Church on the Corner

Church on the Corner is an Anglican church in an old pub in Islington, London


If you are not aware of Kurt Vonnegut you should be. His article in the Guardian last saturday was fantastic writing. Speaking of the hypocrisy in American politics he writes:
For some reason, the most vocal Christians among us never mention the Beatitudes. But, often with tears in their eyes, they demand that the Ten Commandments be posted in public buildings. And of course that’s Moses, not Jesus. I haven’t heard one of them demand that the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, be posted anywhere.
“Blessed are the merciful” in a courtroom? “Blessed are the peacemakers” in the Pentagon? Give me a break!

Enjoy the article.

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9 thoughts on “If you are not aware of Kurt Vonnegut you should …

  1. Anonymous says:

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  3. Jeremy says:

    We always talk as if it’s the bad things we do that separate us from God, but then Jesus in Matthew 25 lists all these good things that we don’t do, and that’s what condemns people.

    “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.”

  4. mark fletcher says:

    Here is that link
    Bonhoeffer is a really important reference point, thanks Garmon. I think it is interesting that 20th Century christianity discipleship has become about what you don’t do as opposed to what you do.
    What does it look like to follow Christ? Don’t do this, don’t do that…
    Surely the Sermon on the mount is about more than that.

  5. Garmon says:

    Just read an article by on Dietrich Bonhoeffer that also makes the contrast between the 10 commandents and the Beatitudes: http://go.sojo.net/nd.tcl?r=k7Lg6p61Xzr5&n=3492952

    “Salvation became an intellectual assent to a concept. “Jesus died for your sins and if you accept that fact you will go to heaven,” said the evangelists of my childhood. When it came to the big issues that cropped up for me as a teenager – racism, poverty, and war – I was told explicitly that Christianity had nothing to do with them: they were political, and our faith was personal. On those great social issues, the Christians I knew believed and acted just like everybody else I knew – like white people on racism, like affluent people on poverty, and like patriotic Americans on war.

    Then I read Bonhoeffer’s The Cost of Discipleship, which relied heavily on the beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount and the idea that our treatment of the oppressed was a test of faith. Believing in Jesus was not enough, said Bonhoeffer. We were called to obey his words, to live by what Jesus said, to show our allegiance to the reign of God, which had broken into the world in Christ. Bonhoeffer warned of the “cheap grace” that promotes belief without obedience. He spoke of “costly discipleship” and asked how the grace that came at the tremendous cost of the cross could require so little of us. “Christianity without the living Christ is inevitably Christianity without discipleship,” he said, “and Christianity without discipleship is always Christianity without Christ. It remains an abstract idea, a myth.” “

    PS. Kurt Vonnegut is a genius!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Believe me, probably one of the scariest things about many American Christians who subscribe to muscular, Republican Christianity is that…wait for it: THEIR HEARTS REALLY SEEM TO BE IN THE RIGHT PLACE. By which I mean, they have real relationships with Jesus and strive to serve Him to the best of their abilities.

    I know this may seem hard to believe for some, but I really do think this is true. My family (even immediate family) and community is full of evangelicals who really, truly, fervently believe that George Bush is a Godly, righteous, beleaguered man who loves Jesus with his whole heart. They pray openly in church about the situation in Iraq…that “freedom will win out over darkness”, etc. etc.

    What do we do with this? How do we explain it, not to mention deal with it? A lot of these people have active, growing spiritual lives, both personally and within their communities (outreaches to local troubled teens, prison visits, food drives, that kind of thing, just to pull some examples out of thin air). And yet their viewpoint and approach to wider world events seems so woefully, woefully….WRONG. Or at least terribly misguided.

    The easy thing would be to chalk it up to pure ignorance…but you would be dumbfounded to hear some of the conversations I’ve had with Christian right-wingers who are fairly well-versed in current events and still think the genuinely “Christian thing to do” is to fight the “evil” terrorists by bombing the heck out of the Middle East. Like Vonnegut says, it’s like the focus is somehow still on the Ten Commandments, not the Beatitudes. But how can this coexist with real, active faith and knowledge of Jesus?

    It’s baffling to me. I don’t understand it, and I don’t have any answers, that’s for sure. It does constantly make one ask a lot of questions…about one’s own worldview, if nothing else.

    Annie B (ostracised in rural Montana, USA…for the moment)

  7. Jeremy says:

    My favourite author. One of the saddest writers ever, but also one of the funniest.

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