Yesterday was Easter, which is a big deal for Christians. Yesterday the secular search engine Google featured as its Google Doodle of The Day an artistic rendering of devout Catholic Caeser Chavez.
My, people are upset! My people are upset! Comma or no comma, there is a lot of grief waged over this. It is seen by many as yet another salvo in the War on Christianity.
Christianity was never meant to be popular; it was and always has been populist which is a different thing altogether.
Christians tend to have grown complacent in the United States over the last few decades. We have been comfortably ensconsed in a country largely populated with people who share Christianity as a cultural heritage. We haven’t had to huddle in our homes worshiping in secret and trading precious scraps of scripture smuggled to us from elsewhere. It has been very easy to be a Christian, comparatively speaking.
Google is reminding us that Christianity is not a default position.
It was NEVER supposed to be a default position.
Whenever Jesus addresses the idea of becoming a Christian in the New Testament He describes it as an active choice. Take up your cross. Come, follow me. Feed my sheep. It’s a choice that demands action; it is not a passive entitlement to be born into. Yet we, the church at Sardis, the church at Laodicea, have been quite okay with the status quo.
We’ve been so okay and comfortable in our faith that our biggest controversy over the last 20 years has been what type of music we sing on Sunday in congregational worship.
Think about that for a minute.
Google has done us a great favour, frankly. By not allowing Christianity to be the default, the expected decoration, the obligatory social choice the company has reminded us that Christianity is an active choice that demands continued action, vigilance, and devotion. Christianity is not just a picture on a day.
I feel odd writing this on April Fools’ Day because it almost does seem like a joke. People are dying of hunger, of thirst, of diseases resulting from drinking befouled water. We are not outraged by this. Families have to sell their daughters into sexual slavery. We are not tweeting about that, writing blogs about that.
We are complaining about a cartoon. Remember a few years ago when everyone was mocking the Muslims for being upset about a cartoon?
The greatest irony in all this for me is that Chavez was a devout believer in Christ. He was said to be
“the last Catholic in America” to achieve a “cultural/political synthesis” that brought the Church’s social teaching into the public square.
So here’s a guy who lived out the teachings of Christ to the best of his ability. I think that’s a fine thing to be reminded of on Easter. In a very real way, Cesar Chavez WAS a picture of the empty tomb.