Christ the King? Who Needs a King?

Welcome to Christ the King Sunday.  OK, so it’s a modern holy day with not much theological precedent, but it does say something audacious about our faith.  In the midst of a democracy that prizes (at least in theory) individual freedom and initiative in all things, we proclaim primary allegiance to an absolute monarch.  How’s that for anachronistic thinking?  

I was counseling a prospective Christian years ago back in NYC.  She liked everything Christianity offered, but bolted when we got to the idea of a God that was not democratically elected and periodically subject to individual review and approval.  It was more than she could take.  It’s more than a lot of regular pew sitters can take as well.  They are content with a God preached to them in terms they agree with, and that’s all.  And they are very uncomfortable with a God who is our absolute monarch but insists on remaining a holy mystery, and a faith that requires us to muddle through, following as best we can where Christ has led, even if we don’t fully understand where we are going and are not entirely sure that our own judgments are correct.

To me, all of this is the great and good news, but I am witness to how that is not always the case.  I find the alternative unpalatable at best.  I don’t understand a religion built around the idea of a democratic God of my choice in whom I can place my clear, definitive, black and white ideas of good and bad and call it orthodoxy.  

5 thoughts on “Christ the King? Who Needs a King?”

  1. Oh dear! – you mean God doesn\’t tally our prayers and yield the preferred answer that the majority submitted? All this time….. Christ the King – I don\’t think that is nearly as bad a concept as one ruled by humans voting yea or nay:)

  2. I used to attend a parish were words were very important, well the current interpretations of words were important, well a vocal persons interpretations of words that may cause offense in a political correct way were important. The main direction of the rector was that the job of clergy did not include teaching, so words would be changed to avoid causing any possible offense, believe me, there were times the readings and Gospel were hardly recognizable. Well as some people recognize King to mean despot, or cruel master, they used Queen, then Queen became to Roman, so they used Master, well master became to harsh so they used Employer, I don\’t know where it went from there, I left when in a fit of wanting to avoid offense to our Muslim Sisters and Brothers Jesus was refereed to only as our brother, prophet and friend, all true, but….

  3. Bruno,I wonder where that kind of thinking comes from? It bespeaks a great deal of insecurity masked in a very thin facade of inclusivity and tolerance. Of course, I\’m just an old teacher with all the limitations that brings.CP

  4. Our language is important, and the aforementioned parish\’s \’non-offensive\’ language misses the point: the Gospel is offensive. In calling Jesus Lord (and King of Kings) we are standing against oppression and violence, and we are refusing to bow to cultures which slowly dehumanize and destroy. If we want \”Christ the holy Manager who leads by consensus\” then it all becomes about us and in the end becomes about no one. We don\’t know what we want or need because we\’re, well, human. We think need x,y, and z, but we don\’t see the whole picture which tells us that we need a, b, and absolutely no z. We don\’t even see ourselves clearly. Christ taught as one with authority, and that authority wasn\’t from the apostles (who messed up a lot of things) or the other disciples (who sometimes just wanted more bread). It wasn\’t vox populi or an edict from the senate. Thank God for that. If it was just a comfortable message, then how would it stand against oppression and destruction (which are pretty comfortable… if you\’re in power).

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