Tag Archives: respectibility

questions of motivation

Jesus’s “lack of moral principles.” He sat at meals with publicans and sinners, he consorted with harlots. Did he do this to obtain their votes? Or did he think that, he could convert them with such “appeasement”? Or was his humanity rich and deep enough to make contact, even with them, with that in human nature which is in common to all men, indestructible, and upon which the future must be built? — Dag Hammarskjöld in Markings

Jesus demonstrated a radical disregard for the social and religious mores of his day. He ignored social boundaries and appeared completely at home with those normally shunned by the  “respectable class.”

Hammarskjöld asks us to ponder the motivation behind this seemingly calculated behavior. Why did Jesus appear to be far more comfortable with the dregs of society than with those who publicly professed the correct religious beliefs of his day?

Jesus didn’t ignore those with prestige, power and wealth. But it’s this class that were consistently the target of his harshest criticism. Why?

Could it be because, as he said, that those who are well don’t need a doctor? Could it be that the self-righteous who know they are on the right track would be too blind to accept the help they actually need?  Or, might it be that Jesus just demonstrated that the message of God’s love finds far more receptivity with those whose need is the greatest?

the lacquer of respectibility

The church allows people to believe that they can be good Christians and yet draw dividends from armament factories, can be good Christians and yet imperil the well-being of their fellows by speculating in stocks and shares. can be good Christians and yet be imperialists, yet participate in war. All that is required of the good Christian is chastity and a modicum of charity in immediate personal relations.

Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) “Education,” Ends and Means: An Inquiry into the Nature of Ideals and into the Methods Employed for Their Realization, 1937

Was this really written in 1937? It could have just as easily been written yesterday.

Look no further for the roots of the church’s demise in the developed world. We have accepted a false gospel of cheap grace heavily glossed with the lacquer of respectability, and then we have the audacity to call it discipleship.

The church has become nothing more than a thermometer of society’s values. We have allowed ourselves to become fully domesticated. We snuggle in the lap of luxury while ignoring the Gospel’s demand for faithfulness.

Jesus validated his ministry by his care for the poor, the despised, and the outcast.  The church gives ministry with the poor lip service while working overtime to bolster a decaying institution. Following Jesus is not the same as attending church.

The church calls us to come and be respectable. Jesus calls us to come and die.