Friday, April 3, 2015

Christianity, when properly understood, is a religion of losers - Giles Fraser

A church that successfully proclaims the message of the cross – death first, then resurrection – is likely to be empty and not full
Good Friday In The Philippines
Helpers nail one of 18 symbolic ‘Christs’ to a cross on Good Friday in San Pedro Cutud, Philippines. ‘The Christian story, like the best sort of terrifying psychoanalysis, strips you down to nothing in order for you to face yourself anew.’ Photograph: David Greedy/Getty
When he was nothing but a suspended carcass, dripping with his own blood and other people’s spit, there were no worshippers around clapping their hands and singing their hymns. They were long gone. At the very end, ironically at the moment of greatest triumph, he had no followers left. That says something profoundly counterintuitive about what a successful church looks like. For if the core of the Christian message – death first, then resurrection – is so existentially full-on that nobody can possibly endure it, then a church that successfully proclaims that message is likely to be empty and not full. Which is also why, quite possibly, a successful priest ought to be hated rather than feted. For here, as elsewhere in the Christian story, success and failure are inverted. The first will be last and the last first. The rich are cast down and the poor are exulted. The true king is crowned with mockery and thorns not with gold and ermine.

Christianity, properly understood, is a religion of losers – the worst of playground insults. For not only do we not want to be a loser, we don’t want to associate with them either. We pointedly shun losers, as if some of their loser-ness might rub off on us. Or rather, more honestly, we shun them because others might recognise us as among their number. And because we secretly fear that this might actually be true, we shun them all the more viciously, thus to distance ourselves all the more emphatically. And so the cock crows three times.

Read more at http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2015/apr/03/christianity-when-properly-understood-religion-losers

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