Hypothesis: The Christian Church, in many shapes and forms, is generally offering a depleted cosmology, message, spirituality, and lifestyle.
Observations to support this:
- In its most denuded form, Christianity has been collapsed into a “good news” of our “sins being forgiven.”
- In the right-wing Christian version of the culture wars, abortion and marriage (traditional or inclusive) have become more viscerally important than any spiritual message.
- In the left-wing Christian version of the culture wars, identity politics have become the beating heart of the message, crowding out anything concerning what Jesus was trying to show us about spirituality.
- Both left and right versions of Christianity are peopled by folks obsessed with virtue signaling.
- So-called “orthodox” theologians of every stripe, in an ever-accelerating striving for purity/correctness, continue to “major in the minors” and exclude all who vary from these hair-splitting, precision-addicted models.
- In an ever-more-competitive church attendance market, dominated by flashy megachurches and niche-oriented small churches, entertainment and customer retention has replaced any earnest attempt to seek passionately after spiritual truth and cultivate it in the membership.
- Jesus of Nazareth has been stripped of his extraordinary spiritual insights and reduced to a somebody who “died on the cross for me.” I almost never encounter a Christian leader/teacher/minister who can tell me what Jesus’ primary teaching was (the Kingdom), what its Hebraic/Semitic roots signify (the Malkuth/מלכות), or what this has to do with the cosmology we should be teaching and our dynamic place within it. In short, virtually no one is teaching the core of what Jesus was teaching.
What we can do about it:
- Remember that there’s a lot more content in the Bible than “Jesus died for me.”
- Spirituality in service of left- or right-wing politics loses its soul. Let’s get more intentional about avoiding this.
- Sure we Christian leaders want to attract adherents. Teaching has a natural need of students. But we need to ask ourselves, on a scheduled and regular basis, “Has our competition for members outstripped our passion for seeking spiritual truth and teaching it to others?”
- Recognize the corrosive effect of making compromises with contemporary, mechanistic, materialist world-views. Our churches can quickly devolve into social clubs with some music and a couple of inspiring quotes, in full affirmation of whatever our culture tells us is “reality.”
- Be able to articulate a rejection of the secular world’s impoverished explanations for existence, human consciousness, joy, and beauty. For more substance on this topic, see my previous post: LINK
- Ask ourselves, “What is truly supernatural about what I am teaching, and how does this relate to the ordinary lives of people whom I lead?”
- Cultivate personal spiritual practices and help others to engage the transcendent realm.
I would be interested in your comments below….