Every time my local Christian radio station shares a news story about the sanctity of marriage being threatened or Christian morality being challenged by the homosexual agenda, I’m taken aback. I don’t know why I’m surprised – they play these news stories enough that the initial shock should be gone. I think I’m just surprised at how overtly the conservative/Republican agenda is assumed as the worldview of all Christians and broadcast to all listening.
Similarly, I recently flipped through a catalog of Christian books a company sent me hoping to entice sales. After flipping through a few times in my preferred reading spot (take a guess) I realized that they had conveniently left out any author even remotely close to progressive. John Eldridge was about the most liberal of the bunch they sell. (I found it fascinating that they sold dozens of health and wealth style authors claiming God wants to you to be successful, in my opinion a more dangerous perspective than most progressives hold). I saw yet again the conservative agenda strongly in place and in power.
Really this is no secret. Some of the most generously funded Christian colleges are quasi-fundamentalist ones. Conservative Christians are easily in power. The ones most highly offended are also the ones who can complain about it and get the offender removed.
A common criticism, especially by semi-frequent commenter Donald, of the progressive types is that they perpetuate victim-hood Christianity. Progressive types tend to speak often of their treacherous religious upbringing, lamenting the hardcore fundamentalism indoctrinated into them by over-zealous and controlling leaders. In such a scenario the progressives are the victims of religious abuse.
I think the propensity to claim one as innocent, as a victim, is not merely a progressive Christian phenomenon. It’s a human one (conservatives often make themselves the victim of a liberal world run amuck). Victimhood is a stage that not only can grant us heaps of sympathy and pity, but even moreso becomes a terrific justification for both retaliation and inaction. We can easily justify returning ungracefulness and repaying evil. We can effortlessly use the wrongs against us an excuse or smoke screen for sitting.
No one wants to admit they’re an offender, so by default we make ourselves the offended.
As I seem to usually conclude, there is a balance here. Certainly life isn’t fair and we are all dealt very uneven cards that are difficult to work with, and the frustration can seem paralyzing. But at the same time we cannot wander the earth sighing about how we evil and twisted we are and how we constantly offend. I think we will all forever dance between these two roles and not fall into either of their traps, which are ultimately backwards attempts at power.
Do you agree we all have a tendency to play the victim? How have you seen this played out in Christian circles? Do you also see how the conservative agenda is firmly in place?