Tag: american christianity

WTF Church

Another snarky take on American Christianity

When you stand back and look at American Christianity as it stands today, it’s not hard to see the cracks. There are fundamental flaws that plague American Christianity. We’ll journey through the week’s news to see how Christianity is missing the point. Not only are they missing the point, they may not even be on the same page with Jesus anymore. Christendom is broken in America. Can we fix it?

Of course, we can fix it. The bigger question is, do we want to fix it? Just because something is broken, it doesn’t mean that the owners are willing to do the work to fix it. That’s a problem. Who really owns Christianity anymore? Jesus? Oh, hell no. As the faith marches forward, it looks less and less like its founder and God. Again, I’ll say it. This is a big problem. WTF church?

This week, we look through the lens of faith and culture to point out some of the major cracks. We’ll go through the Bill Hybels scandal, Greg Laurie, and the SoCal Harvest Festival. We’ll even look into the pedo that founded the Christian “rock festival” Creationfest. A show about why Christian rock is not really rock will possibly happen in the future but not today. That’s not the point. We’ll talk through our issues with pastor worship and commercialization of the church in general. WTF church?

The church is fundamentally broken. The problem is fixable, but those in power are unwilling to right the ship. The ship looks nothing like Jesus and neither do the Christian leaders navigating it, so why is the Church in America messed up? Well, for starters, it looks more like a business model and less like a movement. The church has learned over decades to care more about itself than about those in our communities that are hurting and in need of help, compassion, and grace. Seriously, WTF church?!?

If Jesus left the church, would you leave as well?

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

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The Roots of Racism in American Christianity

A snarky take on God, gold, and glory – the roots of racism.

America has a history of using faith to justify a whole host of sins. Topping that list is racism. It’s our country’s original sin. With that being said, how can Conservatives idealize America as a country founded on Christian values? Jesus certainly wasn’t a racist, so why do so many of his followers still cling to hatred and bigotry? It just doesn’t make sense. A majority of American Christianity definitely has a problem with self-delusion and hypocrisy. So how did all of this come about?

This week, we sit down with Rhonda Ragsdale, a social justice educator. Rhonda has a Master’s in U.S. History, Southern History, and Sociology. She’ll walk us through the historical roots of racism and how, especially in the South, those roots are indelibly intertwined with religion.

Don’t believe me? Just look to the last election. 81% of white evangelicals voted for Trump. 80% of them voted for cosplay cowboy and part-time pedophile, Roy Moore. Then look at the Southern Baptist Convention. It’s the largest non-Catholic Christian denomination in the United States. The whole reason they use the moniker “Southern” in their name speaks to how they were founded by splitting from Northern Baptists over the issue of slavery. Christianity has a long history of being used to justify slavery and racism, but it shouldn’t be so.

In theory, shouldn’t the religious be less bigoted? That’s just not the case in reality. We see American Christianity continuing to be used to justify right-wing ideologies and push hate against groups it opposes. Faith was never meant to be weaponized. How did we get here? Hint: it’s all about God, gold, and glory.

Join us as we talk about racism now and racism then and just how we got to where we are at. One thing is clear, none of this has anything to do with Jesus.

Come along for the ride as we skewer through life, culture, and spirituality in the face of a changing world.

You can find Rhonda Ragsdale on Twitter: @ProfRagsdale

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I Love Atheists

We live in such a time where dialogue doesn’t seem to happen anymore. We yell past one another with each side digging in their heels safe behind fences and walls getting while drunk on their own smug posture and warped sense of righteousness. We live in a war of words where the idea of moderation or discourse is laughable and seemingly forgotten. So there it remains, each side camped and waiting for attack.

Look at issues like abortion, climate change, gay marriage or any other issue that’s been politicized and volleyed around between religious and political circles. So the issues (and potential solutions) remain frozen in place and will remain there as long as we continue this course.

So how do we brake such a deadlock? It’s not easy, but I believe that the road to change begins when we commence seeing the value in the other side (those that are not like us). When we can start to see that the “other” isn’t much different than we are, we realize that we’re all just human trying to make sense of the world around us. There may have been different circumstances and events that brought each of us to our respective points, but we all have a story. There are no real enemies aside from inflexibility and pride.

I want to start a dialogue here and will begin by picking a fight for the side that most Christians love to demonize… the atheists.

Full disclosure, I’ve been a pastor and worked in churches or Christian based non-profits for the last 13 years. I’ll also add that I have friends who are atheist (along with other belief streams). I value other perspectives and sides. Stepping into a dialogue and breaking bread with people who are not like myself has always been something I value immensely. I value our conversations , their questions and friendship because true friendship isn’t about only having friends who believe what you do. It’s funny how we’re willing to accept so many differences in people, but when it comes to hotbed topics like religion, we draw the line.

Here’s what I value most about atheists:

  1. They refuse to be saddled with the damaging effects of religion
  2. They desire community
  3. They celebrate authenticity
  4. They want freedom from oppression
  5. They value asking questions
  6. They seek knowledge
  7. They are tried of fear mongering
  8. They want to help the world to become better
  9. They live mindfully
  10. They respect humanity

If anyone would bother to read atheists writers, you’d find people tired of being told what is true and an intense desire to seek that truth on their own merit. Historic Christianity has been oppressive – mentally, spiritually and otherwise. It has done terrible things in the name of God while being veiled in human deceit and hunger for power. Less about God and more about man.

There’s no problem with criticism if it speaks to glaring holes in your own stance. Critiques should inspire and drive us to be better, not become stodgy and defensive.

You see, most of atheist critiques of Christianity have tremendous merit and value. The god they are tired of being told to fear, isn’t a god that I would want to follow either. So in many ways, I understand their pursuits. I, also, am tired of the way Christianity has become political, fear based and oppressive. I’m tired of this strong arm and abusive tactics. We’ve forgotten how to love and serve the world. The way it marches and in America, it seems little like the way Jesus intended. If American Christianity is about following American Jesus, then I’d rather be an atheist as well.

Thankfully, Jesus isn’t about all of that. I choose to follow Christ because of how it changes me and helps me to engage the world around me. My pride and the way I love others is constantly challenged. In my own spiritual journey, I don’t have it figured out. I’m still learning and growing. I appreciate the push back, because it helps me to have a faith that evolves. I appreciate the views, drive and aim of atheists and continue to look forward to future conversations because it helps me continue to follow Jesus.

What are your thoughts?

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This post is part of the March Synchroblog, in which each participant writes what they appreciate about another religion or belief system.