Christianity Defined by Christ, Not Causes or Values

Article excerpt

Sometimes when I sit down to write this column, I have a theme in mind, maybe even a topic sentence or an outline.

Sometimes, I have no earthly idea what I'm going to say until I start typing.

The scariest situation, however, is what I'm experiencing now - a strong, persistent urge not to speak out on a topic, but rather to avoid one.

The muse in my head begs, "Can we PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE write about something other than homosexuality?"

Fine with me. As happy as I am for gay and lesbian couples in Minnesota (including many who love Christ, as I do) who can now make their kinship legal, I have to wonder how it is that Christianity has come to be defined so strongly by this issue.

But while I'm at it, I'm pondering several other ways in which people of faith tend to "major in the minors" - to focus too extensively on side issues instead of what's vital, what's essential, what's truly holy.

C.S. Lewis called this phenomenon "Christianity and"" - the antithesis of the title of his book, "Mere Christianity," in which Lewis made the observation that people lose focus on the central meaning of Christian faith any time they pair Christianity with some other cause or issue.

This happens when a non-denominational mega-church becomes the de facto headquarters for the local Republican party - a phenomenon I observed firsthand when I lived and worked in a suburb of the Twin Cities, where it wasn't unusual for pastors to endorse or denounce candidates from the pulpit, or for Bible studies to feature guest appearances by right-wing elected officials. …