Vice-President Mike Pence yesterday described Christians as being “most persecuted.” Well, persecution of those who live out of an authentic inner core, such as Jesus Christ illustrated, are apt to be persecuted. Yes. But then in the Christian culture there is a tradition of taking delight in the feeling of persecution when these feelings stem primarily if not only from unacknowledged, unconscious issues that meaningful faith in Jesus Christ would allow one to explore. This hypocritical stance of being “persecuted for His sake” fulfills the ego’s need for pseudo humility, permitting one to bask in a smug self-loathing that is taken for some perverted sense of righteousness.
I certainly can see why Pence feels his version the Christian faith is today being persecuted. This is because “reality” is exposing their duplicity as daily their political “champion”, a man they declare the Lord has “raised up” to lead this nation, is demonstrating the antithesis of everything Jesus Christ stood for. But Pence and other Christian luminaries stand behind Trump, will not challenge his egregious dishonesty, and continue to drag the name of Jesus in the mud of their shallow, ego-enslaved faith. By use of the term “reality” I mean that the Christian faith of Pence and his ilk is an insular world which has the primary purpose of providing a “wall” between themselves and the rest of the world, i.e. “reality.” No wonder they find the notion of “build that wall” so appealing and are supporting Trump’s insistence on building walls literally, and metaphorically. This “insularity” is being threatened and they are frightened by “reality.”
But let me introduce another term for this “reality.” I like to think of it as the Spirit of God that is speaking to them, trying to show them how their faith has been immature and having the primary function of maintaining their disconnection from the world. Yes, in a sense, God has “raised Trump up” but not for the purpose they have in mind but to let them stare at what lurks in their collective heart, which now they can’t deny…but do! Christian faith, or faith in any spiritual tradition, is designed to facilitate participation in this world, meaningful participation, and this is not possible when one’s identity is a smug certainty of separateness from this world. And the Christian faith, and any faith, is easily co-opted into a smug zone of certainty from which great harm will be done, regardless of how noble their announced intention or how noble the spiritual teacher they purport to worship might be.
This intervention of “reality,” i.e. “The Spirit of God,” extends to the whole of our culture. Trump, and Trumpism, gives us an opportunity to recognize the avarice and smugness that capitalism has gifted us with. And, staring our ugliness in the face is good for the soul, though not pleasant. I think the Universe, i.e. “God,” is just telling us, “Welcome to the world.” And if we can embrace the ugliness of our heart that is now being presented to us, the profound Beauty that is with us and in us can shine forth more radiantly. As Rilke noted, “The heart has its beastly little treasures.”
Two other blogs of mine are listed here which I invited you to check out: