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On American Christianity

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To all the real Christians whoever and whenever they are with utmost respect.

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Ok, let 's talk about it. The gas prices had skyrocketed and it is just the right time to talk about God. What 's it with our Pretzel- in- Mischief? Doesn 't he talk to the Divine on the regular basis? Why can 't he just ask the Almighty to ... you know, increase the flowrate or something? What does he pray about anyway?
The secret of this puzzle revealed itself to me recently when I heard the following TV gem from the unbelievably precious lips of one of our popular anchor creatures:

- Our President and his brother Jeb are of the different religions. Our President is a Christian. His brother is a converted Catholic.

Wow! If I was the brother Jeb I would have called the Network and given that bimbo a piece of mind for excluding me from the realm of Christianity. But as soon as Jeb didn 't seem to give a damn and was really more interested in Terri Schiavo, I have decided to clarify something myself, although I don 't believe in any God and my interest in Christianity is at the same level as my interest in Santeria.
There are several main independent trends of Christianity in the modern world. Here they are(if I miss something significant, I guess, God will take care of it):

1. Holy Catholic Apostolic Church. One of the most ancient spiritual corporations. Headquarters in Rome, Italy. CEO- Pope. It is by far the most populated Christian denomination and has its constituents practically everywhere in the world including the USA.
2 Greek Orthodox Christian Church. Primary HQ- Istanbul, Turkey. Head- Greek Orthodox Patriarch. This one covers Greeks and Serbs primarily, also part of Bulgarians and Romanians.
3.Russian Orthodox Christian Church. HQ in Moscow, Russia. Head- Moscow Patriarch. This one covers the majority of the Russian flock throughout the world.
4.Christian Church of Armenia. HQ in Erevan, Armenia. Head- Catholicos of all Armenians. The denomination includes Armenians all over the world.
5.Christian Church of Georgia- Iberia. HQ- Tbilisi- Mzheta, Georgia. Head- Catholicos of all Georgians (excluding GA, USA). This covers all the Georgians (Ibers).
6. Anglican Church of England. HQ- London, England. Honorary CEO- King or Queen of England. Executive officer- Archbishop of Canterbury. This one covers all the Anglican followers everywhere.
7.The Unia (mixed) Greek / Catholic Ukrainian Church. Autonomous subdivision of the Catholic Church. Recognizes the Pope as a CEO. HQ- Lviv, Ukraine. Covers the Ukrainian flock.
8.The Old- fashioned (old) Russian Church. Not very big but very ancient. Exists in Russia and in the enclaves in different countries. Covers the Russian people who do not want to follow the main trend. Listed here because it existed before the #3 emerged. No HQ and No CEO.
9.Christian Church of Ethiopia. The most ancient one. Independent Christian trend. HQ- AdisAbebba, Ethiopia. CEO- Archbishop(I think so- MS). Takes care of the Ethiopians.

10.Last, but not least. The Christian Lutheran Church. No official HQ. Has its flock in huge numbers in Western Europe, USA and Canada.

Ugh!. OK, that 's it. Whoever I missed ... OOPs! I missed the whole lot of people! Our beloved, hot-blooded Americans. Our Pentecostals, Methodists, Latter- Day Saints, Adventists, Christ- the Scientist followers, Episcopathians, Presviterians and all those colorful folks, who go to their churches or praying houses in the Country of God (excluding those Catholics, of course). How could I miss them?
Well, it turns out that I missed them because they are not there. Officially they do not exist as an independent trend in the Christian faith. They all are the off springs (sometimes pretty weird ones) of the #10- the Christian Lutheran Church. In fact, some of those off springs can be considered as (wow, what words!) sects, cults, not really legitimate products of the mighty tree of Christianity. From the official, strictly academic point of view, it is the brother Jeb, who is a real Christian.

It is not for the person with no faith to judge the people of faith. That is why I am here only stating the obvious. The actual positions of all those denominations in the Christian system in no way diminish the faith of the real Christians in those denominations. Alas, our self made Christian 'leaders' constantly remind the world about that sect thing. They behave as the cultists in the worst possible way.
What our Dobsons, Grahams, Robertsons and Swaggerts had done was a sacrelige. They decided to own Jesus. It did not click in their puny heads that Jesus was not for sale. Neither it did warn them that actually Jesus could not be owned because He owns his people. They patented Jesus and started the profiteering.
Jesus this and Jesus that. Jesus on the Hamburger and Jesus in the pocket of Mr. Robertson. Jesus for the war. Jesus against gays. Je-zzuz! Billy Graham telling to our Prez about his divine mission due to his recovery from alcoholism and General Boykin saying openly that , '.. our God is better than theirs '.
Our God? For goodness sake, general, aren 't you afraid that He will hear you? He might not like the idea that such a puny guy suddenly wants all His love. How about Ethiopia? He has to love them too. He might decide to teach you and us a lesson, you know. I guess He might be tired of all those morons who dare to openly proclaim that US is His residence. You know, folks, Jesus has a special companion for such situations. He is called many names but his most popular name is Satan. I am very much afraid that whenever Jesus hears that crap our televangelists spill out he has a temptation to call this guy and tell him that we all are his for a while.
Our official monopolists on Christianity demonstrate all the symptoms of the cult. They are extremely insecure and homophobic. They want to 'spread ' their faith, which is against all the current Christian trends. They are so incredibly chauvinistic that even Anglicans are far away from them.
I view Christianity ( as well as any other religion) as a giant organ where each tube contributes to the magnificent God's music. But our self- proclaimed spiritual 'leaders ' are impostors. Their behavior is a horrible noise in the Temple. They resemble a pack of monkeys who invaded a sacred building and try desperately to mimic the human behavior. They are pathetic.
Real Christianity is love, tolerance and self- doubt. It is a responsibility and suffering. It's a fear of Hell before strife for Heaven. It is an understanding that you are but only one of many faithful and that God only defines who is good and who is not. It is a respect to other people, whoever they are because they are all God 's children and He takes care of all.
I read a book once about Benjamin Franklin and in that book he tells the story he claims he had taken from the Bible:
'Abraham once emerged from his tent and saw an old man under the tree.
-Why are you here? asked Abraham, 'Come into the tent and enjoy my meal with me.'
The old man agreed and entered the tent. But when Abraham put out his food and started to prey to God, the old man refused.
-I don 't care for your God, he said.
Abraham became very angry and threw the old man out of his tent. Suddenly he heard the voice of God,
- Abraham, where is your guest?
- I threw him out, my Lord because he didn 't care for you.
And God said,-I kept him for 70 years alive and well although he closed his heart to me. And you, a sinner yourself couldn 't spend even one night with him? '
Whether this story is in the Bible or not, whether Benjamin invented it or the author of the book did, I think, God Himself speaks through Benjamin to us and smiles at His children.
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The writer is 57 years old, semi- retired engineer, PhD, PE, CEM. I write fiction on a regular basis and I am also 10 years on OEN.

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

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Here I am, by Panurg's request. Good article. ... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2007 at 9:23:02 AM
PLEASE EXCUSE THE TYPOS ABOVE, I WASN'T WEARING MY... by Professor Emeritus Peter Bagnolo on Tuesday, Apr 3, 2007 at 9:28:27 AM