As mentioned in the right-hand column, I have been reading Fr. Giussani's book, Why the Church?. Recently, I came across this passage:
"The Church feels itself to be the community of Jesus, the Messiah; this, not just because the disciples adhered to the ideals he preached (which they certainly did not grasp fully at that time), but because they abandoned themselves to him, alive and present among them, as he promised to be: 'And know that, I am with you always; yes to the end of time (Matthew 28:20). In this they were truly adhering to all he taught -- that his work was not a doctrine, not an inspiration of some kind for a more just life, but that he in person was sent by the Father to be a companion to man along his pathway (emphasis added)."
What struck me about this passage is its emphasis on Christianity being a historical fact and event. Too easily, our modern culture looks at Christianity as an ideology. Both Christians and non-Christians do this. Especially, when it comes to the interplay with politics. For some, like a friend of mine, Christianity is viewed as a negative political ideology ("Republicans have cornered the God market") and is rejected on that basis. But us Christians can reduce Christianity to an ideology at times, or just a set of doctrines and rituals. But that is not what Christianity is. As Msgr. Albacete says, in this wonderful piece over at Godspy about faith and politics:
"The encounter with Christ—it all began when a bunch of people encountered this man. No one sat down to design a Christology. It doesn't emerge from any particular system of thought. It was a fact, an encounter. That's how it begins. You meet this man—something happens. If we cannot grasp that, then what follows is just concepts. If Christology is reduced to a conceptual or philosophical battle in politics—forget it. Our claim that the relation between faith and politics is a branch of Christology, and Christology starts with an encounter with Christ, means that we will not grasp nor make a Catholic proposal about the relation between faith and politics unless we share its point of origin, which is the experience of the encounter with Christ. This started it all, and this is what sustains it all. A proposal that doesn't come from that experience has no power. It's just words if it doesn't start with that fact."
Is it any surprise to us that when we live Christianity as an ideology that we find it hard to sustain our Christian life and that non-Christians find nothing attractive about it?