.
- Old/New Earth: As a specialist in an earth science, this has more than passing interest, and it was the subject that shoved this blog off seven years ago. As someone whose Christian intellectual formation was Roman Catholic, the core problem is that Protestant Biblical hermeneutic has painted us into a corner on this issue.
- Homosexuality as the Worst Sin: I’ve suggested ways to take a lot of the wind out of this war, but there’s two sides to this. The LGBT community has demanded that it be at the centre of American life to the point where one’s attitude towards them determines whether one is a fit human being or not. Well, they got everyone’s attention, and now those who won’t ascribe to this are being bullied. That’s not a fun experience, and those who get it often retaliate in unlovely ways, in spite of Our Lord’s words. The sooner Christians understand that they’re only getting into a fight someone else has picked, the better.
- Snobbery: I direct my readers to my About page. As an expert in the subject, I would differentiate snobs and sycophants who fawn over the big bucks in the church.
Well, this won’t make me any more friends than Emily’s original post, but so be it.