Thursday, December 22, 2005

Would you like a glass of Chagrin with that?

So, d'you ever haul out the old blunderbuss, load it up painstakingly, aim it to perfection, and fire off a blistering round exactly at the wrong target? Yeah, me neither. But if I did, the experience might be something like this response I crafted to a blog comment that I later concluded must have been intended sarcastically. So, in the interest of retrieving the projectile and redirecting my fire at the proper recipient, here goes. Guest Blogger Ross Douthat, writing at Andrew Sullivan's daily dish, said of the so-called Christmas Wars:

"...the larger reality is that ... there is a significant chunk of this country - [the cultural elite] - that doesn't much care for Christianity, at least if it's practiced seriously and its basic dogmas are left intact."

Speaking as a fairly regular churchgoer whose views typically align with those of the so-called cultural elite, I think Douthat, and by extension those in the "Christianity under siege" community, seriously misunderstand how they are perceived. There is impatience with the gullibility of those who are taken in by such transparent buffoons as Bill O'Reilly, Pat Robertson, and George W. Bush. There is disgust with the hypocritical sanctimony that is all too often the public face of the "Religious Right." There is bemusement, sure, when you get cut off in traffic by a car with a bumper sticker proclaiming, "Christians aren't perfect -- just forgiven." There is horror and disbelief at those who do not appreciate what a blessing we have in the wall of separation between church and state. And there is annoyance with the missionary zeal that amounts to intolerance of anyone else's brand of spirituality.

With regard to the serious practice of Christianity's basic dogmas, well, if more Christians lived a life of humility, peacemaking, and genuine charity, I think even the jaded cultural elite would stand in awe.

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