"Christ without Culture" is untenable for Christians

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First Things editor-in-chief Father Richard John Neuhaus puts his finger on a persistent topic that concerns me at this time: Christ and culture.  In "The Deadly Convenience of Christianity Without Culture" Neuhaus briefly explores what it means to be an engaged member of the Church, the Body of Christ. He identifies what the Church is and how she is to act.


What I am seeing, and you may be seeing a similar thing, is that Church (clergy and laity alike) are giving into the pressure from the radical secularists to remove the Christian proposal from the public platform. A good example is the South Carolina politician who wanted to refuse a local Catholic Church from expanding because the Catholics were against abortion, women priests and held "ideologies" (i.e., theology) that conflicted with Unitarian Universalist "freedoms." Of course, it is not only the outside world that is becoming more and more reticent toward the Church, it's those who make the claim of being Catholic who are speaking less of Christ, the Church and true Christian living that makes me unnerved and thus becoming biege, even engaging in spiritual malpractice. 


Christians seem to be accepting that belief in Christ and the flourishing of faith in world is irrelevant. Can it be that Christians are willing to absent themselves more and more from a public discussion of what it means to live morally, or the exploration of how faith and reason intersect, or the reality of life issues which holds to a principle of human dignity, or the need for a sensible national security plan, or the requirement of just immigration policies, or an adequate distribution of natural resources which feeds the hungry, clothes the naked and give drink to the thirsty? Do we not see the face of God in the world around us? How can it be that some of us call ourselves Christians and yet shy away from actually living the Gospel? How is it that professed Christians, clergy and laity alike, are ashamed at being identified as Christian in the public square? Are these questions above your pay grade? Is virtue that shameful that it can't be spoken of or demonstrated? Is faith in Christ truly a mere private affair that one's engagement in culture (art, politics, economics, romance, religion, friendship, etc.) can actually thrive without Christ?


I am hopeful that Catholics will begin to see that the notion of "Christ without cultural" is an impossible way to live, that is, bankrupt, and therefore pick up the shovel and starting digging a new foundation for the Gospel of Jesus Christ to be built upon. We are baptized into a communion, a Church, not a social club. We need to do more than just show up for "church." Either is Christ King of heaven and earth, or we're in trouble. How will our lives different this week?

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.



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This page contains a single entry by Paul Zalonski published on November 22, 2008 4:33 PM.

Focolari: The call to unity, the brotherhood of the human family was the previous entry in this blog.

Christ the King is the next entry in this blog.

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