The New Piety

Welcome to the new piety. Now that large segments of the progressive, post modern church have embraced the victim\oppressor paradigm, a new piety has taken hold. It looks something like this:

Have you gotten a Prius or a Tesla? No?! How could you still be driving that gas guzzler?! Do you recycle?  NO?! Don’t you care about the planet?! Have you stopped eating meat? NO!? Don’t you care about the rights and feelings of animals!? Do I understand that you have misgivings about gay marriage and non binary pronouns?! I am offended and must retreat to a safe space to recover from the toxic effects your impiety.

In the new piety we no longer need a gracious God. We need a gracious neighbor who embraces everyone and picks up all the trash. In the new piety everyone is a potential oppressor if they do not adhere to the orthodoxies which have formed around a myriad of causes and issues. To be a practitioner of the new piety all that is required is to identify yourself with whatever oppressed group appeals and then proclaim your disgust with the perceived oppressor of that group. That you intend well is all that matters. Put on the full armor of resentment and join the rest of the social justice warriors. That word, warriors, says it all.

Of course, it took some doing to reimagine the crucified Jesus under these circumstances. But, in the end, the progressive, post modern church rebranded the cross as the ultimate example of victimhood. Jesus can relate to all the victims because He was one, a victim of the oppressive political and religious power structures of His day. Christ is wrapped up in the Marxist view of history.

It’s not hard to see why this new piety is so appealing when compared with the old. In the old piety, the reformation of the world began with a sober look at yourself. The new piety gets you off the hook. Injustice is everyone else’s fault. In the old piety, the ultimate offense with which you were confronted was your mishandling of the life God has given you. God was the one who was offended, the one who was wronged, the one to whom amends must be made. And when the old piety confronted you with this sobering realization, you were encouraged to look at the crucified Jesus and see there the Living God offering Himself in love and mercy, that you might receive forgiveness for your godless, selfish life.

The new piety looks and sounds very much like that scene in Genesis when Adam and Eve were confronted with the enormity of their faithless crime. What was their response? Blame. Adam blamed God, Eve blamed the serpent. It wasn’t their fault. They were victims. The blamers have been looking for a safe space ever since.

 

Published by Pastor Mark Anderson

Lutheran pastor, husband, dad, archaeology nut, serious blues guitarist and aspiring luthier.

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