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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Continue to Confound the Wise

It will come as no surprise to most of you that I have strong roots in the Christian church in America. Born, raised, practically lived on the church pew. Presbyterian. Assembly of God. And everywhere in between. Giant missionary and traveling musician background around the globe. The stories are endless. But I am still amazed at how different the Christian church in America "looks." To me, to others....compared to the Christian church in other nations or parts of the world. It just looks different. Apparently the same Bible. Apparently the same scriptures. But drastically different visual effects. Viewpoints on nudity, alcohol, smoking and what is, and is not, permitted inside the church vary widely from nation to nation. Somehow, the good ol' USofA has cast its own eerie glow over many centuries-old traditions. We tote it as the gospel truth. Despite the fact that we are one of the younger social groups around the earth. We stand proud and declare that it's our way or the high way. But we're wrong. Well, many of those inside mainstream evangelical Christianity in America are wrong, perhaps I should say. It is not new news to anybody that hypocrisy rules most churches in America today. The examples are endless.

Recently novelist Anne Rice has declared that she is quitting Christianity because she's seen too much hypocrisy. She's not alone. She's not the first person to open her eyes and see it. But she is one of the more popular to call it what it is and want to get the hell out. It's like living a lie. Living inside of a body that isn't yours. I admire her open mindedness and ability to think for herself instead of have a church pulpit think for her. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life completed a 2008 study of faith and religion in America. Check out these quotes from evangelical pollster George Barna:

  • American Christianity (side note: Notice how he defines it as the American version!) is not well, and there's evidence to indicate that its condition is more critical than most realize -- or at least want to admit.
  • Little measurable difference between the moral behavior of churchgoers and the rest of American society.
  • Born again Christians are more likely to divorce than other Americans (an act strongly condemned by Jesus).
  • Born again Christians are more likely to be racist than other Americans. (Duh...)
  • While evangelical Christian overwhelmingly say they believe in abstaining from premarital sex, they are more likely to be sexually active than peers.
  • Every day the church is becoming more like the world it allegedly seeks to change.
  • An unsettling conclusion: Many people who call themselves Christians don't really believe, deep down, in the tenets of their faith. Their actions reveal their true beliefs.
  • Churches in America are said to be the most segregated places in America.
Any astounding conclusions here? Nope. I didn't think so. I love knowing that many of us know this crap already -- and we have for a very, very long time. I wonder when The Steeple will figure it out?

4 comments:

Ur-spo said...

By their fruits, they are known.

anne marie said...

the hypocrisy is the why I quit the catholic church in 1977; I have never looked back.

now I am an agnostic, non-praying, non-churchgoing, non-anything person and am content to be so.

and I won't try to shove it down your throat if we speak, unlike other "christian" people.

I like thinking for myself, TYVM!

Rick said...

I've never been big into the church but find it amazing the way people behave in such.

Lemuel said...

So much of what "the American Church" proclaims is culture, economics, and politics. It is not "in the book". their fail to see, let alone understand, the variations around the world.

Just the other day I was reflecting on how my upbringing in the church and in the home (influenced strongly by the church) filled me with self-loathing and fear of an angry God - and how long it took me to recognize and to overcome it. I am guessing that I shall never be fully free of it. That is how ingrained it is in my being. I speak here of general self-loathing. That which I would connect with my sexuality is an entirely additional layer altogether. What saddens me is to see that same message still being hammered into millions of Americans day after day by the spokesmen of this "American Church".