In America’s Gilded Age, slaveholder religion went national, blessing an alliance between industrial capital and white nationalism. “One Nation Under God” promised to save America from the “immorality” of the New Deal, Communism and the Civil Rights movement. Writing in the 19th century, when slaveholder religion was still taking root in white Americans’ consciousness, Frederick Douglass said, “Between the Christianity of the slaveholder and the Christianity of Christ, I see the widest possible difference.” People of faith have a choice to make.
Christ has no body now but yours,
no hands, no feet on earth but yours.
Yours are the eyes with which He sees,
Yours are the feet with which He walks,
Yours are the hands with which
He blesses all the world:
Yours are the hands.
In June 2017, musicians, pastors, writers, and scholars from around the country gathered together in NYC to collaborate on a series of worship songs for a new worship record themed around faith and vocation. The lyrics are from a prayer by Teresa of Avila circa 1571. Music by David Ogden and published by The Royal School of Church Music (admin. by GIA Publications, Inc.). Used by permission. Filmed, recorded, and mixed by Mason Jar Music.0
America is undergoing a religious polarization. Today’s America is losing much of the general religious ethos that dominated the U.S. for hundreds of years. Historically, Christians have survived — and thrived — as a passionate and convictional minority. In the first century, Christians didn’t gain influence by protesting the Roman government’s “War on Christmas.” They faithfully followed Christ, at times in the face of persecution, while rescuing discarded infants, comforting the sick left to die alone and sharing the gospel to a not-always-receptive world. Our mission [is] not to moralize the unconverted, but to reach the broken and hurting.
The Christianity Bonhoeffer denounced is the Christianity we denounce today. The Boston Declaration, condemning the abuse of the Christian faith by many conservatives today, was just written, signed and released by over 300 hundred Christian theologians. Many dressed in sackcloth and ashes to call for repentance and change in Christianity in the United States, the presenters were clear that white American Evangelicalism is in a crisis, a crisis of its own making. It has abandoned the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “Love one another.” And we say, “Amen.”
[Generation Z] are the first post-Christian generation in American history. “Post-Christian” means “after” the dominance of Christian ideas and influence. The history of the Christian church can be divided into segments of 300-400 years, and that each of these “ages” began — and then ended — in crisis. Instead of testimonies about lives changed through Christ, [Generation Z] question why lives currently lived by Christians aren’t more changed, but are instead marked by judgmentalism, hypocrisy, and intolerance.
“The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so.” — Russell D. Moore
Russell D. Moore is an American evangelical theologian, ethicist, and preacher. He is currently president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the public-policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
The so-called Alt-Right white supremacist ideologies are anti-Christ and satanic to the core. We should say so. #SBC17
— Russell Moore (@drmoore) June 14, 2017
“Be it resolved, that the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention, meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, June 13–14, 2017, decry every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ; and be it further resolved, that we denounce and repudiate white supremacy and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil intended to bring suffering and division to our society; and be it further resolved, that we acknowledge that we still must make progress in rooting out any remaining forms of intentional or unintentional racism in our midst.” — Southern Baptist Convention
“The far right of the evangelical movement in the United States has a highly organized campaign to impose biblical law on every aspect of American society. As the church becomes more aggressive and militant in its political cause, this may precipitate a seizing of religious freedom. Jesus had very little to say about the political power of His day. “Legislating morality” was not a platform for Jesus or the apostles in their ministry in the good news of Christ.” — Paul Vieira
“When Christians lust for Armageddon and rejoice over the evidence that all those eternally reprobate Arabs should have never been introduced to democracy, we are no longer part of the body of Christ, but the flailing limbs of a demon-possessed man in a Gerasene graveyard.” — Morgan Guyton
Morgan Guyton is the director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA.0
“Franklin Graham appears intent on making Christianity more unappealing than a Pauly Shore comeback. I’m not saying Franklin Graham isn’t a Christian, but I don’t find his twisted version of Christianity when I read the Gospels. He gave an interview to The Atlantic in which he sang from his now tired set list of self-indulgent grievances, blissfully unburdened by any debt to the truth. It’s clear that about the only people not offended by Donald Trump are white evangelicals—enabled and incited by religious charlatans like Franklin Graham.” — Derek Penwell
Derek Penwell is an author, editor, speaker, and activist. He is the senior minister of Douglass Boulevard Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Louisville, Kentucky and a former lecturer at the University of Louisville in Religious Studies and Humanities. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/reseudaimon1
“I deny the resurrection of Christ every time I do not serve at the feet of the oppressed, each day that I turn my back on the poor; I deny the resurrection of Christ when I close my ears to the cries of the downtrodden and lend my support to an unjust and corrupt system.” — Peter Rollins
Peter Rollins is a Northern Irish writer, public speaker, philosopher and theologian who is a prominent figure in Radical Theology. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/PeterRollins0
“Think of people you consider fanatical. They’re overbearing, self-righteous, opinionated, insensitive and harsh. Why? It’s not because they are too Christian but because they are not Christian enough. They are fanatically zealous and courageous, but they are not fanatically humble, sensitive, loving, empathetic, forgiving or understanding – as Christ was. Because they think of Christianity as a self-improvement program they emulate the Jesus of the whips in the temple, but not the Jesus who said “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone” (John 8:7). What strikes us as overly fanatical is actually a failure to be fully committed to Christ and his gospel.” — Timothy Keller
Timothy Keller is an American pastor, theologian and Christian apologist. He is best known as the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, New York, and the author of The New York Times bestselling books The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism, The Prodigal God: Recovering the Heart of the Christian Faith, and Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/timkellernyc0
“I feel very sorry for him. I wish he would go to therapy and deal with his issues and insecurities to become a better man and thus a better President. There are clearly so many outdated defense mechanisms he developed as a child because he still behaves like one. I wish he could go in and really address those and become a man who values honesty and equality. It is possible but I fear it is too late for him. I am done projecting hate of any kind towards him or anyone else.” — Jim James
James Edward Olliges, Jr., professionally known as Jim James or Yim Yames, is an American vocalist, guitarist, producer, and primary songwriter of the rock band My Morning Jacket. Although chiefly known as the frontman of My Morning Jacket, Jim James played a wider role in indie rock during the early 21st century, appearing on albums by several artists while also pursuing a small solo career under the alias of Yim Yames.
He made his solo debut with 2009’s Tribute To, a short collection of George Harrison covers recorded shortly after the guitarist’s death in 2001. In 2008, during a My Morning Jacket tour, James fell off the stage and was seriously injured, forcing the band to cancel the rest of its dates. During his recuperation, he did a great deal of self-reflection. He read the 1929 graphic novel God’s Man by Lynd Ward, which had been given to him by the artist Gary Burden. James was deeply affected by the book. In 2010, he began writing and recording on his own in bits and spurts. He played all instruments, sang all vocals, and produced the album, Regions of Light and Sound of God in 2013. In 2016 he released his second solo album, Eternally Even, his most political statement since emerging from the Louisville, Kentucky, indie rock scene in the late 1990s.
James positions himself as a seeker. He’s practiced transcendental meditation since 2009, and he has long incorporated Christianity and Zen musings into his lyrics. But where his songs have often achieved an easy spiritual take-off, his latest dwells on eschatological matters. The end, James seems to sing over and over again, is nigh.
His song “The World’s Smiling Now” (video below) samples “It’ll All Be Over” released in 1980 by the Supreme Jubilees, a group of brothers and cousins (and an unrelated guitarist) from the Witness of Jesus Christ church in Fresno, California.
“The church was established to serve the world with Christ-like love, not to rule the world.” — Gregory A. Boyd
Gregory A. “Greg” Boyd is an American theologian, pastor, and author. See: The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church
Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/greg_boyd0