This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The "Christian" West & Things That Don't Seem To Add Up

Just a few things on my mind briefly:

i get the impression that values in the religious West are taken for granted but are not consistent with Christianity.

First, it seems that rugged monetary individualism is taken as a value even among religious people. Social programs and wealth redistribution are frowned upon even by many religious people. And yet in Judaism, a theocracy--that is, in a governmental system authored by God, Himself--social programs and wealth redistribution were commanded by God. Fields, orchards, and vineyards were not to be fully harvested, but were to be left for the poor to come and help themselves (Lev 19:9-10; Deut 24:19-22). And the Jewish tithe (analogous to taxes) was systematically (albeit partially) redistributed to the poor (Lev 26:12-14; Deut 26:12).

Second, the early church either lived socialistically (Acts 4:32-35; 6:1) or monetarily supplied the poor abroad (1Cor 16:1-2). Yet what does the modern church spend its money on largely? Buildings? Pulpiteers and religious leaders? Technology?

Third, modern religious culture, at least in my own experience, seems to be largely occupied by one sub-culture--middle class, caucasian suburbanites. Yet Jesus seemed to seek out and spend time with the lowest class peoples and those on the social fringes.

Fourth, i realize this one is a far bigger can of worms than i'm acknowledging, but i'll throw it out there nonetheless: People in the religious West seem quick to defend and support and justify war. It seems arguably the case to me that Jesus was opposed to war and violence.

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