Wednesday, June 1, 2005
American Church Issues
Well, here's the initial post concerning the issues I sent the email about. To get things started, here's some reading material that I would recommend to, I believe, better understand the dynamics of what it means to be a Christian in America. These books will largely come from a theologically "conservative" perspective, yet not necessarily in a way that fits with other senses of the modern term conservative. A large part of what has made it so difficult to deal with issues accurately has been the degradation of the language and its misuse. Terms need to be explained more than ever if we are to clearly understand what is being said. In any case, here's a foundational article by Christian Smith that I believe helps tremendously in extricating us from our cultural blinders. A very helpful book that I recently read by conservative Lutherans called "The Anonymous God" opens up much of what the problem is in identifying the god of America with the God of Scripture. And while this isn't necessarily directly (though indirectly it certainly is) related to the issue of the church in America, I believe the book by Meic Pearse called "Why The Rest Hates The West", written from an evangelical Christian perspective, yet from Wales, provides a much needed outside perspective to what is facing our country and culture now. Finally, here's a document that is quite remarkable, in that, apart from its tired use of the 95 theses model (understandable though, considering the appropriate comparison to Luther's environment), actually presents a cogent explanation of what American Christians need to be most aware of, and beware of, in our national religious expression. I hope to soon start putting up my own words on these and other issues. But until then, I thought these links would be a good start.