Following an unprecedented study on the religious lives of American teens, Professor Christian Smith came to this conclusion:
We have come with some confidence to believe that a significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that it is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition,
but has rather substantially morphed into Christianity’s misbegotten step-cousin, Christian Moralistic Therapeutic Deism… The language and therefore experience, of Trinity, holiness, sin, grace, justification, sanctification, church, Eucharist, and heaven and hell appear, among most Christian teenagers in the United States at the very least, to be supplanted by the language of happiness, niceness, and an earned heavenly reward.
It is not so much that Christianity is being secularized. Rather more subtly, Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a quite different religious faith.
Christian Smith “Soul Searching: the religious and spiritual lives of American teenagers.”
“Awesome…” “Passion…” “Unique…” “Radical…” “Relevant…” “Missional…” “Life Changing…” “Transforming…” “Growing…” “Life-equipping…” “Living-Your-Purpose…”
Is anyone else tired of Church hype? Above are a scattering of words picked out from some church websites. Judging from each page you’d think that these churches are individually ushering in the second coming of Christ. Is anyone else growing weary? Continue reading
This morning a friend of mine emailed me a news article from the Associated Press entitled, “Atheist ‘Mega-Churches’ Take Root Across US, World.” Needless to say the headlined grabbed my attention. As the title suggests, this article chronicles the rise of “Atheist Mega-Churches.” Yes… That’s not a typo. Author Gillian Flaccus writes:
“Nearly three dozen gatherings dubbed “atheist mega-churches” by supporters and detractors have sprung up around the U.S. and Australia – with more to come – after finding success in Great Britain earlier this year.” Continue reading
“In recent years, a handful of popular books have been published urging a more robust and radical expression of the Christian faith. I heartily amen the desire to take one’s faith seriously and demonstrate before the watching world a willingness to be more than just Sunday churchgoers. The unintended consequence of this push, however, is that we can give people the impression that Christianity is first and foremost about the sacrifices we make rather than the sacrifice Jesus made for us – our performance rather than his performance for us. The hub of Christianity is not “do something for Jesus.” The hub of Christianity is “Jesus has done everything for you.” And my fear is that too many people, both inside and outside the church, have heard our “do more, try harder” sermons and pleas for intensified devotion and concluded that the focus of the Christian faith is the work that we do instead of the work God has done for us in the person of Jesus… The heart of the Christian faith is Good News not good behavior.When Sunday mornings become one more venue for performance evaluation, can you blame a person for wanting to stay at home?”
Check out the rest here.
After giving it much consideration, I’ve decided that there is at least one very good reason why I need Church: I have a really bad memory.
It’s true. I have a terrible memory. Especially when it comes to remembering who I am as a child of God. Especially when it comes to remembering what God has done, and continues to do, in and through Jesus Christ.