Brewing An Irrelevant Christianity
Blessed are the irrelevant for they shall inherit oblivion! Don Quichotte is on the march again. Waging war against windmills. This time against the coffee grinders of Starbucks. The only reason he is making the news is because he is laughable.
There is a Christianity that knows it all. It has the source of ultimate and true knowledge at its disposal and believes it is able to interpret this truth infallibly for today. It sees itself not merely as the guardian of truth; it also lords it over it. It has all the answers even before questions are asked and considers itself capable to adjudicate who is saved and who is not. Such a Christianity is irrelevant.
There is a Christianity that considers this world evil. It believes that to stay clear from sin is to stay clear from the world. The world is “the rest of us” who do not profess faith in Jesus the same way it does. It sets up high church walls with gates that seem to invite but ultimately separate the sheep from the goats even before Judgment Day (which they nonetheless eagerly expect). Such a Christianity is irrelevant.
There is a Christianity whose’s sole goal is to win over people to their version of the Christian faith. All that matters is whether one’s soul is sealed for eternity (with the right seal of course). Such faith is purely vertical; it ignores intentionally the horizontal dimensions of reality like social justice, ecological responsibility, and racial equality. Such a Christianity is irrelevant.
There is a Christianity that believes the goal of Christian existence is to set up a theocracy. It claims entitlement to the dominance of its Christian worldview in the public sphere. It believes the rest of the world is involved in a conspiracy to weed out all traces of the Christian past, especially on paper coffee cups. Such a Christianity is irrelevant.
There is a Christianity that believes the only mode of dialogue with non-Christians is by being belligerent and angry. Public discourse for them is conducted through culture war. By making angry demands, they believe that any legal or political decisions made in favor of their viewpoint bolster their theocratic aspirations. Such a Christianity is irrelevant.
It is irrelevant because it does not relate to people’s needs.
It is irrelevant because it hurts rather than loves people.
It is irrelevant because it arrogantly claims to know all truth.
It is irrelevant because it demands rather than gives.
It is irrelevant because it preserves self rather than gives self.
It is irrelevant because it refuses to live in the real world in which the Word became flesh.
Next time you drink a cup of coffee, do not wonder if your Christian cultural heritage is formally honored on its design, but inquire whether the coffee you drink is Fair Trade. Doing that will come far closer to the heart of Christianity than whining over minimalist designs.