Voices: Ketcherside on Christendom


By W. Carl Ketcherside, 1908-1989

Christendom is the huge umbrella of many patches and colors, providing shelter and shade for every form of political and religious delusion and chicanery.  It is the sprawling tent under which millions huddle to watch the antics of religious clowns and buffoons, and to see the three-ring circus of professional entertainers, putting on a constant show for the shekels thrown them by the fear motivated spectators.  It is the labyrinthine maze, which entraps and ensnares the unwary, and dooms them to the perpetual and hopeless search for happiness, promising them everything and delivering nothing.

Christendom is not the creation of God.  It is the machinery of the clergy, a special class of which God’s word knows nothing, but which sprung out of human pride and then captured the holy city and placed its citizens under tribute for its maintenance.  It is the new mediator between God and man, christening, consecrating, shriving, burying, and intoning prayers for a fee.  Christendom is the kingdom presided over by popes, cardinals, primates, metro-politicians, archbishops, bishops, prelates, deans, arch deacons, canons, rectors, vicars, and curates.  In the suburban areas it is sometime under the direction of priests, pastors and parsons, and these frequently try to hide their relationship.  It is the realm of ecclesiastical jargon, that language of the scholastics, which has become a dialect of patois, unintelligible to the masses and serving only to confuse the uninitiated and confound the humble student.

Christendom is not The Way!  The Way is the habitat of free men; of men free to think for themselves and, what may be just as important, free to allow others to think for themselves.  The Way is the path of communion and not always of confrontation.

                             – from Ketcherside’s Mission Messenger (April, 1972), via J. Eoff

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