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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America’s cult of guns has a lot of money behind it

Guns are a religion now. And too many of our fellow citizens — including evangelical Christians, of all people — will continue to heedlessly worship at this altar, despite the dead children, the dead teachers, the dead concertgoers and the innocent bystanders who must sacrifice their lives for others’ overriding faith in their weapons. It is safe to say that nobody in the cult of guns listens to Jesus. None of this will stop unless the cult of guns is curbed. This won’t be easy; the cult has a lot of money behind it.

Source: America’s cult of guns (opinion) – CNN

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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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For a lot of people “evangelical” is just another cultural signifier, a tribal designation

It turns out that for a lot of people “evangelical” is itself just another cultural signifier, a tribal designation rather than a serious adherence to Christian teachings. They undoubtedly go to church from time to time and think of themselves as Christians [but] are being seduced by Trump’s crude nationalism and nativism, largely as result of religious leaders politicizing religion and turning it into a vehicle for their own secular power.

Source: Not keeping the faith: Donald Trump and the conning of evangelical voters – Salon.com

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Idiot Wind: Stephen Strang’s “God and Donald Trump” Aims to Justify Christian Support

Unlike the alt-right, which is pretty forthright about its ideals, most high-profile Trump supporters, Christian or otherwise, are not intellectually honest. If they were, we’d see a book explaining what’s really behind all this cynical piety: that they want a white man in the White House, that they want conservative Christian values to be codified into law, that they want to hang onto their cash, and that everybody else can go to hell. Perhaps literally. — Gordon Haber

Gordon Haber writes about religion, money and culture. Follow him on Twitter @gordonhaber.

Source: Idiot Wind: Stephen Strang’s “God and Donald Trump” Aims to Justify Christian Support | Religion Dispatches

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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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2018 will be a year where interfaith work will protect the most vulnerable

2018 will be a year where interfaith work will be about recalibrating our nation’s moral and ethical social agenda. 2018 will be the year that churches, mosques, temples, synagogues, Gurdwaras and sacred spaces will work together to protect the most vulnerable. I see more people of faith coming together motivated to heal the divides and ugliness not just in their societies, but in their neighborhoods.

Source: What’s next for religion in 2018? | National Catholic Reporter

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Wovenhand’s David Eugene Edwards speaks at length to pastor Jonathan Hanley

Everything is through his Son at the moment, so it’s just being shown who he is. You know, this is eternal life – to continue to know who he is. The whole meaning of his Word is mercy. That’s the point of the Word. There is no religion that is real. There is just God and he’s there. He is merciful. We are not merciful. I am in need of the eternal intercession of my Saviour.

Source: Wovenhand: David Eugene Edwards speaks at length to pastor Jonathan Hanley – Wovenhand

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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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The church condemns white supremacy but can’t ignore white privilege

“White Christians need to acknowledge and confess our privileged status and our conscious and unconscious complicity in the ongoing reality of white supremacy in the U.S.” – Joseph Reiff

Source: The church condemns white supremacy but can’t ignore white privilege

Joseph Reiff is religion professor at Emory & Henry College in Emory, Va. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/jtreiff

 

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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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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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Embracing criticism gives us lots of chances to love our enemy

““When you embrace criticism instead of avoiding it, you get lots of chances to love your enemy.” — Brian D. McLaren

See: How to be a purple church in a red state

Brian D. McLaren is a prominent Christian pastor, author, activist and speaker. His latest book is The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian.

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Many faith leaders join the March for Science

“We think both religion and science teach humility, and that we are part of something larger. We believe we have a moral obligation to take care of the Earth and to care for each other. And science can help service that.” — Rev. Brian Sauder

See: Faith groups backing march see an ally in science

Brian Sauder grew up in a deeply religious Anabaptist community in rural Illinois. Now a minister in Chicago, Sauder is just one of many faith leaders who are planning to join the March for Science, and see little conflict between faith and science. He is the executive director of a Chicago-based nonprofit called Faith in Place, which works with faith communities across Illinois to promote environmental justice and sustainability. Follow him on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/briansauder

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The Christian life is a relationship that begins to change everything now

“The Christian life is not about pleasing God the finger-shaker and judge. It is not about believing now or being good now for the sake of heaven later. It is about entering a relationship in the present that begins to change everything now. Spirituality is about this process: the opening of the heart to the God who is already here.” — Marcus J. Borg

Marcus J. Borg (1942 – 2015) was an American New Testament scholar, theologian and author. He was among the most widely known and influential voices in progressive Christianity. See: The God We Never Knew: Beyond Dogmatic Religion To A More Authenthic Contemporary Faith and marcusjborgfoundation.org.

 

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Religious left, moderates and secularists would create strong coalition

“If you can create a coalition that includes the religious left but also those moderates in the middle and also secularists, then you would have an incredibly strong coalition.” — Marie Griffith

Marie Griffith is the director of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

See: High Noon for the Religious Left

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‘Religious left’ emerging as U.S. political force in Trump era

“It’s one of the dirty little secrets of American politics that there has been a religious left all along and it just hasn’t done a good job of organizing. It has taken a crisis, or perceived crisis, like Trump’s election to cause folks on the religious left to really own their religion in the public square.” — J. Patrick Hornbeck II

J. Patrick Hornbeck II is chairman of the theology department at Fordham University, a Jesuit school in New York.

See: ‘Religious left’ emerging as U.S. political force in Trump era

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