- Nov 2021
Evangelical Christians have been held together more by political orientation and sociology than they have by a common theology. This has set them up for a schism which has been exacerbated by Donald J. Trump, COVID-19, and social changes.
Similar to Kurt's quote, "We go to church to see and be seen", too many churches are focused on entertainment and being an ongoing institution that they aren't focusing on their core mission. This is causing problems in their overall identity.
Time at church and in religious study is limited, but cable news, social media, and other distractions are always on and end up winning out.
People are more likely to change their church because of politics than to change their politics because of church.
The dichotomy of maleness and femaleness compound the cultural issues of the evangelical church.
Southernization of the Church
Pastors leaving the profession due to issues with a hostile work environment. Some leaving because parishioners are organizing and demanding they be fired.
Peter Wehner looks at the rifts that are appearing in the Christian evangelical movement in America, some are issues that have been building for a while, while others are exaggerated by Donald J. Trump, the coronavirus, the culture wars, political news, political beliefs, and and hypocrisy.
He goes on to warn that “the broader evangelical population has increasingly heeded populist leaders who dismiss the results of modern learning from whatever source.”
he = Mark Noll
it isn’t simply the case that much of what is distinctive about American evangelicalism is not essential to Christianity; it is that now, in important respects, much of what is distinctive about American evangelicalism has become antithetical to authentic Christianity. What we’re dealing with—not in all cases, of course, but in far too many— is political identity and cultural anxieties, anti-intellectualism and ethnic nationalism, resentments and grievances, all dressed up as Christianity.
The historian Mark Noll’s 1994 book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, will be rereleased next year.
Earlier this year, the Christian polling firm Barna Group found that 29 percent of pastors said they had given “real, serious consideration to quitting being in full-time ministry within the last year.” David Kinnaman, president of Barna, described the past year as a “crucible” for pastors as churches fragmented.
What part does The Great Resignation have in part of this? Any? Is there overlap for any of the reasons that others are resigning?
What about the overlap of causes/reasons for teachers leaving the profession since the pandemic? What effect does the hostile work environment of politics play versus a loss of identity and work schedule during a time period in which closures would have affected schedules?
What commonalities and differences do all these cases have?
In his words, “The gentleness of Jesus was utterly discarded” by those who felt he wasn’t championing their cultural and political agendas aggressively enough.
Height of hypocrisy...
The conservative writer David French, who lives in Tennessee, has written about the South’s shame/honor culture and its focus on group reputation and identity. “What we’re watching right now in much of our nation’s Christian politics,” he wrote, “is an explosion not of godly Christian passion, but rather of ancient southern shame/honor rage.”
This sounds like some of the remnants of the Scots/Irish fighting spirit renewed.
What does the overlap of this look like in Appalachia within the American Nations thesis?
“Evangelical militancy is often depicted as a response to fear,” she told me. “But it’s important to recognize that in many cases evangelical leaders actively stoked fear in the hearts of their followers in order to consolidate their own power and advance their own interests.”
This sort of power dynamic in smaller individual churches sounds like the problems of power in the centralized Catholic church. In this case it's decentralized into thousands of smaller churches.
Kristin Kobes Du Mez, a history professor at Calvin University and the author of Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation, argues that Trump represents the fulfillment, rather than the betrayal, of many of white evangelicals’ most deeply held values. Her thesis is that American evangelicals have worked for decades to replace the Jesus of the Gospels with an idol of rugged masculinity and Christian nationalism.
I can see this certainly, and there's something about the origins of those in Appalachia (cross reference Colin Woodard's thesis in American Nations) which also seems to be at play.
- hostile work environment
- want to read
- shame/honor culture
- ethnic nationalism
- Kristin Kobes Du Mez
- The Great Resignation
- Catholic church
- human resources
- culture wars
- political catachesis
- southernization of the evangelical church
- John Wayne
- Jun 2021
“‘Evangelical’ used to denote people who claimed the high moral ground; now, in popular usage, the word is nearly synonymous with ‘hypocrite,’” Timothy Keller, one of the most influential evangelicals in the world, wrote in The New Yorker in 2017.
I've found myself looking at statements from Republicans over the past several years and tagging them as "hypocrisy".
I wonder what the actual overlap of the two groups is?
“In American pop-culture parlance, ‘evangelical’ now basically means whites who consider themselves religious and who vote Republican,” according to the Baylor University historian Thomas Kidd.
I feel like this is the general case...
- Mar 2021
- Sep 2020
The prosperity gospel is an umbrella term for a group of ideas — popular among charismatic preachers in the evangelical tradition — that equate Christian faith with material, and particularly financial, success. It has a long history in American culture, with figures like Osteen and Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, glamorous, flashily-dressed televangelists whose Disneyland-meets-Bethlehem Christian theme park, Heritage USA, was once the third-most-visited site in America.