Friday, April 20, 2012

Cultural Christianity

Okay, I'm going to take a stab at this.  If you don't want to read a rambly, perhaps nonsensical, maybe even slightly controversial post, you've been warned to stop reading now LOL.  At any rate, I'm hoping that thinking hard (you can just see a few extra wrinkles forming as I'm typing) will district me from the allergic reaction going on with my face, the newly minted pen drawing on my cedar chest cover (thanks Colin), and the unfinished costumes hanging on the china cabinet.  Here goes. 

I think organized religion is in crisis.  Now, that doesn't sound so shocking - we hear that frequently.  But the threat isn't coming from atheists, secularists, humanists, or liberals.  It's coming from the inside, making it all the more destructive.  People are becoming what I term Cultural Christians, under the leadership of many churches and preachers.  They've substituted a brand of patriotic, political conversatism for a living, breathing relationship with God and the Word.  I see it frequently in the online forums for Christian mothers I frequent, and from my Christian friends on Facebook.  People assume that if you are a Christian you must be in full support of the Republican Party.  If you are not, many openly and disgustedly question the sincerity of your faith.  It's commonplace to see and hear "How can any Christian support..." or "I've never known any true Christian to support...".  I recently ran across (not literally, via the web) a sign supporting a state amendment that says "Vote How God Votes - Yes to Amendment 1".  How anyone can have the temerity to say without equivocation and humility that they know God's mind on a matter so wordly and temporal is beyond me.  Especially when we are talking of something as complex as politics.  I also hear frequently the assertion that America is or, at the very least, should be a Christian theocracy and that somehow God's perfected design for this world is American-style freemarket capitalism, and that differing ideologies are inherently evil.  Just yesterday I came across an old 1960s speech by Paul Harvey that several of my Christian compatriots were swooning over in which he equated ambition with godliness.  Ambition!  Not hard work or integrity or responsibility, he actually used the word ambition.  This then turned into a religious-tinged diatribe against socialism and all I could think was no, no, no, buying into political tribalism is downright Darwinian and anything but what God wants for us. It is cheap Christianity - that which demands little of us, because all we have to do is listen to our chosen "leaders", vote a particular way, and throw a little money into the mix for good measure, and we're patted on the head and told that we're "approved" Christians, somehow earning God's special privilege as Americans.  Jesus said, "My kingdom is not of this world.  If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews.  But now my kingdom is from another place." John 18:36.  As a God Girl, I think we need to be very, very cautious about wading into the political and culture wars and always keep our eye on the prize - that this world is not our home.  Too many times we want to know what God can do FOR us, rather than how we can bleed for him and for others, to the glory of his name.          


Mom said...

I do believe you are "spot on" on this one Melissa. Just look at what Thomas Jefferson meant when he talked about the separation or church and state

"Believing that religion is a matter which lies solely between man and his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legislative powers of government reach actions only, and not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their Legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof," thus building a wall of separation between Church and State" (Letter to the Danbury Baptists, 1802)

Please correct me if I am wrong but I do think that this is in essence of what you are saying?

Serena said...

I agree! Wish that everyone had the opportunity to live outside of our country and see how God operates around the world. People everywhere have their own sets of hang-ups, but God is much, much, MUCH bigger than the box that we American Christians have put Him into.

Serena said...

Just heard through the church's prayer chain that your mom passed away. I am so sorry!!! We will be praying for you and the family. Please let me know if there is any way that we can be of help.