Ross Douthat laments America’s departure from its Christian center and is convinced that we have become a “nation of heretics.” This plunge into heresy can be traced to the Jesus Seminar, Elaine Pagels and Dan Brown.
I would add some others to the list! His narrative of decline implicates the sexual revolution, globalization, (by which he means exposure to non-Christian religions), the Vietnam War, liberal seminaries, the ordination of women, the growing acceptance of divorce and the growing acceptance of homosexuality. Obviouosly, contemporary expressions of Christianity have given traditionalist Douthat a bit of heartburn!
Some key questions:
1. Is his suggestion that American Christians prefer therapy over theology correct?
2. Are theologians failing to engage the public, as he argues?
3. Is his assumption that America is a Christian nation appropriate?
4. What do you think of his assertion that vitality in Christianity has been primarily sustained by the unlikely partnership of Roman Catholics and evangelicals?
5. What does he make of the contemporary quest for spirituality?
6. How does he view the role of capitalism in shaping Christianity today?
7. What solution to this morass does he offer?
My joy is to see followers of Christ actively engaged in using their gifts, and blazing trails in effectively reaching the world with the transforming power of the gospel. As a servant leader of Christ’s church, I want to do for others what my leaders and mentors did for me: facilitate that transformational connection between life on the ground and scripture/theology.
I see the Christian faith as a journey, a way of life. Many people can affirm that “church” is the people, not the building, but were that to become a reality in how we actually function, the church would be transformed. I’m fond of using the designation “follower of Christ.” As I read the gospels, the essence of the call of Jesus is action: going, sending, doing.