Christian Outsiders: Why The Religious Right Is Losing Control Of The Future Of American Christianity

Christian Outsiders: Why The Religious Right Is Losing Control Of The Future Of American Christianity January 25, 2014

The great, vast landscape of American Christianity is in the process of changing– something that should bring us great encouragement. Christianity has always gone through such changes at the chagrin of those who dominate culture. The process goes something like this: reformers begin to challenge the status quo, challenge those in power, and eventually win some level of reform. After a time, the reformers themselves become the status quo until a new generation of reformers come along, and the process repeats itself.

It’s one of the beautiful things of Christianity– it’s always reforming, always contextualizing, and always adapting.

Right now, is no different.

For those of us who have become jaded or disillusioned with American Christianity (especially the conservative Evangelical version of it) but who desire to continue following Jesus, there is great hope. To quote Bob Dylan: “the times, they are a changing…”

The religious right, once the dominant force in American Christianity, is losing it’s grip on the future and a new era is coming. Mark my words.

The beautiful irony of the current reformation occurring and the power shift that is about to take place, is that these anti-reformers actually created and facilitated this event– to which I say, thank you.

Thank you for pushing us to the margins. You see, what’s facilitated this change is that so many of us grew discontent with antiquated expressions of our Christian faith that refused to contextualize and adapt to a rapidly changing culture as we shift from modernity to post modernity. Those who wished to maintain power and control had little tolerance for people like you and me– folks who were completely okay with rocking the boat. As a result, we were quickly ushered to the margins of Evangelical faith… set aside, cast away, and relegated to outsiders.

However, a funny thing happened as we were hanging out at the margins: we found each other, and realized we weren’t alone.

One of the most common emails I receive from readers is “I am so happy to discover I’m not alone in feeling this way”.

Well, you’re not. There are a ton of us. The current cultural shift, as I see it, it’s the classic case of the school room full of children realizing there’s 19 of them, and only one teacher.

Conservative Evangelicalism has marginalized so many Jesus followers who “didn’t fit”, that it actually created a massive group of Christian outsiders who eventually realized they weren’t alone in being an outsider. Much of this started several years ago with the birth of Emergent Christianity, which marked the beginnings of outsiders realizing they weren’t alone (if you’re a fan of the blog, you’re most likely part of Emergent without even realizing it). Since that time, the death of Emergent has been greatly exaggerated– we are alive, well, and finding more of each other every day. What was once a loose gathering of people at the margins, is now beginning to consolidate as we realize how many different categories of outsiders share common goals for the future of Christianity here in America.

Soon, we’ll be taking the keys. We want a Christian culture that looks more like the Jesus we see in the New Testament, and less like the conservative Evangelicalism we’ve experienced, and that’s the direction we’ll be taking things in.

The religious right is in the process of dying off. They’ve lost the battle of ideas and lost their relevance in culture. Old congregations are closing their doors as people fade away without having cultivated a younger generation to take over– instead sending their young people to the margins of faith, where we’ve all become friends.

Some of us call ourselves Emergent. Some of us call ourselves Neo-Anabaptists. Some call themselves “Progressive” and still others “Post-Evangelical”… Some call themselves all sorts of things. What’s important is the fact that we outsiders, have finally found each other– and we’re going to be working together from here on out, because we all have a lot of common goals for the future of American Christianity.

Yes, we’ll be taking the keys soon– whether you’re interested in handing them to us or not.

If you’re a Christian Outsider, I want to encourage you– so many of you find me here and experience your first stages of feeling less alone in where you’re at with your faith. We must remember, that we’re actually not alone– you’re discovery of this type of expression of Christian faith is happening in so many places, and there are so many other people just like you.

You’re not alone. We’re all here together. And, as long as we stick together, we’ll be getting those keys before you know it.

For the first time ever, I believe the numbers are going to shift our way. As they die off without replacements, you and I will find ourselves with the wonderful opportunity to steer the future of American Christianity in a direction far more beautiful than the direction the last generation took it in.

We need everyone involved, which is why I’m glad we found each other here at the margins. Together, I am convinced that in my lifetime we will be able to steer our culture in a beautiful new direction as we all find a “new kind of Christianity” compared to the twisted version we were given. Together, we’ll find an expression that looks more like the loving, nonviolent Jesus, than ever before.

If you’re a fellow Christian outsider, please don’t give up. Don’t lose hope.

Because, we’ll be taking the keys very soon.

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  • Johnathan

    Living within the Bubble (Christian culture, if you will) proved very beneficial for my ego and fears of being wrong and, therefore, lost for eternity. The quest for Truth, or more accurately put, being right padded my ego and gave me a sense of security. What I found as I was challenged through my inability to assimilate all of my life experience into that tidy little box of rightness was that all of my effort, both successes and failures, were swallowed up in grace. It’s all grace.

    I found at the fringes that I’d rather be guilty of showing too much grace than innocent of having a perfect systematic theological framework by which I could be a super-Christian.

  • Richard W. Fitch

    In my journey, I go one step farther from Traditionalism/Evangelicalism/Literalism by referring to myself as “Post-Theistic Follower of the Way”. Still working on the various details but moving along.

  • Donna

    I agree with you, in that I’m so glad to find out that I’m not alone, but your statement of, “We’ll be taking the keys very soon,” makes me uneasy. I think I’m at the place where I don’t want the keys because that sounds like more of the same thing that put me off in the first place. If an idea becomes popular within Christianity and starts gaining momentum, I find myself becoming suspicious of it. For myself, I’m struggling to focus on Jesus every day, and to encourage and learn from like-minded strugglers.

  • Agreed– I probably should have thought that statement through a bit more. My intent is to say, that we’ll be able to have a large impact on the future of American Christianity. For what it’s worth, I’ve previously argued against “power over” in favor of “power under” (blessed are the meek) so I didn’t quite mean it the way the statement came off.

  • Donna

    I like the idea of “power under”–that’s a good way to put it. I hope we CAN have a large impact on American Christianity, which, to me, has become an overblown, swaggering, fist-shaking monster.

  • Just Sayin’

    The one area that still seems strong though is YE Creationism.

  • Joy


  • Marty Miller

    What I think you are talking about is what I have called the church in exile. A ragtag band of misfits much like Jesus called to Himself when he lived on earth. The problem with the idea of “taking the keys,” is we all know what always happens with exiles when they come home.

  • Al Cruise

    I think your right, especially with 18 year olds and under, they have a total different mindset, and most will not even entertain the thought of conservative fundamentalism as a reasonable or respectful way of thinking and living.

  • dapowellii

    As a Recovering Charismatic, this blog is relevant to my interests.

  • JenellYB

    I relate to that feeling of concern, admit to a wariness, for that this religion, some forms of it, some communities within it, have misled us before, presented transformation in appearance, superficial, just a repackaging of the same dysfunctional stuff into a more attractive and marketable style. Just something to placate the restless natives. And, I’ll say, I am seeing some of what feels like that and make me uncomfortable. We must be honest in recognizing there is an awful lot of marketing driven interests active in this, and that may be the biggest challenge we face in real change.

  • dangjin1

    What you forget is that Jesus already said that many would leave the church in the last days. The Bible also says that God would send a powerful delusion to the world and people would believe that not the truth.

    If you think you are Christian yet do not believe and accept the Bible as written, then you should make the necessary changes in order to do as Peter said–make your own calling and election sure.

    Claiming to be a Christian and moving to alternative beliefs does not make you a Christian

  • Don’t get me started on the end times or “last days” nonsense– we’re not in the “end times” at least in the way I would guess you believe them to be. Also you don’t get to redefine what it means to be a Christian. Your definition is “to believe what is written without doing any historical or grammatical exegesis” and I think that’s BS. Plenty of Christians realize that Genesis contains poetry amidst historic narrative. Plenty of Christians are in favor of the secular government granting equal rights to everyone. That doesn’t mean they’re not Christians– you don’t get to define the word.

  • dangjin1

    God has already defined the word. Your version allows you to do as you please, believe as you please regardless of what the Bible says…oh wait…you want to re-write the Bible as well…hmmm

    The homosexual already had equal rights to marriage and children but they gave them up when they decided to pursue their perversion.

    ‘Plenty of Christians’ is not a term used to define what a Christian is.Those type of people usually are like you, refusing to believe God yet want to go to heaven regardless of how they lived and believed.

    Doesn’t work that way. If you doubt God how can you consider yourself Christian? If you preach something God does not say , how can you consider yourself Christian?

    You would be as God described–false teachers and not Christian.

  • He’s already defined it? Chapter and verse, please. Seems you’re defining Christian as someone who believes in Young Earth Creationism, which isn’t what the Bible teaches.

    And, if you’re such a literalist, I’m assuming you and I can find common ground on the issue of non-violence and that we both oppose war, owning guns, killing enemies, etc.? Or, do you just pick which issues you hang your hat on?

  • dangjin1

    My sheep hear my voice–the Bible is God’s voice

    If you love me keep my commandments– one of the commandments is ‘thou shalt not bear false witness–if you say origins happened any way other than Genesis 1 then you are bearing false witness against God.

    You cannot eliminate or omit NT teaching when talking about literalism. Jesus spoke of creation as did the author of Hebrews and Paul so taking Genesis 1 as written is both a OT & NT teaching.

    It is not cherry picking what one will believe, it is sticking to the Bible.

  • But you didn’t answer my questions:

    Do we agree on absolute nonviolence, and have you given up your guns?

    And, does Genesis teach that the earth is 7,000 years old?

    And finally, are you comfortable condemning to hell everyone throughout history, including Church fathers, who viewed Gen 1 as poetic?

  • dangjin1

    I am not doing the condemning–God will be. Bearing false witness about God is not a smart thing to do.

    The Bible doesn’t teach that Jesus was born in 4 BC yet most people do not have a problem with that date. Only those who want to follow secular science have a problem with a recent creation.

    We do not know when the universe and earth were created but there was no catastrophe, no process no evolution involved, nor millions and billions of years.

    We know this because death did not enter the world until Adam’s sin thus evolution is out.

    Since I do not know your stance on violence and gun ownership, i cannot say we agree. I am not a violent person but that doesn’t mean I can’t spank a child or defend myself.

    I do not own a gun but have no problem with others owning one or two.

  • (a) I think you could benefit from a seminary class on exegesis. In it, you’ll see that there are many biblical considerations found in a grammatical exegesis of Gen 1:1that leave room for an old earth. You are adding young earth into Christianity and arguing that it must be believed as a consideration of orthodoxy, but that is untrue.

    (b) I’m shocked that you’d stake your claim to the definition of orthodoxy meaning everyone has to accept your interpretation of ancient texts of narrative genre, while still being ok with beating children and shooting intruders, something that Jesus specifically teaches against in clear cut terms– forbidding all violence, unlike the young earth issue, which has to be read into the text.

    (c) If you’re an author of many books, why not troll here with your real name? I have the courage to write using my real name.

  • gimpi1

    Oh, I hope not. I really hope not.

  • gimpi1

    Ben’s beliefs aren’t actually “alternate” from most perspectives. Yours are.

    Young-earth creationism has almost as little standing among theologians as it does among biologists and geologists.

    End times “theology” was not regarded as anything to be taken seriously among all but a few far-out sects until quite recently. It’s current “respectability” has less to do with theology than it does with marketing.

    If you want to be an effective witness for your faith, I suggest learning it’s history, some outside-of-your-bubble facts, and taking a more reasonable tone. Right now, you’re one of the least-convincing examples of the good in Christianity that I’ve ever read.

  • dangjin1

    c. I am not trolling. Just because someone disagrees with you and agrees with God doesn’t mean they are trolling. you need to hear the truth as well as your listeners.

    b). where did Jesus outlaw spanking? gun ownership?

    a). you continue to assume that I do not know anything but there is no room for an old earth in Genesis 1. Genesis 1 is very clear that it was 6 24 hour days. you must have been listening to hugh ross, a man who doesn’t know what he is talking about.

    d). you still haven’t answered the question: Where do both God and Jesus give permission to follow secular science over their word?

  • dangjin1

    so if a theologian claims Jesus didn’t exist, you would take his or her word over the Bible’s?

    Your belief is not supposed to be dependent upon what theologians, geologists, biologists think. it is supposed to be YOUR OWN decision

    I am an effective witness because I speak what I believe and side with God. What you do with it is YOUR problem for it is YOUR decision

  • gimpi1

    So, to paraphrase, everyone has to believe YOU. YOU speak for God. OK, then…

  • dangjin1

    no you have to believe God and I am just merely telling you what God has already said.

    there is such a thing as God’s messengers who deliver God’s word to others.

  • gimpi1

    And how is anyone supposed to believe you’re one of those messengers when you come off so arrogant, rude and uninterested in anything outside your own head?

    You believe you are saying “what God has already said.” I get that. The thing is, others believe differently. They appear to have these things called “facts” on their side. That matters. It should.

  • – Jesus outlawed all violence and ordered nonviolent love of enemies. It’s Jesus 101 stuff. If you haven’t gotten that, not sure why I should trust your exegesis of Genesis 1.

    – Yes, there is room for Old Earth in Genesis 1. Plenty of orthodox, Christian scholars believe this. In fact, the Bible doesn’t teach literal 24 hour days– Hebrews says God is still in the 7th day.

    And no, haven’t been listening to Hugh Ross- don’t even know who he is. I became convinced of Old Earth actually while in seminary.

    The problem is, you’re taking a secondary issue and re-writing the creeds of the church to make it a standard of orthodoxy, and it is not.

    Finally, you’re citing the word/thing fallacy, trying to prove your point because of something that is absent in scripture which is not a theologically sound way to debate.

  • You’re telling her what God already said? So then, you’re better able to do exegesis than learned theologians?

  • Y. A. Warren

    “Much of this started several years ago with the birth of Emergent Christianity” If it hasn’t emerged yet from the mess created by the Roman Catholic Church and handed down to all its prodigal religions, it ain’t gonna. About 1500 years of “Christianity” has perverted the term too much to be salvaged. I don’t know who these religions have been following as their christ, but it certainly doesn’t seem to be Jesus.

    I consider myself a Post-Pentecostal, and I am alone in the family and friends from whom I came. I don’t have the energy or desire to start over building friends and I desperately miss my family (especially my children and their children), but I cannot accept their hypocrisy as my own religion. Thankfully, I’m married to a scientist who lives beliefs by deed, not by creed.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I have written extensively on my Post-Pentecostal heresies in my blog You may enjoy some of my entries.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Money changers have taken over the temples. You may enjoy some of my Post-Pentecostal heresies on my blog

  • Y. A. Warren

    The prodigal son was celebrated by his father.

  • Y. A. Warren

    You may enjoy my Post-Pentecostal blog:

  • Y. A. Warren

    We have to ask who the “Christians” are following as their christ.

  • Y. A. Warren

    Genesis 1 conflicts with Genesis 2

  • Y. A. Warren

    It is easy to be perfect if we do nothing. I now live by deed, not by creed. I make plenty of mistakes, but am always willing to make amends if told how to do so.This is the grace of being free from the religions calling themselves “Christian.” I don’t know who they follow, but it ain’t Jesus. You may enjoy my Post-Pentecost heretical blog:

  • dangjin1

    I see no conflicts, please point out the ones you think are there.

  • dangjin1

    are you of the camp that theologians do not do false teaching? are infallible? know God and what he is saying?

  • dangjin1

    yet i have not been arrogant, rude whatever else you decide to use to insult me.

    What facts? From those God said not to listen to?

  • LOL. YOU are the one claiming to speak from God and that there is no room for disagreement with you. That is what is so disgustingly hilarious about this whole exchange.

  • dangjin1

    Jesus 101–yet you cannot provide chapter and verse.

    ‘Christian scholars’– so ambiguous and pointless. Chapter and verse.

    Ross- he is an OEC speaker who travels a lot.

    creeds– no i am not. stop trying to put words n my mouth or say what i am doing.

    question– you still haven’t answered it so you must be afraid to learn none was ever given and you are in the wrong.

    commands to listen to God and Jesus are there so it is not an argument from omission.

    nice gymnastics to get around it though. just do not ask me another question

  • Don’t ask you another question? You’re in my house. I’ll ask all day long.

    As a fundamentalist, it’s interesting that you’d spend so much time trolling on a blog dedicated to combating the harm that fundamentalists bring to the cause of Christ.

  • And yes, I can provide chapter and verse on nonviolence– you’re on a blog where Christian Nonviolence is one of the MAIN topics. You simply haven’t read the previous posts. I’m not going to do the work for you– you’re clearly intent on following some fundamentalist preacher who has put these thoughts in your mind instead of actually exegeting scripture.

  • dangjin1

    You made the claim and the accusation so you need to provide the proof.

    Again, you keep telling me what I did or didn’t do. You need to stop that because you are just making a fool of yourself.

  • dangjin1

    Again with the false accusation. What is it like to claim to follow Christ yet do not obey his teachings on how to treat others?

  • dangjin1

    There is no room for disagreeing with God. I side with God and the Bible not secular science, you are on the losing side.

  • Lamont Cranston

    There’s also such a thing as a lying scumbag who preys on the weak by claiming to speak for God.

  • Lamont Cranston

    You are a liar and will burn in hell, but you probably find your home climate comfortable anyway so I wouldn’t worry about it.

  • Y. A. Warren

    The Controversy between Genesis 1 & 2

    Randy Lee and Richard Anthony

    Order of things “Made” in Genesis 1

    Order of things “Formed” in Genesis 2

    Vegetation (made first – 3rd day)Adam (formed first)Animals (made second – 5th and 6th day)Vegetation (formed second)Male (made third – 6th day)Animals (formed third)Female (made fourth – 6th day)Eve (formed fourth)

    In Genesis 1, it is stated that all the vegeation was “made” previous to animals being “made”, and that animals were “made” previous to man being “made” (male and female). But in Genesis 2, it has a different order; that man (Adam) was “formed” previous to vegetation being “formed, and that vegetation was “formed” previous to animals being “formed,” and that animals were “formed” previous to Eve being “formed.”

  • dangjin1

    you do not understand what was written and you miss key words like: Now the Lord God HAD formed out of the ground…

    notice the past tense use of the word ‘had’

    there is no conflicting accounts in Genesis 1 & 2.

  • Y. A. Warren


  • dangjin1

    another false accusation by one who does not want to listen to the truth.

    the question for you to answer is: who has the truth–those who do not believe and are being deceived and are deceived or the Lord God who is Holy and cannot lie?

  • dangjin1

    another false accusation as I am agreeing with God and the Bible you are not.

  • …..

  • Just curious– at what seminary did you study exegesis and biblical languages? Just want to make sure I should trust how you parse words and your translation decisions.

  • I bet you $20 this is Ginny under a new name.

  • dangjin1

    In other words, even though your conflict has been refuted and solved you will still dismiss the solution and go on believing what you want.

  • dangjin1

    Noe of your business where I attended. I quoted the NIV 1984 edition and if you don’t like it complain to the people who worked on it.

  • dangjin1

    that is not an answer but avoidance of the issue.. Why are you not able to answer?

    it is a simple question–who do you think has the truth? The Most Holy God who does not sin or sinful, fallible deceived man?

  • Y. A. Warren

    “even though your conflict has been refuted and solved” except it is not my conflict and it has been neither competently refuted nor “solved.”

  • Just FYI, it’s actually theologically dangerous to stake a claim on something like Gen 1 without doing a grammatical analysis in the original. Not everything can be conveyed into English well.

  • Aleks Clark

    It might be a bit more constructive to focus on how to keep this generation from falling into the stagnation of the previous generation, instead of chortling about the inevitable for 10 paragraphs. As you said in your opening lines, the cycle is there, it seems to always be happening. The cycle may be necessary given human nature, or it may be something that could be smoothed out for the betterment of all. You’re talking about the equivalent of rebooting a computer to clear up an intermittent issue, instead of exploring why the issue is happening in the first place.

  • dangjin1

    At some point you just have to trust God. Unless the HS leads you, I doubt your exegetical work is very accurate or biblical.

    I am betting it is influenced by your unbelief and your acceptance of false teaching. That does make a difference.

    If you think God is incapable of raising up people to translate his word into English until you came along then you are in for a confusing time.

  • dangjin1

    You can throw up as many roadblocks as you want. It all boils down to the fact that you do not want to listen to God or his word and prefer the company of the deceived who do not have the truth.

    I have had discussions with a militant atheist for about 7 years now and he does the exact same thing as you–keeps his mind closed to anything except what he wants to hear.

  • Y. A. Warren

    The “Christian” religions all grew out of the Roman Catholic Church which has been deceiving people for centuries.

  • dangjin1

    You have a problem with your church history. The Roman Catholic church wasn’t established until somewhere around the 4th to 6th centuries AD while the church of Christ flourished from the 1st century AD onward.

  • Y. A. Warren

    The RCC hijacked the followers of Jesus and sold out to Constantine. This political system became “Christianity,” or more properly labeled, the political system called “Christendom.” Jesus is not the christ of that political system/religion/church.

  • dangjin1

    No again, you are confused. They were first called Christian at Antioch in the 1st century.

    The RCC though preaching false doctrines, also called themselves Christians as so many alternative believing people do today

  • Lamont Cranston

    Interesting. I made a general statement and you heard your name. The truth always comes out.

  • Y. A. Warren

    It is not when the term “Christian” was first used that is important. The important point, in my opinion, that the term was hijacked and perverted by the political system which is “Christendom” but still using the term “Christianity.”

  • dangjin1

    false teachers hijack the word ‘christian’ in order to attract unwary people to their false teaching. It is a fact of life and believers need to be able to see through the charade by using biblical teaching to guide them

    Then believers need to understand that most people want to go to heaven but they do not want to do it God’s way so they will consider themselves Christians because they go to church, try to obey some of the commandments and soon but they do not repent of their sins and accept Jesus as their Savior.

    Homosexuals are great at doing this.

  • dangjin1

    so instead of clarifying you decide to do a personal attack instead. so much for you and your point of view.

  • You do realize that your behavior here on the blog isn’t exactly “making the Gospel attractive” as Paul teaches, right? I’m not seeing anyone cross over to following Jesus as a result of the way you speak to people. You’re not exactly helping the cause.

  • Y. A. Warren

    “Homosexuals are great at doing this.”
    …as are adulterers, pornographers and their customers, killers, those who underpay their help, tax cheats, corrupt corporate bosses, and so many others who forgive themselves and their friends and families their sins, while persecuting others for theirs.

    I don’t know one “Christian” or any other religious person who doesn’t pick and choose what to obey from the Bible or their church doctrine, and most don’t really know what either actually says.

  • irena mangone

    Just a second here gentlemen/ladies does it not say thAt to God a day is like a thousand years cannot quote actual scripture verse sorry.

  • irena mangone

    Resent that statement was it not king Henry VIII who broke away from the catholic chr h because he wanted a divorce so that he made theChurch of England a Protestant church which means protesting against Catholic teaching and after that many others came along and break away churches ie Methodist Calvinist etc

  • irena mangone

    Did not Jesus say to Peter. Thou art Peter and upon this Rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it

  • Y. A. Warren

    It was the Roman Catholic Church that sold out “Christianity” to Constantine.

  • dangjin1

    So? You would have to prove that Jesus was founding the RCC and that Peter was actually a pope. He wasn’t the leader of the Roman church.

  • dangjin1

    what does that have to do with anything? It i snot saying 1 day is a thousand years long, it means that time mean nothing to God.

  • dangjin1

    You hang out in bad circles or judge everyone without knowing the whole story behind their actions.

    why don’t you set the example then?

  • dangjin1

    You must be reading your own attitudes into my words as I haven’t spoken harshly, rudely or even badly…………….

    You are using Paul’s words as a justification to import false doctrine into your beliefs and export the truth.

    Amazing, who said I was here evangelizing? I may only be the planter of seeds. Results don’t come the way YOU want them to. It is up to God to do the next step.

  • Y. A. Warren

    The example of what?

  • dangjin1

    you’re kidding??? you need to be spoon fed the answer?

  • Y. A. Warren

    “Homosexuals are great at doing this.”

    “You hang out in bad circles or judge everyone without knowing the whole story behind their actions.”

    These were your apparently prejudiced, judgmental statements about homosexuals and about me and the people I “hang out” with.

    None of us know about any other person ” the whole story behind their actions.”

    it may surprise you to know that most of my closest friends are highly educated and deeply religious people of various religions.

  • dangjin1

    i don’t care. it is your wild leaps to conclusions and your assumptions that tell me that you have little regard for clear comprehension and little ability to clarify that bother me.

    Stop placing your ideas upon my words and intent. Learn how to clarify you if do not understand something. Relying upon ‘how a person perceives it’ is not sound advice to follow and allows for miscommunication to thrive along with unfairness and injustice.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I have no idea what point you are attempting to make.

    i am not attempting to antagonize you. Perhaps we should simply part ways.

  • dangjin1

    that is up to you. if you have anything reputable, constructive which contributes to a good discussion then I will read it.

  • Y.A., I’m glad you put quotes around Christianity just above… As you probably know, MANY versions of Christianity existed up to Constantine’s time (early 4th century), with significantly differing authoritative documents (in the NT era and just after) supporting their views. Only some of them were much later generally agreed upon and “canonized” as our current NT. There was already a whole lot of intrigue, power positioning, heresy banishments (sometimes soon 180 degrees reversed), etc., that “sold out” Christianity, tho Constantine’s part, and the next 60-80 years, were probably MOST pivotal.

  • Y. A. Warren

    I have no hope of reclaiming the terms ‘God,” “Christian,” or “catholic” from the mess made by the Roman Catholic Church. Followers of Jesus may have to come up with a different way to describe and define themselves.

  • I think I know what you mean. After pulling away from Evangelical Christianity (in which I’d been a minor leader/apologist), I wanted only “SBNR” label for several years. I’ve finally moved back to “Progressive Christian” (or the like, but not just Emergent). Along with this, seeing just how many similar “believers” there were who, at most, wanted to be called “followers of Jesus” in the moral/spiritual/behavioral sense, not in the sense of most church traditions or church dogma.

  • Well done article! Indeed there are a great many of “us” who have had similar Evangelical/Fundie backgrounds and found the “system(s)” inadequate or distorting of reality. I can speak about many in my fairly newly found church (very progressive United Church of Christ) who, like myself, come from such a background but don’t want to remain on the “margins” as to community involvement and educational, personal growth. When other good options don’t exist, we often join the “mainline”. In my case, one small contribution I can make there is biblical literacy.

  • Y. A. Warren

    It is so important that the hypocrites be called out and called anathema to what is actually the path of Jesus. This is the only way to break the hold that Rome has had, and continues to enjoy, in public perception that they hold the authority of the “Christian” faith. The protestants must understand that the parent of their religions was, and is, a perversion of the example of Jesus. A true fruit cannot come from a branch onto an untrue vine.

  • Collin

    “Loving, nonviolent Jesus”? Let me guess: the Jesus who drove people out of the temple (with a whip if we believe the author of the Gospel of John) was just added in later?

  • I agree with this point. Getting Protestants to even acknowledge the influence of the RCC and the earlier proto-orthodox church, post apostolic, on their system is often hard, unless they are at least somewhat historically informed. Many tend to think there is some kind or clear and direct line of theology that somehow went right around or through the RCC unbended… that that theology emerged quickly under clear guidance of the HS by the end of the first century, around when (or maybe 20-30 years after) all of the eventually canonized docs. of the NT were completed.

  • Y. A. Warren

    How can the way of Jesus be reclaimed when those that interpret the Bible continue to base their interpretations on what is accepted RCC dogma regarding “Sacred Scripture?”

  • Steven Waling

    Not the Roman Catholic church as Constantine didn’t much step foot in Rome. You’re thinking Orthodox.

  • Y. A. Warren

    “In 313, the struggles of the Early Church were lessened by the legalisation of Christianity by the Emperor Constantine I. In 380, under Emperor Theodosius I, Christianity became the state religion of the Roman Empire by the decree of the Emperor, which would persist until the fall of the Western Empire, and later, with the Eastern Roman Empire, until the Fall of Constantinople. During this time (the period of the Seven Ecumenical Councils) there were considered five primary sees according to Eusebius: Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria, known as the Pentarchy.”

    When Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (reigned 306–337) ruled Rome, Christianity became the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. Historians remain uncertain about Constantine’s reasons for favoring Christianity, and theologians and historians have argued about which form of Christianity he subscribed to. Although Constantine had been exposed to Christianity by his mother Helena, there is no consensus among scholars as to whether he adopted his mother’s Christianity in his youth, or gradually over the course of his life,[1] and he did not receive baptism until shortly before his death.[2][3]

    Constantine’s conversion was a turning point for Early Christianity, sometimes referred to as the Triumph of the Church, the Peace of the Church or the Constantinian shift. In 313, Constantine and Liciniusissued the Edict of Milan legalizing Christian worship. The emperor became a great patron of the Church and set a precedent for the position of the Christian emperor within the Church and the notion oforthodoxy, Christendom, ecumenical councils and the state church of the Roman Empire declared by edict in 380. He is revered as a saint and isapostolos in the Eastern Orthodox Church and Oriental Orthodox Church for his example as a “Christian monarch.”

  • kimmcc

    The first time I read your blog I cried because I was not alone! I struggled so long in the isolation. But I hope we move away from using qualifiers with Christianity. That, in my opinion, is part of the problem. There is no such thing as “American Christianity” or “Emergent Christianity.” We puff ourselves up when we think we have re-branded, reformulated or repackaged the Gospel. There is just Christianity and when it is qualified in any way it ceases to be the Gospel Message. Though culture plays a big role in how we express our faith it must not be attached to our faith. Ever.

  • I’m so happy to have you! What you’re referencing is exactly what I’m working on now– my next book is tentatively called “without a tribe” and is geared exactly towards what you’re talking about. Healing from being “without a tribe” yet moving forward to being a Christian that is “post-tribal”. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • paganheart

    “…an overblown, swaggering, fist-shaking monster.”

    Dredging up a thread here but that has to be the best description I have ever read of American Christianity, and American Fundamentalist Christianity most especially. All the more reason why I have no real argument with Jesus and his teachings per se, but I want absolutely nothing to do with the “monster” that is American Christianity.

  • Robespierre0753

    It’s official now: we are in the post-Christian age. Christianity will continue to lose for three reasons: 1) There is so much incredible scientific knowledge out there now 2) Christianity is not meaningful or relevant in young peoples’ lives anymore, they get nothing out of it 3) In their panic, the religious right devotes itself to screaming the gospel and trying to communicate through fear, anger and desperation. Such things are annoying and tacky and really turn people off, especially the young. The real question is this: does it really matter if Christianity sinks or swims?

  • allessior

    It’s not that the religious right is losing, it’s that groups that claim to br progressives, “progressive Christians”, are in fact worshipers of humanism, hedonism, and self interest.

    Jesus is thus weeping, but not because the so-called “religious right” is “irrelevant” in the modern era.  Rather, he is weeping because humanity must have its sins forgivin once more.  Jesus is weeping because humanity is lost.

    Jesus has greeted the souls of the 50million aborted babies.  He has observed the rapid rise of hate, of debauchery, of cheating wives and husbands, of the murders without remorse, of Christians being buried alive by ISIS, of Christians being crucified by Al-Qaeda, of heads of Christians and Jews being lopped off.  

    Jesus is watching all of this and yet he does not see a response from the so-called “moderate Christians”, the progressive Christians, who are too busy mocking the virtues of true Christianity, or what they call “the far right Christians”, to respond to the true evils manifesting before them.

    Yes, Jesus is weeping inconsolably because of the death of 50million, the death of all that is good and decent, the death of love.  The progressive movement, including those who call themselves “progressive Christians” are hedonists.  They seek self pleasure at the expense of all of humanity.  They mock Jesus and the side with evil.  They want so badly that Jesus did not exist.

    But alas, Jesus is the Lord thy Saviour.  He is one with God and the Holy Spirit.  In the end, the progressives can mock him, can spit upon him, and yes they can crucify him, but just as Jesus is God, the Alpha andthe Omega, the eternal one true God, the progressive groups who call themselves Christians will never in fact be Christians.  They have lost their way.

  • Sean

    why do you need to use the book for everything. Does nobody listen to God he still talks to us you know