Christianity’s poverty of Christ

By Robert Mann

Let the historians explain how evangelical Christians lost their way, but it’s a sad fact that a large, influential segment of a major faith is unmoored from its foundational, scriptural teachings. I’m talking about those evangelicals who have religiously ignored what the scriptures say — shout — about God’s favor for the poor and his compassion for the powerless.

Too many evangelical Christians evince only passing interest in such matters, having abandoned economic and social justice in favor of political power and luxuriating in the smug satisfaction of a personal relationship with Jesus, who guarantees an afterlife without Jews, Muslims and others who don’t look or pray like them.

It’s not only evangelicals. If you want a sense of how divorced some Christian leaders are from their faith, I recommend a fascinating conversation between two prominent Christian thinkers — David French and John Zmirak — in the New York Times. The reason for the discussion, moderated by conservative columnist Ross Douthat, was to explore why Evangelicals overwhelmingly support one of history’s most unChristian presidents.

What fascinated me most was not their disagreement over whether Donald Trump deserves praise from evangelicals; it was, rather, the cursory mention of the biblical mandate to champion and care for the poor and powerless.

The discussion revolved, instead, around Trump’s personal morality and his support for the political rights of conservative Christians and their preeminent issues, including abortion and appointing conservatives to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Even when more sensible evangelical leaders bemoan what’s become of their corrupted movement, they characterize the damage as abandonment, not of the poor, but of piety.Do you know how hard a Christian must work to devote that much effort talking about his faith and only mention, in passing, the poor?

It’s not that so many forget to talk about how their faith demands they treat the poor; it’s that they never seem to consider it.

Cases in point: Why are there not loud, massive protests of Christians over the obscene fact that Congress passed legislation that gives — at the expense of the poor and middle class — large tax cuts to corporations and wealthy individuals? Why are most Christians not enraged that, while it celebrates its unholy gift to the rich, Congress allowed the Children’s Health Insurance Program to expire?

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6 Responses to Christianity’s poverty of Christ

  1. Stephen Winham says:

    Much of modern Christianity seems to treat poverty with an odd blend of prosperity theology and Hindu karma – so if you are poor you deserve it and not much can be done about it. Oh, there are targeted acts of kindness, particularly this time of year, but, for the most part, the poor are simply ignored and accepted as beyond help.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Edith Herring says:

    I have noticed that a tactic by Conservatives to tamp down the defense of the poor is to accuse any defense of the poor as “wealth envy’. The accusations all seem to have the same thread. The rich worked hard for their money. The rich create jobs and already shower down all good things on lazy, good for nothing poor folks. The rich are the very foundation of our country and if you mess with them, our entire country will suffer….this is all a very well orchestrated plan to shut up any defense of the rape and pillage of our country’s economy by the wealthy. Make no mistake. Spiritually, it is pure blasphemy. How can we keep asking God to “Bless this Mess?”

    Liked by 1 person

  3. earthmother says:

    AMEN.

    Like

  4. Rogers Prestridge says:

    Bob, Thank you for this very good article. It is really what we ought to be concerned about this in this Holy Season and at all other times.

    I do hope that you and your and your family have a wonderful and Blessed Christmas.

    Mickey

    On Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 6:56 AM, Something Like the Truth wrote:

    > rtmannjr posted: “By Robert Mann Let the historians explain how > evangelical Christians lost their way, but it’s a sad fact that a large, > influential segment of a major faith is unmoored from its foundational, > scriptural teachings. I’m talking about those evangelicals who ” >

    Like

  5. Stephen Winham says:

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