My Lord is a bitter rage-filled scold who wears plain-front chinos and a button-down

Rod Dreher who samples religions like they’re appetizers, longs for that old time religion, it’s good enough for him:

David Brooks had a pretty fantastic column today, saying that the squishy, therapeutic religion exemplified by Mitch Albom’s “The Five People You Meet in Heaven” is more of a danger to American society than the muscular Christianity on display in Mel Gibson’s movie. Brooks, who is Jewish, does not defend Gibson’s film, but he does say that the narcissism and spiritual sloth that characterizes popular religion in America today corrodes public virtue. I wanted to shout, “Hallelujah!” when I finished that column. I was raised Methodist, and have passed through the Southern Baptist church and the Episcopal Church before I finally ended up in the Roman Catholic church 11 years ago. With the possible exception of the Southern Baptist church, I don’t recall ever having heard any kind of Christianity preached that wasn’t essentially a spiritualized gloss on Dr. Phil-ism. The happy exceptions are so rare I’d sooner expect to find rashers of bacon in the Riyadh IHOP than hear something substantive and challenging.

For me, “The Passion of the Christ” acted as a head-clearer from all the bourgeois kultursmog one gets in church these days, where one is challenged to do little more than be nice to others and accept that God affirms us in our Okayness. When I went to mass on Ash Wednesday, I was still reeling from the searing grandeur of the film, and thinking very much about my own sins, and the role I played in Christ’s suffering. The priest began his homily by saying, “I was going to preach a fire-and-brimstone homily, but that’s not my style.” This was supposed to be a joke, as his homilies all sound as intelligent and modulated as an extended NPR commentary, minus the edge (an Ira Glass monologue is “Sinners In the Hands of an Angry God” by comparison). And you know, I wanted to scream. I’m so sick of this Jesus-is-our-Buddy stuff. Our Lord in Dockers. Who needs it, ya know?

Now you’ll have to excuse Rod. He has some self-flagellating to do.

No. I said flagellating, not that other thing, although I’m sure Rod can do that too. But it was good to see Rod own up to the role he played in Jim Caviezel’s Jesus’ suffering, because, the good Mel knows, I’ve got an alibi…

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Yeah. Like I would tell you....