Saturday 01 Oct 2016

Chistian Oxymorons
AJ Robinson

When I was a kid, one day of the week was very regular, routine, that is, Sunday. I always knew how it would go: breakfast, Sunday school, then a sort of church social afterwards down in the multipurpose room, and then home for Sunday dinner. The time at the social was always fun; my friends and I would run around on the stage, behind the curtain, and play games, and then get some snacks. I always grabbed a bunch of the tiny glasses with grape juice from the fancy round metal trays. There’d always be a stack of them in the kitchen, set off to the side for washing. Back then, I didn’t understand their significance.

When I got older, I even helped in the kitchen. I enjoyed setting up the snacks and drinks, clearing the tables and running the dishwashing machine. It was cool, especially for a little boy. It was a big square box, with a track to slide the trays of dishes in and out, a lever on the side with a large round knob to control it. Yeah, for a young boy, it was so very awesome!

As I’d moved through the throng of adults, setting things out and collecting dirty dishes, I’d overhear conversations. Some were mundane; the usual stuff adults talked about. I didn’t take much note. Occasionally, I’d hear a word or phrase that caught my attention: Woman’s Lib, Equal Rights, the Civil Rights Movement and so on. Back then, I didn’t understand most of those things, but I knew they were important; the adults seemed to have quite the heated debate on all of them.

There was one thing I never heard them debate: the kindness and generosity of Jesus. Many in the congregation didn’t like the song, “Onward, Christian Soldiers.” Many in the congregation saw themselves as a soldier for Christ, as mentioned in II Timothy 2:3, but they objected to the second line: “Marching us to war.” In their eyes, that was not the act of a good Christian.

I can’t help but think of that when I look at some of the so-called Christians of today. Just this past week, we had a primary here in Florida and one of the candidates called himself the “Jesus Candidate.” Yet, he does not seem to follow the teachings of Christ. Instead, he’s one of those Christian soldiers who want to march to war.

He says he wants to invade Iran, hardly the act of a peacemaker. He’s not very interested in charity to the poor, that’s not something Jesus taught. This candidate is opposed to helping the sick and infirmed, preferring to allow the free market to set the level of healthcare for those in need; that definitely seems to contradict what Jesus recommended.

He and many other people definitely seem to be Christian oxymoronics. I think they need to go back to Sunday school class: that’s where I learned many good lessons as a kid and brush up on the teachings of Jesus.

I’ll even help them out by giving them their first scripture to study: Matthew 25:40. May they truly take its lesson to heart!

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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