If you don’t think there’s anything toxic about American Christianity, then you can stop reading now. For the past decade or so, many evangelical Christians like me have been trying to find our way out of toxic culture war. We are troubled by the way that the theology so many Christians use uncritically today has been appropriated for centuries to justify colonial conquest, genocide, and slavery. We do not recognize the religion of “law and order” and “God and country” to be authentic Christianity. We do not believe that the church can move forward without purging our theology of its worldly values such as white supremacy, patriarchy, capitalism, and American exceptionalism. To this end, we are hosting a series of Facebook Live video conversations this Lent on Tuesday evenings at 9:30 pm EST / 6:30 pm PST. The topics are listed below.
1. Detoxify God: Tuesday, March 7th
To what degree has American Christianity’s depiction of God created a dangerously authoritarian subculture? How does believing in God’s meticulous sovereignty over the universe impact the American church’s apathy about climate change? Is our conception of God more monarchical than trinitarian? Does the American church functionally treat God as only a father even though it doctrinally confesses a triune God? How should Jesus’ cross impact our understanding of how God reigns over the universe? How should the Holy Spirit’s unpredictable disruptions in the book of Acts inform our understanding of what God is like?
2. Detoxify Salvation: Tuesday, March 14th
How has the American church’s otherworldly, commodified account of salvation contributed to the political nihilism of American Christians? To what degree is this salvation the product of capitalist presumptions about debt rather than the Bible itself? What can we learn from the more holistic understandings of salvation that come from marginalized Christian communities?
3. Detoxify Holiness: Tuesday, March 21th
How have white middle-upper class conceptions of “holiness” been deployed for racial self-justification against the immorality of “thugs” and “welfare mamas”? When self-justification is removed from holiness, what does it look like? What is the relationship between holiness and solidarity with marginalized people?
4. Detoxify Worship: Tuesday, March 28thHow does Christian worship become complicit with the agenda of empire? How can worship avoid being a self-justifying performance? What is the relationship between worship and resistance?
5. Detoxify Prayer: Tuesday, April 4th
What are we seeking to accomplish when we pray? If prayer is more about spiritual formation than influencing God, then what is the purpose of intercessory prayer? How does prayer function within resistance-oriented Christianity?
6. Detoxify Solidarity: Tuesday, April 11th
How can the church live in authentic solidarity with marginalized people rather than engaging in toxic charity and feel-good mission projects? What does mission look like if it’s shaped by the ethos of solidarity rather than colonialism?
7. Detoxify Leadership: Tuesday, April 18th
To what degree is church leadership simply a reflection of the assumptions of secular corporate culture? How can we escape a patriarchal, authoritarian understanding of leadership? What does leadership look like when it truly empowers and serves others as Jesus modeled?
8. Detoxify Reconciliation: Tuesday, April 25th
How has Christianity turned our goal of global reconciliation into assimilation and hegemony? What would be required to accomplish authentic reconciliation?