another trinity

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[Warning: Scathing assault* on Christianity to come.]

Jeremiah 2:26-28 (and the actual passage):

As a college quarterback** would be disgraced were it proved he was playing for cash,
so Christianity is disgraced —
its adherents, their leaders and teachers, their priests and their pastors, all.
They say to knowledge, “You are our father.”
To money, “You are our friend.”
To popularity, influence, and control, “You represent our greatest goals and ambitions.”
They have turned their backs toward me instead of their faces;
yet when they are in trouble, they say, “Come and save us!”
Where are knowledge, wealth, and power?  Let that trinity save you!
As if three were the number of your gods — but, no…
you have as many gods as you have denominations, O church.


* This attack is overstated, and does not reflect my view of Christianity as a whole.  I do not believe the following is representative of all of us — or even most of us.  And I will not be venturing a guess as to the actual percentage to which it does and should apply.  I will simply state:
  1. That I don’t mean this as an attack at all.  Rather, I’ve been reading through Jeremiah and applying it as best I can to our current culture and context.  After rewriting this passage in my own words, to address today’s church, I realized it might come across as harsh and excessive.  This was not my intention.
  2. However, the ideas presented are indeed serious problems within Christianity today.
** Any seeming relationship between this phrasing and Cameron Newton of Auburn University is completely and totally intentional.  I say Cam’s innocent until proven guilty and — if he indeed is eligible to play — should win the Heisman hands down.  Full disclosure: I attended Auburn and desperately want all of this to be character assassination and nothing more.  War Eagle!



Filed under modern-day retelling, woe to us

13 responses to “another trinity

  1. I’m afraid that I can’t read this without thinking only of college football, and not at all upon your larger point. So be it.

    There is an ugly sour-grapes part of me that would delight in Newton’s downfall. I do not like this part of me, and it is not nearly as strong as the part of me that hopes the accusations are false- not only because I don’t want him to have done these things, but also because I really would enjoy seeing Auburn with a Heisman and a Championship.

    • the cheating and traffic tickets aren’t a big deal. it was two years ago; people make mistakes. and neither should have any bearing at all on this season.

      even if there was money requested by someone from mississippi state (regardless of who did the requesting), it obviously wasn’t paid or received — and should have no bearing.

      but if newton was paid to play at auburn (or is being paid), that’s a huge deal. the university obviously doesn’t believe this is the case or they wouldn’t have stuck it out with cam. sadly, though, this sort of thing could be happening without the university, athletic department, or football coaches knowing.

      we’ll see.

  2. Jason Miller

    So…where is the harsh and excessive part?

  3. Kim

    A wake up call indeed. The tricky thing is that I think a lot of this can sneak up on a pastor/church/player and becomes something really big when they never intended for things to go that way.

    Interesting post, got me thinking this morning 🙂

    • yeah, sin’s sneaky like that.

      very rarely have i ever woke up in the morning and decided to be selfish or short-tempered (okay, never). and men don’t just decide one day to have an affair or cheat on their taxes.

      we definitely underestimate sin’s sneakiness.

  4. “Playing for cash” walks a VERY thin line. There’s a lot of technicalities in the NCAA rules that are ridiculous, especially given the fact that all these athletes are given full scholarships that are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars. Compensation in the form of cash is really no different than compensation in the form of free education, let’s face it.

    I say that to say this – many Christians claim to be “working for heavenly rewards instead of earthly”, but the fact is this – their motivation is still “working for a reward.” They can’t claim to be doing things because they love Jesus while simultaneously bragging about all the treasures they’re storing up in Heaven.

    So, in one respect, “treasures in Heaven” can be just as much of a misplaced focus as money here on earth.

    When I get to Heaven, I’ll be honest, it won’t matter to me if I’ve got a billion treasures stored up, or just two. I’ll be just as tickled to be there, either way. I should love and serve people here because Jesus has changed my heart and made me a part of His body, and since He loves them, I can be His physical representation to them. Not so that I can have a bigger pile of heavenly treasure than the guy next door.

    I wonder if this makes any sense at all…???

    • bernard, i’m with you. i don’t want my christian life to be about rewards. i want to adore God simply because he’s worthy.

      but Jesus ruins my ideas a little bit when he seems to play on our selfishness by encouraging us to store up treasures in heaven and not on earth. not to mention all the scriptures that discuss righteous men and good stewards being gifted with material possessions and the like, even on earth.

  5. oh man you went to Auburn? I’m a Duck fan – in a few weeks we may want to steer clear of one another’s blog.

    I was just talking this morning with a pastor who, I suspect like many, struggle with wanting success. I think many pastors who start up churches can get bit by the entrepreneurial bug and allow this to control and guide the church, rather than discipleship. (hopefully this comment is related to what you were referring to).

    • i don’t guess i’ve ever actually known an oregon fan; pleased to have made your acquaintance. i hope it does end up our two teams. i think it’ll be an awesome game (in which we outscore you guys by two touchdowns).

      and, in my opinion, our current obsession with pastors and ministers starting churches is directly related to a leader’s personal desire to have popularity and/or power. though i don’t know that the relationship is causative. i think there’s a back and forth. but to me, it seems odd for pastors to be starting churches anyway. the giftings of a church planter and a pastor are extremely different — almost opposite. i feel like a pastor should be recognized from within his church family, not hired or brought in from outside.

      but i’m relatively opinionated on the issue — and quite possibly wrong.

      • Is it okay to say that I have multiple “issues” with the modern church model in general – membership, property ownership, incorporation, staff positions, tax status, etc., without being considered to be attacking sacred institutions?

        • it’s okay by me. i’ve got a few qualms with various of those issues as well.

        • Okay, cool. I don’t have all the answers (or really, any at all….) but I can’t quite see that we’ve got it right, either. I especially can’t see any REAL Scriptural justification for “membership” as we do it, or church votes and business meetings, and that lack of certainty leads to most of my other questions. Not that your post is about this, but the thought train is kinda connected.

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