How to Spoil the Words of Christ Himself
Let’s say you’re Satan. Or one of his lesser minions. (This isn’t an accusation, though I’m pretty sure he reads me. It’s an invitation to a thought experiment.)
That whole “I know! Let’s get Him crucified!” plan didn’t work out as planned. In fact, it’s safe to admit it backfired, and blame it on some low-level tempter. Now God’s words, via scripture and tradition, have spread all around the world. How can you stop people from acting on them? Stop them even from hearing them without rolling their eyes and tuning out?
The answer is obvious. Get those words set to music by modern, liberal Christians.
Not just any music, of course. After all, those dangerous monks set the psalms to music, and that completely backfired. J.S. Bach, John Wesley, and lately the Gettys have adapted faith to music, in ways that drove it into believers’ hearts to grow and flourish. Take a listen to this, for instance:
No, such rousing stuff won’t do. You need music that drains divine words of their power. Warbles or drones them repetitively, so that people get inoculated against them, wave them off or even laugh at them. Music that toddlers would have scoffed at coming from Barney the Dinosaur.
Behold the “contemporary Catholic worship song.”
Our Worst for His Best
I wrote a long, snarky column about the worst examples of this genre. Go read it, if this is a special interest of yours, the hymnody of bathos. But I have one song in mind, because it neuters and makes repulsive perhaps the most powerful injunction Jesus issued. Take a listen (but not too long — I don’t want to ruin Christ’s words for you):
I’m sorry I had to do that. But that phrase of Our Lord’s has been on mind a lot of late. “The least of my brethren.” Whenever it flickered in (or God put it on my heart), my mind immediately set it to that syrupy, grating melody. Which was clearly the Enemy’s doing. My point here is to do quite the opposite, to point up the stark, uplifting and action-packed implications of Christ’s words here.
The Litmus Test on Judgment Day
Let’s read them in context, shall we?
“When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left.
Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’
Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’
Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” (Matthew 25)
Victimism: The Counterfeit Gospel
Those words deserve far better than to be set to elevator music. We must burn them into our hearts, and act on them throughout our lives. (We’ve been told the price of neglecting them.)
Of course, the Enemy doesn’t just counter Christ’s meaning via cheesy, off-putting art. He also uses politics to warp, distort, and invert Jesus’ commands. In fact today’s “Woke” left intoxicates itself with a false religion which Christian philosopher Rene Girard called Victimism. Jason Jones and I summed that heresy up here at The Stream a few years back.
The Victimist weaponizes suffering in order to gain political power. He
identifies himself with the forces of justice. He will right the old wrongs. He’ll avenge those whose ancestors suffered in the past. What’s more, he will punish those who represent the old, onetime oppressors. That is, their innocent descendants, or those who simply share their race or sex.
This is how U.S. elites can justify targeting all whites and especially white males. It’s how they feel good about themselves when they cackle at displaced blue collar workers — and seek to replace them with foreigners. It’s how post-Christians inside Christian churches rationalize their attacks on the orthodox. They reach back centuries and equate true believers with witch-burners and inquisitors. And they fancy themselves liberators.
All this, while assuring themselves and gullible onlookers that they’re doing Jesus’ will.
Given how crucial Christ assured us this test will prove on Judgment Day, we need to get this right. Yes, there was a time when racial minorities remained unprotected by law. When homosexuals faced random beatings by police or unjust imprisonment. When illegal immigrants had no almost no rights at all.
That time has long passed. In fact, now billion-dollar corporations and trillion-dollar federal programs, backed by the state’s police and prisons, rectify such legal wrongs.
The Least of Christ’s Brothers Today
Who stands unprotected today? Surely those people are the ones whom Our Lord calls us to look out for in this moment, where we stand.
Step back, and think for a minute. Really think about that. Here’s the list that occurs to me, in descending order of absolute abandonment by our government and culture:
- Unborn babies, who have no legal protection and may be dismembered and sold for profit.
- Handicapped or elderly people facing euthanasia in what Barack Obama called “normal countries” like The Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland.
- Christians persecuted by Muslim or Communist governments, whom “liberals” pretend somehow partake in “white privilege” by proxy, so they refuse to help or even mention them.
- Elderly Americans trapped alone at nursing homes in blue states, whose governors are dumping virus patients in their facilities.
- Blue-collar workers whose professions have been outlawed indefinitely to “save lives,” by the same governors willfully infecting the elderly.
- People in developing countries who face hunger and possible starvation thanks to the economic lockdown.
- Americans trapped in the cycle of poverty and dependency created by our welfare state, with their kids stuck in rotten government schools.
I’m sure we could add to the list. But that’s quite enough to keep us busy, isn’t it? These are the people whom Christ demands we aid now.
Let’s get on it. “O church arise, and put your armor on… .”