Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Organization and power

Most of the criticisms of and objections to Christianity (such as those in “Why I am not a Christian” by Betrand Russell) are actually directed at the organizations of Christianity, rather than the faith itself. Although it is often not very easy to tell them apart.

Many people feel that Christians must be organized in order to achieve anything. Churches to serve the congregations. Councils to coordinate among churches. Missionary societies to send and support missionaries. Boards to operate schools, hospitals, and charities. Many feel that we need to be organized and to seek the power in order to do good work. To help the poor, to re-distribute wealth, to bring justice to the world, and even to preach the Gospel.

But I notice that Jesus said next to nothing about getting organized. He said we should repent of our sins and turn to God. He said God blesses those who are poor, who mourn, who are humble, who hunger and thirst for justice, who are merciful, whose hearts are pure, who work for peace, and who are persecuted for doing right. He said we should not do our good deeds publicly. He said we should pray, privately. He said we have to be like children to enter the kingdom of God. He commanded us to preach the good news of salvation to all the nations.

He did say we should serve each other instead of striving to be leaders - that’s as close as it gets to organization building and power seeking. And what he said was essentially: don’t! He was more concerned about the attitude - what is in the heart - rather than the action itself, of course.


Chris said...

Sell the Vatican, feed the poor...?

StephenC said...

That is an interesting idea. Thank you for pointing me to that article. I was thinking more about power rather than wealth. But the two are highly related, of course.