Saturday, August 31, 2019

Turn off the radio. . .

It was one of those situations in which you did not have the opportunity to object.  As I sat there all I could do was listen to the Christian (nominally, that is) radio station playing in the background.  It was the same kind of lighthearted banter you would hear between hosts of just about any kind of radio program in the morning.  Interspersed with the contemporary Christian music (nominally, that is) were discussions about life as a Christian and the hardest things for Christians to do.

One of the hosts suggested that one of the most difficult things for Christians to do was to love themselves.  The other opined about the importance of self-love -- after all how can you love your neighbor as yourself if you do not love yourself.  And it got worse.  From self-love came the whole subject of self-care.  Time for yourself, away from spouse and family, to heal yourself, calm yourself, and center yourself in a world where so much of life takes from you (like your spouse, family, job, home life, etc.).  God was not particularly mention except as a cover for the whole conversation.  God would want me to be happy, whole, at peace with myself, and taking care of me.  Right?

It was positively sickening to sit there where I could not speak and yet wanted to shout to whomever was controlling the radio, Shut the damn thing off!  Of course, it did not help that I was there in my clerical collar.  Every now and then, when it was impossible for me to respond, I was told how much I hear this and how much I say this very thing to the people in my parish.  You have to love yourself first!  Not!!

Therapeutic deism is not a myth or even a theoretical concept.  It is real.  We are surrounded by it.  The radio that purports to be Christian and the hosts who parade themselves as experts and the music with a beat that sings the pablum into our ears... I could scream!  Honestly, it is the worst part of living in the Bible belt.  That horrid Christian radio station is on 24/7.  I fear that it is worse than the secular stuff on the other stations.  Why?  Because it has the aura of legitimacy, the hint of sacred truth to its lies, and the churchly sanction to its words.  It must be true because it comes from a Christian radio station and from the lips of Christian talk show hosts.

I hope and pray that people have this on in the background without really listening to it but I fear they are listening and that this kind of saccharine sentimentality has become the meaning of Christian for them.  God wants me to be in touch with my feelings, my desires, my wants, and my self.  God wants me to make time for just me, to take care of my self and to indulge myself every now and then.  Is it really possible that somebody thinks this is what Christ died for?  Jesus became incarnate and live the holy life we could not live and died in our place upon the cross and rose on the third day so that we could get in touch with our inner selves, talk endlessly about ourselves, judge things by feelings more than truth, and learn to love ourselves even more.  Yeah, right.  That's it.

Okay.  Rant off.  Christian (so called) radio is big business, to be sure.  It is pervasive in some areas.  But it is a lie.  It portrays a Christianity unknown to the Scriptures, unconfessed by creeds, and unrecognizable to tradition.  If your church is the radio, if CCM is your playlist, if you drink in the poison thinking this is authentic Christianity, you need to read the Bible and the fathers and learn the creeds and the sturdy hymns of old.  And if you are Lutheran and you are doing this, you really do have no idea who Lutherans are and what we are about -- time for Lutheranism 101.

1 comment:

James Kellerman said...

Years ago I was in my car far from home, trying to find something on the radio. I tuned into one, just in time to hear it announce that I was listening to "Calov." Good, I thought. Some orthodox Lutherans must have gotten together and bought a radio station. Boy, was I ever disappointed!