There’s some sort of smokey essence in Christianity that I’ve hated. There’s this dishonesty that comes with loss and tragedy. When my grandfather died suddenly of a heart attack in the middle of the night about 15 years ago, our church had a celebration service the next Sunday. We celebrated, we rejoiced that he was finally “going home.” but such a gesture ignored the various complex emotions that smash on every side of us. Death isn’t monolithic, even if you believe someone is going to paradise, it doesn’t mean that there’s nothing sad about potentially never seeing them again. I’ve lost people, both expectedly and unexpectedly. And when consoling friends tried to quench the sadness by explaining why death is a good thing due to finally getting that mansion in the clouds. I always would explain that these people, my friends, they were people I wanted to grow old with, I expected to learn with and experience joy with for the next 50 years of my life, but that wont happen now. So even in the Evangelical Tom and Jerry worldview of people ascending an elevator to meet up with St. Peter at the gates, it’s still relatively sad. And people should express that sadness, because that sadness is the summation of that relationship.
There’s this “keeping up with the Joneses” vein that is as dishonest as people’s social media profiles. It reminds me of something out of Westworld or The Truman Show, other people are watching, so keep a big smile and tell everyone how awesome your life is because you’re a Christian even though behind the scenes you’re about to have a complete and total breakdown.
But my life is good! Really good! I get to wake up every morning, at 5AM, and make some soup! It’s the best. I love it. I get to lay in a bed, all by myself, all of my life! That’s fantastic!….*eyes well up with tears*- Nacho Libre
You never hear it explicitly, but reading between the lines will cause you to stand face to face with feelings forced upon you such as “You have questions to why God didn’t answer your prayers Sigh, you poor thing. You should just have more faith, or perhaps a better relationship with God” (like we all do). It’s a horrifying form of subculture peer pressure. People aren’t honest about God when they need to be, I don’t know, perhaps it’s out of fear. Perhaps they are scared of pissing him off, as if God has the same temperament as Donald Trump on twitter. Many will argue that it’s out of respect or faithfulness, or because they Love God so much they don’t want to speak anything that could even be taken as slightly incendiary.
The muzzling of brutal honesty and lamenting is a hidden horror of fundamentalism in America. It paints a picture of God as an abusive husband as if we’re his bruised up wives explaining to our friends how it was somehow our fault, or something about how his ways are not our ways.