As I read Sojourners, I am struck by how often the real issue seems to come down to one simple question: What is a Christian? “Intelligent Religion,” by Ted Peters (December 2005), is a good example. To so-called Christian fundamentalists, Peters is no more a Christian than an indigenous animist relating to spirits in rocks and trees in a remote corner of some “uncivilized” wilderness.
Jim Wallis also touches on my question in “When I First Met Bonhoeffer.” Jesus’ teaching in Matthew 25:34-46 is clear: “Then shall he answer them, saying, ‘Verily I say unto you, inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.’” Despite this unequivocal statement, people who reject this teaching out of hand are still accorded the title of devout Christian and granted authority by the mass media, the political party in power, and the presidency of the United States as spokespeople for the faith.
The ascendancy of so-called fundamentalist Christianity (it is, in fact, only fundamentalist about a few select things) is peculiar to the United States. What can conceivably cause the pendulum to reverse so that a Christianity that truly embraces the whole Christ becomes the standard by which “What is a Christian?” can be answered?
Victor, New York