Thursday, May 6, 2010

Why should God listen?

The indispensable Fred Clark (slactivist) draws from the book of Isaiah to comment on the National Day of Prayer. A sample:

Yet day after day they seek me
and delight to know my ways,
as if they were a nation that practised righteousness
and did not forsake the ordinance of their God;


Look, you serve your own interest on your fast-day,
and oppress all your workers.
Look, you fast only to quarrel and to fight
and to strike with a wicked fist.
Such fasting as you do today
will not make your voice heard on high.


If you remove the yoke from among you,
the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
if you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday.

I can remember a time when Christians would have taken a verse like this seriously. Not that we all practiced it, of course, but we would have felt the prick of conviction* that we were falling so far short of God's standards. Today's evangelicals would just get pissed off that you were twisting God's word to say something He clearly couldn't mean.

Conviction, n. - that nagging sense of guilt and shame you feel when God brings your sins to your attention and doesn't let you play the usual game of making flimsy excuses and changing the subject. Although I no longer count myself a Christian, it's still a useful concept.

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