"I Hate, I Despise Your Religious Festivals"

A few days after Christmas Sojourners asked if they could repost my The Bait and Switch of Contemporary Christianity. It's now February and it continues to be one their "Most Read" essays each week.

I remain surprised at the staying power of this post. What buttons is it pushing? For good and bad?

For my part, I just think the post is a commentary on texts, among others, like Amos 5:

Amos 5.21-24
“I hate, I despise your religious festivals;
your assemblies are a stench to me.
Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them.
Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,
I will have no regard for them.
Away with the noise of your songs!
I will not listen to the music of your harps.
But let justice roll on like a river,
righteousness like a never-failing stream!

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9 thoughts on “"I Hate, I Despise Your Religious Festivals"”

  1. I hadn't read this article before, but I am SO glad I did; if for no other reason than the line, "Many Churches are jerk factories!" That is priceless. Both absolutely hilarious and excruciatingly true.
    Oh when will we learn? I fear for the Church, truly I do...
    It could be SO much and yet it is not even a pale shadow of this potential.


  2. Preach on, Brother Beck...  This is the prophetic truth which is hard to hear, but desperately needed.  "But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.'" (Matt. 9:13)

  3. In my opinion, the high amount of sustained 'hits' on your article is a case-and-point of the growing resentment toward Contemporary Christianity; resentment caused by being abandoned (or deceived) by the Church...even 'God'.  (The single quotation marks around God act as a nod toward philosophers, therapists, and theologians who argue that a lot of what is understood about God is both projection and construction.) The questions I've been wrestling with are: (1) "Is there a God after 'God'?", (2) "If so, how does one find s/he?", and (3) "How much of what is currently a part of Christianity true?" I find myself tempted to take on a scorched-earth policy and burn the 'whole thing' down in order to create space for something authentic to be possible. Then I realize that history and tradition are inescapable and will always be connected to the present.  But I'm a believer in change.        

  4. Congrats on the number of hits -- I think it continues to resonate as more people wake up to what they've given their allegiance in Jesus' name. They told two friends, and they told two friends, and so on, and so on ...

  5. A link to your The Bait and Switch of Contemporary Christianity post is what led me to your blog, and then eventually opened my eyes to the community of Progressive Christian pages and organizations.  I don't really care for labels that much; I’ve seen too often where people take a label so much to heart they begin to brandish it against everything they disagree with and become just as bad as those who claim the labels they don’t like.  However, it has been amazingly refreshing to find these communities, albeit online, where I don't feel like such an outcast for questioning, for caring about social justice, for not hating someone just because they happen to belong to a group of people "Christians" are  "supposed" to hate.   So, because that post has really changed my spiritual life for the better, it will always have a very special place in my heart.  Thank you so much for writing it.

  6. Reading passages like Amos 5 and Isaiah 1 after seeing poverty and suffering in Boston is what completely changed my spiritual paradigm.  Finding this blog reassured me that I wasn't alone.  The post in question is cutting directly to the heart of the matter for many people who have felt disillusioned for a long time.  Keep up the good work.

    Dr. Beck, I'll be in Abilene in a few weeks and would love to meet for 10 minutes for coffee.

  7. Because people feel the truth of your statement: "'Christianity' has essentially become a mechanism for allowing millions of people to replace being a decent human being with something else, an endorsed 'spiritual' substitute."
    You might as well have said "'Christianity' IS a mechanism for allowing millions of people to replace being a decent human being with something else, an endorsed 'spiritual' substitute." Because that's what we're all thinking.
    What you are saying, I think, is not too far from what Nietsche said as much in his tract "The Antichrist."

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