Does the religious right even write poetry? Asking for a fellow blogger who suggests that, No, they do not write poetry because one cannot make poetry out of sheer vitriol.
Bahahah! Oh ouch, methinks she nailed it. Chuckling here because one of the definitions of “vitriol” is, “sulphuric acid, or one of many of its compounds, which in certain states have a glassy appearance.”
I used to call a lot of people within Western Christianity, “the beautiful people.” It wasn’t a compliment, it meant the cup was all shiny on the outside, but the inside was just a glassy acid of pure vitriol.
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So I refer you to Aaron Renn’s article at First Things called, “THE THREE WORLDS OF EVANGELICALISM.” It is about the shifts in our culture, the culture wars and culture warriors, and how 2014 to the present is the 3rd phase, the time when “Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity.”
Praise the Lord, I have always lived in this world! I mean that sincerely. I bring good news, it is the best place of all to be! I’m telling you, I’ve had to really fight for my faith. That means knowing what you believe and why it matters and learning to depend exclusively on Jesus.
Thank God, “Society has come to have a negative view of Christianity.” Maybe now we can all begin to focus on what’s really important?
I don’t particularly like all the Christian social media influencers, the movers and shakers within mega churches, the hierarchies, jockeying for position, churchian politics, constant denominational schisms, or competing for political power and social approval. I think that for far too long, many Christians in the Western world have approached faith in terms of climbing the corporate ladder, checking the Christian box because it looks good on their resume. Going through the motions because it may benefit us socially and politically.
Actually, I really despise all that. I want to see something authentic and real. Intimacy with Jesus! I’m a little bit older than many “nones” of today, those claiming to be religiously unaffiliated, but I can so relate to being sick and tired of the politics, fed up with the celebrity preaching, tired of the private jets and McMansions, fed up with the whole celebrity churchian culture and jockeying for status.
Reading Renn’s articles (and a few others responding to it) something that really jumped out at me, there is no mention of Jesus anywhere in our discussions of evangelism. No talk about love for our neighbor or personal growth. The motivation is just about more power, politics, and building a brand. It’s so, so corporate. Also, filled with lots of big words and frequent celebrity name dropping.
Renn also speaks of President Trump, of how that created farther divisions, how “a man of such low and boorish character horrified some people of a generally conservative disposition who might otherwise have remained part of the religious right.” Ha! True, but the Bible reminds us, “Thou art that man, David!” I am delighted to align myself with those of a “low and boorish character. ” I hope none of us decide to just live there, deplorable forever, but we all come to Christ with a “low and boorish character” and move towards becoming a new creature.
What bothers me is that some of us among a Christian conservative persuasion are so elitist, so self righteous, so clean and shiny on the outside that we don’t even realize we are also, “low and boorish.”
Renn says, “Some of this change represents overdue reform: For example, some evangelical institutions have indeed failed to prevent or properly respond to accusations of sexual abuse, such as those against Ravi Zacharias.“
Oh, you don’t say? Speaking of low and boorish characters! I suspect he has no idea how huge that is, how significant, how important. Like, Ravi was held up, admired, protected, sheltered, and defended for years simply because he was the CEO of a ministry brand. People were heavily invested in making sure he stayed shiny on the outside, by silencing anyone seeking justice, or simply seeking an acknowledgment that they might matter, too.
Ravi, like so, so many others, left a whole lot of collateral damage strewn about. The church at large, overall, doesn’t even recognize that collateral damage as a real thing.
See the, problem is and always has been that it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s who you know, how many people are invested in helping you maintain your power and status. How many bottom feeders do you support? People who have watched these scandals fall out of the church have received the message loud and clear, you don’t matter.
Protecting the brand is always going to be more important then protecting me.
Speaking of “you don’t matter” narratives, few people will hear me. In fact, I’m not even really invited to the table to discuss the future of evangelism. I’m off in the backwoods of my blog, eating bugs and honey with wild hair, speaking tough truths no one really wants to hear.
Renn speaks of the “rise of the nones,” one third or more of people with no professed religion who “may be unfamiliar with Christianity and find it quite odd or even offensive.”
Au contraire, one third of the people are very familiar with Western Christianity and simply do not like what we see. I’ve never met a “deconstructing” Christian or an unaffiliated “none,” who wasn’t dealing with massive amounts of unhealed trauma, mostly around covered up and unacknowledged sexual abuse and domestic violence.
Make them matter. Jesus did. Jesus does.