Why Do Christians Act More Like Congress Than The Supreme Court

I like Don Miller’s writing. It is fresh, honest, transparent–all the attributes lacking in so much that passes for Christian literature. If you have not read him, here are a couple of Amazon links to get you started, Blue Like Jazz and A Million Miles in a Thousand Years.

He wrote on his blog Monday about observing the US Supreme Court. He hits his theme with which I have much sympathy–we must move past these “liberal” v “conservative” opinion shouting matches and focus on Jesus, himself.

“What I love about the court is that, at least in principle, each Justice is more committed to the truth than they are to their opinions. And the checks and balances that keep their personal views in check are immense. Each must defend their decision in precedent and opinion. Activist Judges would be marginalized quickly.”

There have been different streams of thought on the Court ever since it was founded. But that’s OK. They always must write out justifications for their opinions–and always return to the source and try to pick out the traditional interpretations.

“I trust them more than any other body of government. And I’m convinced we, as Christians, have much to learn from how they do business. If we can learn from them, the whole liberal vs. conservative and reformed vs. postmodern nonsense that is absurd (and strategically manipulates ignorant masses to buy books and join the tribes of control-freak leaders) can end.

“The job of the court is not for them to do what’s right or what’s moral. The job of the court is to uphold what they deem as Constitutional, meaning that many times they have to make decisions, not according to their conscious, but according to what they deem as upholding the Constitution.”

Miller then relates it to the relationship we as followers of Jesus should have with the Scriptures:

“This, of course, reminds me of a Christian’s relationship with scripture. Like the court, you’ve got activist preachers who only support some of scripture, say, the more conservative aspects, while only giving lip-service to the stuff about poverty and justice and so forth, and some more liberal preachers who speak out for justice but ignore hardline morality.

“As much as we may love or hate the court, we’ve got a lot to learn from them. And that is this: Honoring truth is not about our opinion. It’s about interpreting the document of Scripture as fairly and honestly as possible, and, to be honest, pissing off some of our own tribe when we believe they are interpreting the document wrongly.”

And then he hits hard:

“If your preacher is towing a hard line and unwilling to admit their “enemies” are sometimes right, find a new church. You’re being lied to by a self-deceived manipulator who is using you to build a tribe.

“In my opinion, the court is doing a much more objective job seeking the “truth” than the church is. We act more like Congress — we take our sides and bend truth to defend our tribe. It’s ridiculous. In today’s culture, a truth-teller won’t have a tribe.”

When I study the Bible I always search the oldest commentators first. Then let other streams of thought inform and expand on the original–but never forgetting the original.

Maybe that’s why I’ve never felt like an official member of a “tribe.” I don’t have patience for arguments over theologies that were only developed over the last 125 years or so. I go back to the source–Jesus–and just try to follow him. That has seemed to work for my life.

3 Responses to “Why Do Christians Act More Like Congress Than The Supreme Court”

  1. Eoin Ó Riain (@ReadoutSignpost) Says:

    Sounds very like a certain Thomas Aquinas in places….

  2. sacredstruggler Says:

    I love Blue Like Jazz! I don’t agree with him on everything he says here- like the commentators just because they’re the first ot oldest doesn’t mean they were most truthful- but I love what he says about the church. If your pastor can’t admit that sometimes ‘they’ are right and ‘we’ are wrong, find a new one. I have seen so many family that take their pastor’s word for it and don’t think for themselves. A pastor should be asking questions and pointing out things that will make the people thirsty for knowledge and seek it out of the Word themselves.

  3. Gary Mintchell Says:

    I suppose you are right, Eoin. I much prefer Augustine to Aquinas, but he being the thorough Aristotelian was very logical.

    And, “sacred struggler,” there is always that fine line of core beliefs versus opinions that are arguable. I, for example, have a core belief in God and in following Jesus (belief being an action verb, not a theory that I agree with). But I am open to learning about what that means, what other people say, how to interpret Scripture. I guess I wish I knew everything, but I don’t. Unfortunately, I meet far to many people who think the know everything about everything.

    Thanks for the notes.

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