Bonfire of the Verities? This is why more people will keep leaving the Church.

Geoffrey Baron
8 min readMay 12, 2021


Photo by Mahad Aamir on Unsplash

The big idea here is that the Church intelligentsia fear they are losing all their precious traditions.. which somehow includes all of America’s founding documents.. hence the title. Ironically, God always uses the image of fire as a sign of cleansing, which I believe is what is actually happening.

I’m going to apologize in advance for the sarcasm.. my bitterness is creeping out. Sorry|not sorry.

I have recently decided to leave Facebook. After realizing it was causing damage to those I cared about.. and my mental health, I decided it was time to leave. I thought I could just drop in once and awhile and check on things but I don’t think I can.

A could friend of mine who is also pastor of pastors dropped a gem of an article on Facebook for me this morning. I’m assuming it’s for me anyway, isn’t it all? We’ve clashed a bit on issues of the day and this one in particular feels like a knife in the back. He would never say that of course, but he knows how I feel about these things and must assume that I still follow him.. he see’s me “liking” his posts about his family.

It’s a book review of sorts, but I’m not interested so much in the book as I am in the intro:

“Twenty-twenty was a tough year for the tradition-minded, and so far, 2021 isn’t any better.” ← A bit of victim mentality here, as if the Church is being persecuted because of it’s intense love of Jesus and for serving the poor, etc. etc.. Sure, but let’s move on..

The very next sentence..

“Those of us who prize the traditions of American governance discovered that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights aren’t worth the parchment they’re written on if We the People can be frightened into accepting emergency government.” ← Hold on, I thought this was about religious persecution.. isn’t this a Christian blog? How is this about America and “Freedom” all of a sudden? Maybe we’ve confused the two and that’s part of the problem? Also, there is no mention of a global pandemic here that’s killed millions of people. It’s never about laying down one’s rights (even unto death) to protect one’s community.. to “love one’s neighbor”. Instead, it’s “sacrifices must be made”. Sacrifice yourself, go serve in a dangerous neighborhood. Better yet, go serve in one of hospitals drowning in COVID patients in India. George Washington forced inoculations on his troops and pretty much shut down the Government during an epidemic. But, what do I know? I’m not the one with the PHd. I’m 100% positive sacrificing peasants on the alter of freedom wasn’t the intent of the Founding Fathers. “Yeah, but D-Day..”. This trope is used to signify that we used to be “tough” as a country and used to know what sacrifice looked like. But that was war and it served a purpose other than being able to get hot dogs from Costco without a mask on or singing songs together amidst an airborne pathogen. You know, when people laid down their lives to save others.. not get other people accidentally ICU’d.

“Our churches, schools, museums, concert halls, and sports fields can be shut down by politicians filled with the righteous purpose of Slowing the Spread. Never mind our traditional liberties.” ← Again, we forget our history here. This is the same garbage debated endlessly during the Spanish Flu (which actually came out of Kansas, “we the people” just really aren’t that smart). The word “righteous” strikes me as odd here. Is it not “righteous” or “just” to try and prevent the loss of life? We lay down our rights on the daily basis in the name of protecting community.. and collectively (as democratic socialists do) hire law enforcement to make sure everyone is onboard with this. Why the backlash? Maybe there is something deeper going on here?

“We must have no other gods before the god Science and his prophet, Dr. Fauci. (In a recent press briefing Fauci stated, “That’s one of the things that I think is such a good thing about our system here, is that we are ruled by the science, not by any other consideration.”) ← Fauci was referring to the political forces that had plagued him during the previous administration. He is actually a Catholic and has committed his life to public service. His boss Francis Collins is a prominent Christian who is incredibly outspoken about his Faith (See: The Language of God). There is only one reason Fauci has faced so much backlash.. Trump and his cronies. Was Fauci wrong about somethings? Yes, that’s science! Everyone did the best they could with the information they had at the time. There is ZERO justification for the Fauci hate machine.

“Then there were the demonstrations and riots incited by Black Lives Matter and Antifa, respectively (if not quite independently). These were not nonviolent demonstrations led by Christian preachers, as in the civil rights movements of the 1960s. They were organized by anti-Christian ideologues, a fact that seemed to cause small unease to the few who could be bothered, or were allowed, to find this out.” ← And where were the Christians in this leading the non-violent protests in solidarity with Black pain and suffering? Oh yeah, they were out there too. In fact over 90% of the BLM protests were peaceful. I know a lot of people that went to them, and they all reported the same. Much of the violence was in fact instigated by heavy handed police tactics. Strange the article doesn’t mention the violence on the MAGA side of the fence.. the “very fine people” who stormed the Capitol. Look, violence is bad and no one I know is justifying it. So, where is are the Christians leading the charge towards racial justice? They aren’t throwing stones from the ivory tower, that’s for sure.

Anti-Christian. Seriously. People that think BLM is about tearing down Christianity have a persecution complex. And what kind of Gospel message is that? Fear! Be afraid of CRT! Be afraid of the Marxists! The only thing they should really be afraid of is that fact that they dressed a wolf in sheep’s clothing and put him in the White House.

The author is completely missing the hurt behind it all. Are a couple of the leaders Marxist and do they espouse non-Christian values? Yep. Dig into Church history.. you’ll find that everywhere. You can start with the book Dominion. Heck, Luther was an Anti-Semite but we haven’t thrown out the Reformation. Many many Black leaders and pastors can proudly say “Black Lives Matter” without supporting Marxism. It’s used a poison pill to tank the whole idea that maybe we need to actually wrestle with our past and look at the world through a different color of skin. “Yeah, but race doesn’t exist!” Sure, but 400 years of subjugation has taught us otherwise. That’s not going away just because we had a Black president.

“Hollywood panjandrums tripped over each other in the rush to profess solidarity with BLM. They locked arms and opened their wallets to wipe out white supremacy, systemic racism, and all the evils to which pale flesh is heir.” ← Oh the poor oppressed white people. Panjandrums? Get out of the ivory tower and mingle with us little people. Language like that just smacks of elitism, as does calling others out for elitism. See how that works? Trump knows this tactic: “Those fat cats in Washington”, says the billionaire. Suggesting Hollywood supports something doesn’t make it evil. I’m old enough remember Hollywood united the world around saving starving Ethiopians. Influence has its perks, just ask Ravi Zacharias. What an awkward conversation he’s having with God right now.

“If we had to burn down everything we had inherited from the past, like Sherman marching through Georgia or the Vandals sacking Rome, that was just the price of purity.” ← Oh yes, the past was glorious, it should remain untouched in all it’s glory. Remember how great it was for us in the 50s when women were in the kitchen and the Black man was kept away from us? Please. Maybe some nuance perhaps? Yes, there are things in our past that need “burning to the ground”. Interesting example comparing Sherman and the Vandals sacking Rome. Lost Cause mythology perhaps? Yes, the 1619 project is an extreme over correction.. let’s have a nuanced view of our history. Good, bad, and ugly.

“The statue of that Hispanic saint or black Christian abolitionist or the formerly admired U.S. president could be moved indoors to a small room at the back of the museum. The idea that such things belonged to traditions that needed to be kept alive, outside the museums, well, that could be “problematic.”” ← Yeah, that’s the problem.. it’s the statues of abolitionists and saints. This is a bizarre retelling of recent history. No mention of the Confederate generals who fought for a cause that was racist to its core. I don’t care if a Confederate general fought for his kids, or state, or the past piece of fried chicken: The inescapable reality is that those statues represented people who fought for the subjugation of our brothers and sisters and they were installed by people who wanted to keep people “in their place”. Perhaps some of the “over woke” collateral damage came from 1) Our poor teaching of history and 2) The fact that it took rage and violence to make the needed changes. Had white society been willing to budge and listen maybe it wouldn’t have gone as far as it had? Why did a Black women have to get arrested for climbing a flag pole to get the Confederate battle flag taken down in Georgia? And they tell Black people to move on from the past.

“Or if you yourself are tempted to believe that woke anti-traditionalists have a point..” ← And what point would that be? That we should listen to our Black brothers and sisters Christ who are crying out that their lives matter? “But they do! All lives matter!”, You say? But this is not how you say it. When a child is hurting you don’t say all children matter. When one sheep feels lost you don’t say, I need to tend to the 99. You rush to the prodigal son. Right now white America is the snot nosed son who stayed home and is complaining because he’s feeling oppressed. It’s not fair! I worked hard for what we have! I’m good! I’ve done the work! That Black kid just needs to work hard like I did! “Yeah but..” ← all roads here either lead to a racist conclusion or the conclusion the fabric of our society still bears the scares of oppression otherwise known as systemic racism. If you haven’t experienced that it’s called “privilege”.

I don’t feel guilty for being tall around short people.. but I use my height to reach things from the top shelf for those who can’t.

This article is not listening. This is not loving. And this is why numbers in churches will most likely continue to plummet. Not because people hate “Tradition” but because it’s gotten in the way of loving others.

Have the temperatures gotten too hot? Have people gotten over-woke? Are evils of white culture now the boogeyman behind everything? Of course. When you don’t listen to the child who needs attention they get louder. I’m not suggesting white culture needs to be paternalistic, but that’s the power dynamic right now. We the people need to work towards a just future for all, and we the Christians need to make sure we are listening and loving first.. instead of throwing stones and complaining out being oppressed. To many Black ears and their white “woke” advocates, “Tradition” has a lot of baggage.

Defend the tradition of loving your neighbor as yourself.