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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Enter, if you dare

                All are welcome...who believe exactly as we do, and don't welcome the same sorts.

From an instructive article in The Guardian:
Christianity no longer asserts a dominant influence in American society; instead, American Christianity is now heavily influenced by popular, secular culture. Much of that is benign: pop culture has influenced religious music and opened up the church to new ways of worshipping, as exemplified by Christian Hip Hop artist LeCrae and Christian Rock band Gungor. But other adaptations are more likely harming Christianity’s once-broad influence. One of the biggest threats now is the effect of external political considerations on various faith communities, the result of religious conservatives who allegedly promote a return to “traditional Christian values.” Unfortunately, many of those same, prominent individuals – leaders like Franklin Graham, who recently suggested that the American government block Muslims from entering the country -encourage fellow Christians to use our faith to justify “take our country back” politics linked to the right wing – code for let’s move as far away from Christ’s teachings of love your neighbor as possible. 
As the more politically conservative segments of various American churches have moved away from the teachings of Christ – caring for the poor, justice for the disenfranchised, love and grace – and politicized the faith in order to maintain a status quo that is distinctively racist, sexist and classist, Christianity has essentially repelled many people who it might have influenced a century ago. American Christianity, in many cases, is now either comfortable in the role of oppressor, a laughingstock or impotent to promote the true and good work of the gospel. 
Sadly, Christianity and many of its American adherents are floundering and gasping for air in a sea of irrelevance, held down by the weight of our own arrogance and our indifference to non-believers. If we don’t return to the foundations of Christ’s teaching by being more actively and compassionately involved in serving those in need, if we don’t get back to being the vessel through which others in society experience God’s amazing love and grace by risking our reputations on behalf of those who are suffering and those who have been disenfranchised by injustice, we will drown in that sea with – dare I say it – God’s permission.

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