Post-Christian

This is the label now used to describe our times. Where once our culture was framed by a general allegiance to Christian values and ethics-  it no longer is. This is probably not a shocker to most of us.  The evidence of this surrounds. Headlines blurt it out daily.

Now I could launch into a discussion explaining how this might not necessarily be as great a negative as it appears. I could explore the strong and growing similarities between our century and the first one and then point out how the church flourished in that pre-Christian era. That is indeed an interesting discussion.

But for now- here are some brief and general thoughts on how we got to be “post-Christian.”

  • We have surrendered our identities as Christians. No, we still wear the tag Christian, but in reality there is not much that separates us church-goers from those who don’t. Brad J. Waggoner in his book, The Shape of Faith to Come: Spiritual Formation and the Future of Discipleship speaks of “cultural seepage” within the church- basically dumbing down our  commitment to living and sharing kingdom principles. The lines have simply blurred. We look and act too much like surrounding culture to be taken seriously as a penetrating voice for Christ in the cultural dialogue.
  • Related to that is the moral ambiguity among us. We all know about scandals in high places among churches and church leaders. This has not helped, but what further hurts our attempts to share the joy of Christ is the failure of many Christians to faithfully live out godly virtues. We are simply failing to put these (see 2 Peter 1:5-9) on and wear them with any consistency. Instead (and again) we do not look much different than unbelievers. This actually disqualifies us from being a credible witness to Christ (1 Corinthians 9:27).  And then, when we do speak we open ourselves up to criticism of being judgmental and hypocritical.
  • Our message has become too politicized.  God’s kingdom transcends any nation or country. Our call regardless of our nationality is to be salt and light to that nation. God’s kingdom can transform an earthly one, but not by becoming equal partners with it (2 Corinthians 6:14). When “God issues” become pawns in political debate designed only to pander for votes- it then hinders our ability to make a difference in that culture by sharing the overall life-giving message of Christ.
  • There is simply too much general apathy in our churches. Where now is our passion for evangelism? Where is our zeal to truly live a life worthy of our calling? Where is our commitment to Bible study and worship?
I am speaking in generalities here. Praise God there are exceptions. There are also solutions. God provides them (start by reading the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5-7. This is indeed a heavenly resource for penetrating any culture with the message of Christ). Ultimately it comes back to me. Am I being salt and light? Does my life- while imperfect- genuinely reflect godly values in a consistent way? Am I fueling my soul through God’s Spirit and with the Word of God? Am I passionately in love with Christ? Do I verbally share the joys of my faith?

I am not afraid of living in a post-Christian culture. God still reigns. He just wants us to demonstrate that reign in our lives.

Feel free to agree or disagree and add your thoughts to the discussion.

Advertisements

6 Responses to Post-Christian

  1. alsturgeon says:

    Good stuff, Danny! I like (and generally agree with) all of your thoughts. I do miss getting to talk about good stuff like this with you.

    As always, I have to come at things a little bit sideways. 🙂 Here is my only area of disagreement, if you will: Post-Christian America implies that there was once a Christian America. I don’t buy that concept at all. I agree that times have changed, but I don’t agree that the previous era was good and now this era is bad. The two are different, but I believe the “wide and narrow roads” metaphor applies equally to both.

    In sum, I support all of your bullet points. What I don’t think is that the concepts are new. Instead, I believe today’s culture just exudes different iterations of them (e.g., today’s apathy is different from yesterday’s apathy).

    Hate to comment and run, but I have a midterm to administer tonight and then a conference in San Diego to attend tomorrow. If you or others reply and I don’t, it is simply that I haven’t seen the replies (and I’m too much a technological rebel to get internet on my phone!).

    Hope all is well in Arkansas. Go Hogs!!!

  2. dannydodd says:

    NIce to hear from you Big Al! I, too, have missed your perspective in discussions here and other places.

    I do not necessarily disagree with your thoughts. It is all in how “Christian America” is defined. But as you said- things have changed. To me it is fairly clear that fewer of us in America are committed to a life led by God’s Spirit and we are seeing the cultural consequences,

    And yea, there really is nothing new under the sun.

    Have fun at your conference and be good out in Cali-land!

  3. Mike says:

    Danny,
    I am a little unclear about some things. We are “in the world but not of the world”. We must be salt and light. We should strive for people to “see our good works and Glorify God”. If you are meaning we should leave the political outside the church I must strongly disagree with you. The darkness ONLY wins when the light does not expose it. The difference between the time of our founders and the time now is not that all people in America were christians, it was that our leaders either were christians OR reverenced the Christian faith. The corruption in Washington DC and in our states cannot be ignored and there is only ONE thing that can successfully expose and defeat it and that is the light of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
    If we take our light out from under our bushel basket and hold it up in every area of our lives for the world to see we can expose sin and corruption for what it is.
    I would encourage you to listen to a program (and the podcasts of it) from a program I support. http://www.OneNationUnderGodRadio.com. It is broadcasted on 99.7FM out of Nashville Tennessee on Sunday mornings, 2 hours beginning at 7AM Central time. Two christian men put their own resources on the line to start this broadcast. Their tag line is “your world from a Biblical perspective”. They take on Satan where ever he is. I find it a real source of inspiration and encouragement to BE salt and light where ever the Lord leads me.

  4. Mike says:

    Thank you, and please pray that if it is the Lord’s will that He will open the doors to make it a reality.

  5. ddmeadows says:

    Danny,

    I agree with you completely. For some time, I have considered that our country is not going in the right direction to continue to be called a “Christian nation.” I feel we should be doing more to bring our Lord and Savior back into the mainstream of our lives. It is disconcerting to know that so many don’t see the relevance of God anymore, and they think that those of us who do are mentally impaired bumpkins! I want to do more to make people aware that God is timely and absolutely in charge, but I wonder how I can, as just one person, be effective. I am afraid that our country may just hit bottom before the majority feel a need to call on God for help and guidance. I pray that won’t happen, but it seems we’re headed that way. Of course, those of us who are Christians will always know that we can make it living in this world because we have God at the center of our lives leading us to His Glory when all is said and done. Just how do we go about getting others to understand that in today’s society? I guess we continue one person at a time reaching out to one more person to let them see Christ living in us. However, I wish we had a larger arena to be heard without seeming like some of those who “evangelize” by using the media to promote their own interests. Let us continue to pray and to live as God wants us to and serve Him the best we can.

    Love ya,
    Sis

  6. John Dobbs says:

    Great thoughts, as expected from you. I wonder if Al is posturing my theory that there is no such thing as postmodernity; it is a creation of booksellers! I have to agree that though it looks different in each generation, things may not have changed all that much.

    We need some Josiahs to rise up and for the people that fill our churches to break down the walls of ego and self-importance … get on our face before God and repent.

    One reason for all the apathy is that we simply have too many gods to serve and we’re worn out trying to do it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: