For years, I’ve felt uncomfortable with our supposed fashionings of this nation out of mixed versions of Christianity. Those nations of rather dominant Anglican, Roman Catholic or Eastern Orthodox versions make me feel awkward but not like my own country. Voicing such discomfort makes, at least, a few aghast. Having been raised a Baptist, trained as a pastor in the Christian Church/Churches of Christ, who later moved in with the Episcopalians and now is a reader in the Eastern Orthodox you’d think that I’d never think this, but I did even then.
From early on, I have stood with the prophet Samuel on this issue. His resisting the people’s call for a king resonates well with my discomfort over a Christian nation. Those uncomfortable with my point might comeback with, “If ‘we’ don’t strive to Christianize the United States we will fall. If we fall then we will not be able to effectively evangelize the world!” My response will be, “Why do you link our political and economic dominance with effective evangelization?”
Is that framing only because winning people to Jesus is wanted? Comfortably, I say, No! Our history is replete with grievous effects of the formal Church calling the shots. We need to let go of this. In response, I’m certain that one of the first comebacks will be, “Then you don’t want to help people find Jesus! You just want to go into hiding.” My answer is, “No, I want us to stop making converts over in our own image. I want us to stop cushioning ourselves with vast numbers of converts from the consequences of our feeble fashions of following the Risen Christ.”
I fear that the vast majority of Christians, on all sides, are like those who left Jesus when he wouldn’t feed them, heal them, or cast the Roman’s from them (Jn 6). How far down will the population of the Church fall as this country loses favor? Or suppose that the tithe ceases being a desired tax cushion.
As the Church, within this country, has receded from housing close to the majority or at least the most vocal of voters its’ power has fallen back. Rather than watching adults, who were acculturated in Christian fashions, leave we are seeing our children do that. I feel that they are living out why the masses abandoned Jesus’ following his refusal to fill empty stomachs. I then hold us, their parents, responsible because we have lived out, before them, why they shouldn’t be following Him.