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272 pages, Hardcover
First published November 1, 2007
Most people do not go to church to be confronted with the gap between what they believe and practice and what their faith teaches and requires. One of the reasons that religious people are often cultural conservatives, and that cultural conservatives take comfort in religion, is that religion is seen to confirm the status quo.In shocking contrast:
When Jesus came preaching, it was to proclaim the end of things as they are and the breaking in of things that are to be: the status quo is not to be criticized; it is to be destroyed. There is no appeal to an earlier Golden Age when things were done right, and the contemporary scene holds no promise, for it merely makes sacred the experiences of the people in power.Gomes traces what he sees as the history of Christianity's distraction from Jesus's radical gospel in favor of a veneration of Jesus himself, a Pharisaical obsession with Biblical texts, and various flavors of Christian triumphalism that have resulted in the church becoming associated with temporal power, sometimes even becoming the dominant temporal power, and therefore too invested in the status quo.