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It’s Mother’s Day today, in case you live under a rock or somewhere, and it’s also, for many of us, Fauxcension (Feast of the Ascension transferred to Sunday), not to mention the usual lections appointed for the day. Given that I happened to mention the Ascension on Thursday, and Mother’s Day on Friday, and that Mother’s Day isn’t actually in the liturgical calendar, it is propitious that the gospel appointed for today, from John, mashes up nicely with a tweet authored by Kevin M Young. He is a blogger’s dream. He never disappointments. This week, following up on his hot take that pederasty is totally fine, in the most pedestrian way possible, he clarified that, actually, the Christians are the real problem, for not being enough like Jesus:

I am convinced that one of the largest determining factors for Atheism is the behavior of those who call themselves Christians but look nothing like Christ.

I am convinced that Kevin M Young is much in the habit of just making things up. All he has to do is think a bland thought, whip out his phone, say it to all his followers, and not a soul will ask him for a source or anything.

So anyway, back in the gospels, the disciples are nearing the last moments of their long evening in the Upper Room. They are about to arise and straggle after Jesus to the Garden where he will be betrayed into the hands of sinful men, and will go to the cross. They are tired and sad and he is praying, loudly it seems, so that they will be able to hear what he is saying. His prayer lasts a whole chapter and is about the difficult time that this small group of men will have–and all of us by association–for the rest of their earthly sojourning. They are going to be bound irrevocably–to belong to Jesus–and to the Father, and that fact will set them at odds with all those around them. Let’s see what he has to say:

And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Implicit in this prayer is a lived experience excessively disquieting for people like me. For I am a people pleaser. I hate anyone to be angry or annoyed with me for any reason. I will bend over backward to accommodate everyone purely for the insatiable need to be affirmed and accepted by both stranger and friend. What I most particularly do not relish is being in a world that “hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world,” as Jesus says. Hate, I would love to explain to Jesus whenever he has a moment, ought to have no home here in the world he made. How can it be that those who love him should find themselves at odds with anyone, let alone “the world.” There must be some mistake. But no, in the same breath, Jesus goes on to explain that he does not want the Father to “take them out of the world,” but only that he, the Father, will “keep them from the evil one.” Thus, by belonging to Jesus, whether I like it or not, I am necessarily at odds with “the world” who, because it does not want anything to do with Jesus, will always be annoyed with me, who belongs to him.

Worse still, I think, is that while they–the disciples and all the Christians after them–are out there ‘in the world but not of the world,’ they will be getting more and more sanctified, more and more like Jesus all the time. Which essentially means they will be more and more and more uncomfortable, sent on purpose by Jesus to a lot of people who don’t want to hear them and who would generally prefer that they hush up. And all this is so that “they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves” which is very much the opposite sort of joy that I would prefer to experience.

I think we may all be able to see how clever Kevin M Young is to embody in himself so much irony without ever being able to see it. Observe again–because my memory is so short–what he says about why so many people decide not to believe in God:

I am convinced that one of the largest determining factors for Atheism is the behavior of those who call themselves Christians but look nothing like Christ.

The irony is incandescent as the northern lights that I did not get to see because I was already asleep. In the first place, Kevin M Young thinks he is a Christian. He thinks this in spite of continually saying everything that contradicts the things that Jesus, and indeed all the Scriptures, have said on almost every subject. The ignorance he displays, tweet by tweet, is a wonder to behold and the gospel he preaches is lame and poor. Be kind, he says, work hard, and have correct progressive values. This gospel is entirely at odds with trusting in the saving work of Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of sins. You can and probably should be gay, according to Kevin, but you can’t believe that the Bible is the Word of God.

In the second place, being so completely wrong about the content of the Christian faith, Kevin heaps up his own doom by blaming Christians for being the problem. Which, in a sort of way, I suppose they are. They have rejected sin and Satan. They have put themselves, obediently, into the hands of the Lord. They have let go of pride, lust, selfish ambition, and the spiritual forces of wickedness that rebel against God. They are no longer thinking about themselves, but are counting everyone, however painfully, as more significant than themselves. And worst yet, no longer fearing death, they are able to tell the truth, even about themselves, without the need to get any personal acclaim for their efforts. And so, necessarily, the world will “hate” them. Just by belonging to the Lord, being “in Christ” who is “in the Father” the world is going to gnash its algorithms and rage against the tweets of every Christian.

In this place of anxiety and disapprobation, the Christian isn’t ever given permission by the Lord to go away and not care. We have to go on just being here, getting to be more obviously like Jesus every day, and more unlike a dying and destructive age. We are “sanctified” in the Truth, and his word is truth.

Thus we may behold that Kevin M Young is most foolishly mistaken. For Jesus does not blame his own for not being enough like him. That’s the sort of thing that Satan does–accusing the believers all the time. Kevin hates the Christians for not being like Jesus while Jesus is busy loving the Christians by making them more and more like himself. Kevin is “the world,” the very people Christians must be with while never getting their acceptance or affirmation. And in this way, Jesus’ joy overflows, even into the anxious and disappointed.

Perhaps, dare one hope? It is in the mind of the Lord someday to save the poor sap Kevin.

Happy Mother’s Fauxcension! Find me on Substack!

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