People of faith have a choice to make

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.

Source: Why Evangelicals Support Trump, Despite His Immorality | Time

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Falwell’s family legacy and public platform allow him to perpetuate the illusion that he speaks for all evangelicals

Falwell, like many members of the old-guard evangelical right, have made the idea that Christian ethics should permeate government a central element of their lobbying work. While Jesus may have encouraged his followers to pay their taxes, “turn the other cheek” was also a mandate. Falwell is revealing that there’s more nationalism than Christianity in his Christian nationalism. Falwell’s family legacy, as well as his public platform, allows him to perpetuate the illusion that he is speaking for all evangelicals. Jesus was ultimately crucified by Roman authorities as a threat to the state on the understanding that his message was radical, subversive, and, yes, dangerous to the imperial status quo.

Source: Evangelical Jerry Falwell Jr. defends Trump: Jesus “never told Caesar how to run Rome” – Vox

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The death of “cultural Christianity” is good

Churches are in serious decline. This fundamental shift away from churches is [caused by] the death of “cultural Christianity.” As the pressure to associate with a local church diminished in society, “cultural Christians” have integrated back into a church-less culture. Church attendance became the spiritual crutch for many cultural Christians; many churches lost their focus; [and] it has presented them with a clear choice: refocus or perish. The atmosphere of “cultural Christianity” actually discouraged honesty about your spiritual state and encouraged people to “blend in” to the cultural norms of religion.

Source: Is the church really dying? – Lifestyle – The Courier-Tribune – Asheboro, NC

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Billy Graham’s granddaughter, Jerushah Armfield, says Donald Trump needs to clean up his act

I just don’t want [President Trump] to be held up as the poster boy for Christian evangelicals because he doesn’t represent most of us. I understand a lot of evangelicals supporting him because of his policies. I’d love to see a Christian leader come out and say that they support Trump for his policies, but that his behavior disgusts them, and he needs to clean up his act. I would love to just hear one of them say that. If they support his policies, they also feel like they have to stay hush(ed) on his behavior and I just feel that it’s sending the wrong message to the world about what Christianity is and what Evangelicals are, or I guess, have become. — Jerushah Armfield

Jerushah Armfield is an evangelical writer, the granddaughter of the iconic evangelist Billy Graham, and Franklin Graham’s niece. Follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jerushahruth.

Source: Billy Graham’s granddaughter: Donald Trump needs to apologize – CNN

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Christian escapism is really bad theology

Christian escapism is really bad theology. If God so loves the world, then how does it makes sense that we’re trying to leave it? Rapture theology is dangerous theology because it essentially says that we aren’t stewards of creation – it’s all going to be destroyed anyway so why bother. Oh and war – no biggie, remember, all the unsaved will be killed by God and the earth will be ravaged, so why bother. Makes for great foreign policy, environmental stewardship, and more, doesn’t it? We are called to participate in the unfolding of the kingdom of God right now, here on earth. We’re called on to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to visit the sick and imprisoned, to go and make disciples. If God wanted to whisk us away, then why on earth would Jesus command us to do these things?

Source: OnFaith Commentary: Christian Escapism

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All people are capable of many good and beautiful things

The religious right understand themselves to be in an epic battle against what they call “humanism,” that liberals have too positive a view of human nature. I don’t think the Bible requires us to adopt a nihilistic, anti-humanist view of human nature. Sin is very real and very imprisoning to humanity. And yet, people are capable of many good and beautiful things, even people who have never “accepted Jesus as their personal Lord and savior.” — Morgan Guyton

Morgan Guyton is director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA. He is also a United Methodist pastor, blogger, and author of dozens of articles featured in Red Letter Christians, Huffington Post Religion, Think Christian, Ministry Matters, and others.

Source: If Donald Trump wins, I will blame toxic Christianity and here’s why

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We must learn to regard people more in the light of what they suffer

“We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.” — Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a German pastor, theologian, spy, and anti-Nazi dissident. His writings on Christianity’s role in the secular world have become widely influential. He was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia program and genocidal persecution of the Jews. He was arrested by the Gestapo and imprisoned for one and a half years. Later he was transferred to a Nazi concentration camp. After being accused of being associated with the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler, he was quickly tried and then executed by hanging.

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For early church fathers like St. Basil, “friendship with the world” meant attachment to wealth, power, and other worldly idols

James 4:4 says, “Friendship with the world is enmity with God.” For early church fathers like St. Basil, “friendship with the world” meant attachment to wealth, power, and other worldly idols that get in the way of our connection with God. But for many white evangelicals today, being addicted to wealth and power is not a problem as long as you don’t associate with liberals. Whenever anything good or beautiful or true happens, God is at work no matter whose human agency God is using to accomplish his work. — Morgan Guyton

Morgan Guyton is director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, which is the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA. He is also a United Methodist pastor, blogger, and author of dozens of articles featured in Red Letter Christians, Huffington Post Religion, Think Christian, Ministry Matters, and others.

Source: If Donald Trump wins, I will blame toxic Christianity and here’s why

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Christianity, what the hell is it about if it’s not this?

The Gubbio Project at St Boniface church in San Francisco opens its doors every weekday at 6am to allow homeless people to rest until 3pm.

Apart from St Boniface and its sister church, no other place of worship in San Francisco welcomes homeless people. In fact, many have begun, even at this season of goodwill, to lock their doors to all comers simply so as to exclude homeless people.

Source: A journey through a land of extreme poverty: welcome to America | Society | The Guardian

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Over 300 Christian Theologians Challenge The Corruption Of U.S. Christianity

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.”

Source: Repent And Believe In The Gospel! Over 300 Christian Theologians Challenge The Corruption Of U.S. Christianity | HuffPost

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Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: Ecumenism of hate

Both Evangelical and Catholic Integralists condemn traditional ecumenism and yet promote an ecumenism of conflict that unites them in the nostalgic dream of a theocratic type of state. The word “ecumenism” transforms into a paradox, into an “ecumenism of hate.” The Christian roots of a people are never to be understood in an ethnic way. Triumphalist, arrogant and vindictive ethnicism is actually the opposite of Christianity.

Source: Evangelical Fundamentalism and Catholic Integralism in the USA: A surprising ecumenism | La Civiltà Cattolica

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Bridging the Christian divide on social justice

“Overlooking systemic injustices prolongs the suffering of our brothers and sisters. Much of the rhetoric that has taken hold in evangelicalism has, purposefully or not, partitioned concepts of social justice from the whole of the gospel. Christians who care about social justice must at times draw ideological lines to preserve the integrity and authenticity of their faith. There are no painless or half-hearted shortcuts to reconciliation.”

Source: The Vacuum Christian Indifference Creates | Christianity Today

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If you didn’t like the Christian right, you’ll really hate the post-Christian right

“The religious leaders who most readily endorsed Trump were representatives of two of the Christian ‘heresies’ overtaking traditional Christianity in America: the Prosperity Gospel and the religion of American nationalism. All over Europe, and increasingly America, we see the post-Christian right turning into a nationalist, or even ethno-nationalist, movement. A secularized America is going to have a much more extreme right wing, but also a much more extreme left wing, and fewer ways for them to interact and talk.” — Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry

Source: If you didn’t like the Christian right, you’ll really hate the post-Christian right

Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry is a writer and fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He writes about religion, culture, politics, economics, business and technology. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/pegobry.

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Europe’s secularism long ago replaced Christianity

“The overwhelming reality of 21st-century Christianity is that it is non-white — and growing more so. By 2050 one of every three Christians will be African. Manifestly Europe has entered a post-Christian era. But its Christianity was not killed by outsiders coming in. This was death by suicide. If Europe’s Islamic population threatens anything, it is the cramped and arid secularism that long ago replaced Christianity as the continent’s reigning creed and is so plainly ill-equipped to meet today’s challenge.”

Source: Christianity is the new black as rightwing movements turn secular

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Greg Gianforte is what toxic Christianity looks like

“The ugliness of toxic Christianity is being laid bare for the whole world to see.” — Morgan Guyton

Greg Gianforte is a right-wing fundamentalist Christian who funded the creationist Dinosaur and Fossil Museum and is on the board of the Association of Classical and Christian Schools.

Morgan Guyton is the director of the NOLA Wesley Foundation, the United Methodist campus ministry at Tulane and Loyola University in New Orleans, LA.

See: Greg Gianforte is what toxic Christianity looks like

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Franklin Graham Continues To Be The Worst Thing To Happen To God In A While

“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

See: Franklin Graham Continues To Be The Worst Thing To Happen To God In A While

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/reseudaimon

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What ‘The Leftovers’ Can Teach Us About Hope and the Christian Faith

“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

See: What ‘The Leftovers’ Can Teach Us About Hope and the Christian Faith

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/timkellernyc

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Commitment to inclusion has muzzled liberal Protestants

“What has muzzled liberal Protestants is their own commitment to inclusion and opposition to discrimination. Their aim is to serve society as a whole, rather than their own narrow confessional self-interest. The problem is not that they lack conviction, but that their convictions make it intensely difficult for them to assert their faith.” — Alec Ryrie

See: The weakness of the religious left: How progressive evangelicals ceded moral authority to the right wing: Liberal Protestants could be a politically powerful force in America, if they allowed themselves to be

Alec Ryrie is the author of “Protestants: The Faith That Made the Modern World”. He is professor of the history of Christianity at Durham University in England and a licensed minister in his local church.

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It’s time for liberal and progressive Christians to become more vocal

“I implore liberal and progressive Christians to become more vocal. We need more progressive/liberal Christians to start fighting back against the conservative charlatans who, for far too long, have driven away millions of people from a faith by misrepresenting the true values for which it stands.” — Allen Clifton

See: It’s Time For Liberal Christians To Reclaim Christianity From Conservatives Who’ve Distorted the Faith

Allen Clifton is a co-founder of Forward Progressives. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/allen_clifton

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