Indictments of the Church
In his series Promethea, comic book writer Alan Moore makes a startling indictment of Christianity. He says that Christians want to turn gold back into lead. Obviously this is a reversal of the alchemy claim to be able to turn lead into gold. To some extent it is true of what Christianity has done, at least that represented here in America, which is quite sad considering that Jesus’ first miracle is turning water into wine.
Jesus’ ministry is about transformation, about taking something and making it into something else. The miracle of water turned into wine symbolizes this. It shows us that Jesus intends to take the mundane and simple and make it into something more, something spectacular, something extravagant.
With this in mind, Moore’s view of Christianity is troublesome. Partly because being a Christian in America is often more about aligning with specific cultural norms or a political agenda than it is about following Jesus,. That’s not to say that aren’t people sincerely following Jesus in America. I’m saying that many expect that I have similar political views because of my faith. Or, worse, that because they hold to certain political and cultural views, some believe that they are Christians without experiencing any transformation. It has become joining a club.
So we have made transformation into something less than it should be, turning something spectacular into something mundane. Turning gold into lead.
My guess though, is that Shane Claiborne and his followers would see this transformation from gold to lead as a good thing. He makes a case for the powerful new kingdom of Christ overthrowing the old kingdom of this world. Gold is no longer king. Christ is the king with his new order of the last being first and the least being greatest. In this sense, a Christianity that radically pursues these teachings of Jesus would truly be transformative, stripping the rich and powerful, dethroning wealth.
Perhaps the worst indictment against the Church is that we haven’t transformed gold into lead.