Generation Z could turn the tide on America’s gun culture

Stoneman Douglas students are organizing The March For Our Lives, scheduled to take place on March 24 in Washington, DC. It isn’t grownups speaking to other grownups. It’s teenagers, speaking without filters, to lawmakers who someday will need their votes, not to mention their expertise in every field. Student activism has been a force to be reckoned with through the past 60 some years of American history. These high school students are among a new generation, born from 1996 onward, that is alternatively called Generation Z.

Source: History shows Generation Z could turn the tide on America’s gun culture – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

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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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Conservative Gen-Xers simply don’t trust the right-wing religious establishment any more

We’re tired of the way so many Boomers seemed to bully through culture with very little regard for what was before or after them. For people of my generation and younger, we simply don’t trust the right-wing religious establishment any more. We saw one disaster after another emerge from the conservative religious right. Over time, moral duplicity began to define right-wing fervor for many of us. When we see someone crusading hard for legislated morality, red flags go up instinctively. It’s not that Gen-Xers are ungracious with sin. We know that everyone needs grace, and we are willing to extend that to the broken. But Boomer Conservatives tend to appeal to moral superiority when they ask for our political allegiance. This appeal means little to Gen-Xers. Some of the most disturbing, perverse, abusive stories we have heard have come from the religious right. When Jerry Fallwell Jr. tries to convince us that Trump is a good man, that spooks us. If a right-wing politician commits a foul deed, it seems like conservative leaders tend [to] minimize that fault while nailing a left-winger for the same exact wrong done. When we say that we are tired of the religious right, we are talking about a political movement that has adopted religious robes to promote its own causes. X-ers shoot straight, see. That’s how we roll.

Source: 7 Requests from a Right-Wing Gen-Xer: Why Boomers are Having Trouble Convincing X-ers to Vote for Trump — Rebecca K. Reynolds

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Trump’s Evangelical support comes from “nominal Christians” woefully ignorant of their own faith

Trump’s evangelical support is strongest from those evangelicals who have dust on their Bibles and who have seen more NFL games on Sunday than sermons. The more a person goes to church and reads their Bible, the less likely they are to support Trump. To say that Trump is God’s chosen one, uncovers less about what Christians believe and more about how little they have engaged the Gospel. Trump unveils how far the culture of America has been dechristified and how those that claim to be evangelicals without actually engaging their faith are woefully ignorant of their own faith.

Source: Trump’s Evangelical support comes from “nominal Christians” – SpokaneFāVS

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I am Mennonite, and we are Racist

“Segregation is one face of racism. The Mennonite tradition perpetuates through family. It shows charity to the outsider, but does not necessarily allow the outsider to be included unless they assimilate into everything – the faith, the culture, the family traditions. Despite being a people who endlessly preach peace and justice, who claim to be fighting against the evils of prejudice, most of us aren’t even aware how complicit we are with our own racism. I need transformation. We all do.”

Source: I am Mennonite, and we are Racist | Pastors in Exile

Pastors in Exile (PiE) is an Anabaptist-rooted movement of community pastors outside of church walls. We believe that church is evolving into something beyond just a specific community in a specific place at a specific time. Everyone who seeks to join God’s loving and transforming work in the world is invited to be a pastor in exile with us.

Follow them on Twitter at: @pastorsinexile.

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The megachurch bubble is about to burst: What will that mean for American culture?

Dominionists aren’t looking to escape the world via rapture; they want to transform the world in all its aspects: religion, family, education, government, media, arts and entertainment and business. Dominionism is evangelical triumphalism run wild. It blossomed in the days of white evangelical expansion and will die the moment the evangelical tide begins to turn.

Source: The megachurch bubble is about to burst: What will that mean for American culture? – Baptist News Global

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Is The White Church the AntiChrist?

Without a clear commitment to telling the truth about the impact and manifestation of white power and white privilege within the church, and within the culture because of what the white church fulminated with both sins of commission and sins of omission, if there is any contemporary meaning of the Antichrist, the white church seems to be a manifestation of it.

Source: Is The White Church the AntiChrist? | HuffPost

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Most churches are divorced from the culture, unable to build strategic bridges to reach Generation Z

[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.

Source: Forget millennials. How will churches reach Generation Z? | Religion News Service

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Dear World, Franklin Graham Doesn’t Speak For Us, Or Jesus

“Dear world, Franklin Graham is not our leader, not our pastor, not our spokesperson, nor our example—and with all due respect, in my personal opinion, he’s nothing like Jesus. The screeching sound of his bigotry, pride, self-righteousness, mean-spirited condemnation, and imperialistic faith overtakes and overshadows all.” — Chris Kratzer

See: Dear World, Franklin Graham Doesn’t Speak For Us, Or Jesus

Chris Kratzer is a husband, father, pastor, author, and speaker. His focus is communicating the message of Grace and the beauty of Jesus particularly as it relates to life, culture, and church.

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Secularism is making America’s partisan clashes more brutal, emphasizing race and nation

“Secularism is making America’s partisan clashes more brutal. As Americans have left organized religion, they haven’t stopped viewing politics as a struggle between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ Many have come to define us and them in even more primal and irreconcilable ways. The worse Americans fare in their own lives, the darker their view of the country. But non-churchgoing conservatives didn’t flock to Trump only because he articulated their despair. He also articulated their resentments. For decades, liberals have called the Christian right intolerant. When cultural conservatives disengage from organized religion, they tend to redraw the boundaries of identity, de-emphasizing morality and religion and emphasizing race and nation. Trump is both a beneficiary and a driver of that shift. Secularization is transforming the left, too. Secularization isn’t easing political conflict. It’s making American politics even more convulsive and zero-sum. For years, political commentators dreamed that the culture war over religious morality that began in the 1960s and ’70s would fade. It has. And the more secular, more ferociously national and racial culture war that has followed is worse.”

Source: America’s Empty-Church Problem – The Atlantic

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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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The loudest voices are defining who Christians are

“In an increasingly post-Christian culture fewer people have contact with real Christians. We’ve hidden ourselves in a Christian sub-culture bubble. As a result only ‘the loudest voices are defining who we are’. Only when we have real contact with people in the culture where love and friendship can be established will we change their perceptions of the church.” — Dan Kimball

See: Live from Shift: Bursting the Christian Bubble: Dan Kimball calls us back into the world.

Dan Kimball is an author and was a leading voice in the beginning years of the Emerging Church movement in the USA. Much of Kimball’s writings question the existing forms of church and their effectiveness in an increasingly post-Christian culture.

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Christians must create and nurture culture, not just complain about it

“Even more important for Christians than being on the front lines of the culture war is participating in the culture—and better yet, helping to create and nurture it. If the main contribution that Christians make to culture is complaining about it, we’re doing something wrong. Christians and the arts community start by learning to look at each other as potential allies, even friends, instead of as sworn enemies.” — Eric Metaxas

See: Eric Metaxas: Christians Must Contribute to Culture, Not Just Complain About It

Eric Metaxas is an American author, speaker, and radio host. He is known for two biographies, Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery about William Wilberforce and Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy about Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ericmetaxas

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Following Jesus is not “family safe”

“We’re never going to be “family safe” – especially if you’re committed to sharing God’s message of hope with the world. Just ask the house church pastors in China, or Christian leaders in Darfur. Following Jesus is costly and involves a risk.” — Phil Cooke

See: The Sin of Living in the Bubble

Phil Cooke is a writer, television producer, and media consultant based in Burbank, California, as well as a critic of some aspects of contemporary American and American-influenced Christian culture. He is an evangelical Christian and, as Scott McClellan of Collide Magazine wrote, “At times, Cooke may appear to be Christian media’s biggest critic but, as he is quick to point out, he criticizes because he loves.” Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/PhilCooke

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Resistance to Trumpism requires mobilization of both conservative and progressive forces

“Resistance to Trump and Trumpism will succeed only if it mobilises both conservative and progressive forces opposed to authoritarianism, and it needs to stand for a better way to live in truth, with dignity.” — Charles Leadbeater

Charles Leadbeater is a leading authority on innovation and creativity, a British author and former advisor to Tony Blair.

See: The prophets of Trumpism: How the ideas of two pre-war intellectual refugees – the radical Herbert Marcuse and the reactionary Eric Voegelin – are influencing the new culture wars among Trump and his acolytes.

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The Lord’s Prayer is radical and revolutionary

“The Lord’s Prayer is radical and revolutionary. When we pray that God’s kingdom will be made real here on earth, we’re praying for a kingdom where the poor, the refugee, the sick, and the broken have the best seat at the banquet. Building that kingdom requires prayer, activism, solidarity, and moral resistance that are politically engaged but which ultimately transcend the politics of the day.” — John Gehring

John Gehring is the Catholic Program Director of Faith in Public Life, author or The Francis Effect and contributing editor of Commonweal Magazine, an independent journal of religion, politics and culture edited by lay Catholics. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/gehringdc

See: Prophetic Prayer & Moral Resistance: The Role of the Faithful in the Trump Era

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Rev. Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. making an idol of access to power

“Religious apologists for Trump such as Rev. Franklin Graham and Jerry Falwell Jr. continue to disgrace themselves by making an idol of access to power.” — John Gehring

John Gehring is the Catholic Program Director of Faith in Public Life, author or The Francis Effect and contributing editor of Commonweal Magazine, an independent journal of religion, politics and culture edited by lay Catholics. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/gehringdc

See: Prophetic Prayer & Moral Resistance: The Role of the Faithful in the Trump Era

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Our time summons us out of Christian quietism to public advocacy

“Our time summons us out of Christian quietism to public advocacy for justice, a hopeful form of resistance to the dominant culture.” — Molly T. Marshall

Molly T. Marshall is president and professor of theology and spiritual formation at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.

See: Living out the ‘fierce urgency’ of the prophets in U.S. culture

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Prophets shine the light of justice into the dark corners

“Prophets scrutinize those policies and practices that most of us blithely ignore, and they shine the light of justice into the dark corners.” — Molly T. Marshall

Molly T. Marshall is president and professor of theology and spiritual formation at Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Shawnee, Kansas.

See: Living out the ‘fierce urgency’ of the prophets in U.S. culture

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The Christian intellectual tradition is alive and well

“Whether inside or outside of church communities, the continued strength of religious publishing and the internet’s radical democratization of information offer broad access to a range of Christian thinkers who are intellectuals, if not scholars.” — Jacob Lupfer

Jacob Lupfer is a frequent commentator on religion in American politics and culture. Lupfer has worked in parish ministry and has taught at the middle school, high school, community college, and university levels. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jlupf

See: The Christian intellectual tradition is alive and well

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