Some of our contributors have written (and preached) on the way that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount confronts Imperial aspects of American culture (nationalism, patriotism, militarism).
These ideals are imbedded so deeply in the Christian culture south of the border that a faithful exposition of Christ's sermon can incite the ire of congregants who live and breathe the red, white and blue of democracy and capitalism as if that was the Kingdom Christ died for.
I joked with these ministers,
Maybe it's because we Canadians are always dabbling in 'socialism', but this Sermon on the Mount stuff actually doesn't get us in real trouble up here. Is that because we didn't join the cigar embargo on Cuba?
Brad, maybe you have stumbled upon the Canada Caesars yet. I am sure they are there. When you begin to undermine them, then surely somebody will be bothered. Or maybe you Canadians are just too easy going. Well, easy going in life, but not hockey!
Canada's Caesar is Tolerance
Which means convictions can be dangerous.
We are very tolerant of everyone but totally intolerant of the intolerant.
Contempt allows us to be less violent, because it is a great equalizer when faced with an overwhelming and dominant threat. Al Qaida meets this threat through the equalizing force of terror against their too-powerful enemies. Contempt is a form of nonviolent resistance that you can use against your too-powerful friends (but it is devoid of love).
This also means that Canadian evangelicals can be very intolerant of tolerant people because those people are so intolerant ...
This is our Caesar, our Matrix.
The great ironic insult in every Canadian heart (left or right) would be 'you intolerant little sh**'.
This means that for most Canadians (unlike many American believers in God-and-country), we do not resist Christ's Sermon on the Mount. Rather, we harness it to reinforce our contempt of the intolerant.
The one exception would be the Canadian religious far right, who secretly wish they were Americans. I say secretly, but they give themselves away by placing their hand on their hearts for the anthem at hockey games and fixating on Fox news while holidaying south of the border.
Their version of tolerance: they tolerate the empire. Nay, they envy it. Contemptible little sh**s.
Every Cuban cigar we smoke, every hockey gold we win, every appearance by William Shatner, and every gay marriage we perform is an act of simultaneous contempt and tolerance. This is what we mean by 'true north strong and free.'
I have no idea how I would confront Canada's Caesar. It is a virtually impervious and impenetrable power. Perhaps the one hope is to identify it as Canadian ego and call for tolerance and contempt to die and for love and genuine compassion to arise.
For the opposite spirit to tolerance (false compassion) is not intolerance. It is true compassion.
Tolerance somehow maintains the us / them divide and is a form of contempt in itself. Love and compassion involves somehow becoming 'us' - becoming one.
Nor does the Sermon allow for a contemptuous version of nonviolent resistance to the Empire. It demands nothing less than love, prayers, and blessings of both neighbours and enemies.
So here: tolerance and contempt must be declared bankrupt that we might become poor in spirit (of those traits).
If I preach that in Canada, I may hit the bullseye, but rather than getting angry emails, I will be dismissed with a tolerant nod and a contemptuous smirk.
This is partly your fault, America. Because it's the proudest way for a vassal state to remain free in your shadow... So even in our contempt of America, you have shaped 'us',
Now you've seen our underbelly,