Lots of tension when anyone gets into a discussion about what behaviors and commitment are normative with Christians. The description below portrays a very common approach to Christianity. Often written and preached about, the person described here probably sits close to you at services on Sunday. It might even portray you at some point in your life.
“Sometimes, the world of fiction gives us descriptions that are more incisive than many a theological description. Read the following excerpt from a fiction book that I am reading. The book is based in very early 20th century England, before WWI. But, see if the description does not actually fit far too many Christians of whatever stripe.
Fortunately, in the case of Terrance . . . he believed in God and the Church. Not, of course, the kind of honest and open-hearted belief that would also have protected him . . . no, indeed. He believed in the comfortable, dozing-in-the-pew sort of orthodoxy that promised him Heaven in return for the weekly offering and an occassional high tea for the clergy. He liked his clergymen modern–that is, a fellow who would talk to him about hunting and dogs and fishing, and not about uncomfortable things like the state of the poor and the exploitation of the mill-worker, or abstract things like morals and conscience. He certainly was not comfortable with those who took too close an interest in the state of his soul, but preferred those who reassured him without actually saying anything that his soul was in good repair and a place waited for him in Heaven–a Heaven populated by Cambridge men who would see his worth at a glance and give him the respect and deference he simply was not getting here on earth. That this Heaven would also include plebeians who would fawn over his every word and beg to serve him went without saying.”