Skip to comments.When Are We Going to Grow Up? The Juvenilization of American Christianity
Posted on 06/10/2012 12:45:09 PM PDT by SoFloFreeper
We're all adolescents now
The house lights go down. Spinning, multicolored lights sweep the auditorium. A rock band launches into a rousing opening song. "Ignore everyone else, this time is just about you and Jesus," proclaims the lead singer. The music changes to a slow dance tune, and the people sing about falling in love with Jesus. A guitarist sporting skinny jeans and a soul patch closes the worship set with a prayer, beginning, "Hey God
" The spotlight then falls on the speaker, who tells entertaining stories, cracks a few jokes, and assures everyone that "God is not mad at you. He loves you unconditionally."
(Excerpt) Read more at christianitytoday.com ...
I urge anyone here who is a Christ follower to take the time and read it--even if you have to do it in "shifts", since the article is quite lengthy.
Bergler does NOT think all modernization is bad--but that it should not be EVERYTHING the church is about.
A few excerpts follow, but please read the whole thing.
Here are some worthy excerpts from the article:
Bergler urges churches to become places where there are mature adults helping kids to become grown up--and places where kids help the adults to become more passionate.
I was just today watching a live sermon online where a preacher of a huge mega church was talking about Paul's discourse (1Cor. 8) on whether Christians should eat meat sacrificed to idols. He likened it to today's culture and brought a six pack of beer out of the podium and was trying to say that drinking beer is ok because you have freedom in Christ. ???? He should have talked about halal meat instead. I turned it off.
The problem is that churches no longer strive to worship and obey God. They seek to please man. In doing so, they create their own god who thinks just as they do.
Being an old school Calvinist myself, I disapprove of Christ being hawked as if He were just another entertainment option.
Excellent article. I would suggest that spiritual maturity is not about what God will do for us or even what we can do for God. It really about purging the sins in our lives; the little foxes that spoil the vineyard. God will take care of the rest.
There is a small church up the road, Sonshine Baptist that has recently been taken over by a group of malcontents who have recently left their Bethel Baptist church, they are going to take the pews out and rename in Sonshine church.
It will be like so many churches that spring up overnight and die just as quickly. It will be the church of ME and how I feel, forget theology, forget Truth, this is all about me. it needs to be fun, it needs to fit MY needs and MY philosophy. They will use their interpretation of the Bible to tell them that they are doing everything right...until someone disagrees and leaves to find or found another church that fits what they want to believe and it too will die.
Wow, you really missed the boat on that one, din'cha?
and halal meat really is one of those issues we wrestle with every day, huh?
I am not going to critique the article, but the excerpts are interesting.
Christianity for as long as I have known it...has always had hippies and guitars. In my youth I used to always go on Friday nights to the local Christian Church to rock out with Jesus.
There were two doors the ‘faith’ could have gone through at that time. One marked with the study of learning what Jesus’ love in our lives means and our responsibility to that kind of unconditional lover. The other door, which I think was the opening to the progressive church, led to a false testimony of faith.
I only see this now as our faith fights to stay relevent in a progressive world. I am still seeking the right church for me, as my longing for blessed Bible teaching weighs heavy. But, here where I live I find many references to the idea of social justice.
My last interview with a pastor had me asking him about Matthew 6:33 and of sparrows. Verses the ever persistent pressures of social justice actions waged in the name of the church?
“Christianity for as long as I have known it...has always had hippies and guitars . . . “
Imagine the frustration of those who knew otherwise, those who had come to love the austerity, silence, and holiness of the house of God, even the sermons that reprimanded them for their sinfulness. Church wasn’t for ‘reaching out’ or cameraderie; it was for union with Christ—difficult even under those world-rejecting conditions.
Give sermonaudio.com a try.
Can I say that it bothers me when I see congregation members sitting in God’s house sipping on coffee they bought inside the church?
I don’t know, I just go back to the OT, to how God and Moses impressed upon the Israelites how utterly holy His house is. What would have been His response if one of them sauntered in, carrying a goats’ milk latte?
All of society is being juvenilized, ever since the boomers became influential in the 1950’s. Christianity is just another victim of the ongoing desire to please youth first and foremost. Look at our juvenile president, and number 42 was just as juvenile. Ugh!
A giant Ward Cleaver needs to come out of the ocean and clobber us.
The Seinfeld or Friends effect on TV. Grown men shown hanging out and acting like they are 18 years old. Never maturing or marrying.
The opposite was shown on TV when I was a kid. Kids were shown to be doing adult things; ahead of their years.
Most of those were Westerns.
Careful what you wish for...
Christianity for as long as I have known it...has always had hippies and guitars . . .
Imagine the frustration of those who knew otherwise, those who had come to love the austerity, silence, and holiness of the house of God,
- - - - - - -
Just an aside here, many of the ‘hippies’ I know are more mature than the ‘others’ I know.
A few years ago we moved from southern california to the midwest, there are no evangelical churches here within a 40 mile radius, we have Lutherans and Methodists. They pride themselves on their silence and austerity, but really have no idea of basic theology or Christian life outside of church. It is sad.
I’m not saying all ‘modern’ Christians are mature, or that all ‘old school’ Christians are empty, I am saying that spiritual immaturity occurs in both groups.
That was a transition period. Yes there were many great sitcoms and westerns in the day showing kids properly disciplined and given responsibility. That lasted up until the late 60’s. The anti authority, anti adult, hippie movement completely changed everything.
Then man returned the favor.
Gee, thanks for THAT barista visual....
Other than Christ lives in each of the believers today rather than an edifice or building. You can go back to the Old Testament if you want but God doesnt inhabit a building any more.
So are you saying you find the OT completely irrelevant and that you never read it?
While I understand that Christ lives in those who have accepted Him, a church is called “God’s house” for a reason. When two are more are gathered together, He IS there——and suitable reverence does not include having refreshments while you worship, IMO.
I love it! How very true.
What happens in Moslem dominated countries with halal is very simple ~ when everybody wants only halal you have no other choices. Don't prove to the barbarians that you are stiff necked by starving to death.
Now that's not such a strange admonition when you realize that numerous Jains have actually starved to death in modern Western states by attempting to adhere to their own dietary rules.
Around here we have a number of kebab places. Never seen charshu pork in one of them, but I do know that all of their meat is halal ('cause they are all members of Moslem sects that do head chopping so it better be halal). Still, why would I eat at a kebab place? Well, for the kebab. They are all pretty decent spots to eat. I doubt the Moslems are misled about my concerns for their ceremonies.
I sometimes eat at kosher restaurants, and we even had a Chinese Kosher restaurant here throughout the Clinton Regime (owned by Charlie Trie). Thai restaurants go one further ~ I don't know particularly what ceremonies they go through preparing for their day's work, but they decide how your food will be spiced and salted ~ none of the authentic places put out any condiments. You get what you are served and that's that.
Back in the days of the Disciples they lived cheek to jowl with Romans and Greeks who did actual sacrifice to idols ~ rather like modern Hindus do actual sacrifice to idols ~ usually a banana slice burned over a small alcohol flame.
I don't eat the banana slice, but I do know there are those who do, and with whipped cream if available. But the one thing that doesn't happen in this country is the big sacrifice that you have to attend on a regular basis or you get your head chopped off.
I do believe the Apostles had a concern with that ~ and not eating the sacrifice was the least of the problems involving Classical idol worship.
I miss the holy house of God where I came to respectfully be with Him. I cannot tolerate the churches of today.
So, I pray on my own. I go to a Eucharistic Adoration Chapel where I can be in His presence. I do not want God to just listen to me, I want to listen to Him and this is the only way I can do that.
I have trouble doing that with all the hoopla going on in church today.
Jesus was present with the Disciples at the last supper
Breaking bread as a symbol for his body and wine as his blood. I guess what you are saying is that folks drinking coffee in church are not in a “reverential” state by doing so
Question 1: Did God make you judge and jury about what is and is not “reverential?
Question 2: You are of course familiar with the loaves and the fishes used to feed the multitude as Jesus spoke and was among them, must seem blasphemous to you
My point is God is about love and not rituals. If I am alone on a desert Island and I talk to God am I damned because there are not “2” there as a previous poster implied?
I say you think what you want, there are 2 there
Me and God, actually 3 if you count the Holy Spirit who was given to us by God as our companion
So you believe and feel what you want and others can do so as well, if you think God is going to pull you off to the side when you get to heaven and say “nice move on that coffee call” and high five you then go for it
I think he is just a little bit bigger and wiser than that
And just for the record yes I am an ordained minister, not one who marches around spouting laws but love as Christ instructed us
PS - Note that Jesus never mentions buildings as the Church, he means the community of all followers with our without a building
Currently the hermits are kept well to the back, but they're still there. The internet has come along just in time to preserve that form of reverential life.
Looks like I hit a nerve. You must be from one of the coffee-selling churches.
I am not a religious person, but I find religion as entertainment offensive.
Sometimes peaceful life in the centers of civilization was impossible and you'd have whole communities of HERMITS pop up out in the country.
The form of worship typical of the hermits is different than what most Christian bodies do today although you can find individuals still doing it.
The internet allows you to maintain contact with the outside on your own terms while allowing you the isolation to engage in meditative worship away from all those people.
Is that clearer?
I guess I'm small minded.
“Note that Jesus never mentions buildings as the Church, he means the community of all followers with our without a building”
Christians need to consider the corrosive effects of the idea that we all can (and must) live at each other’s expense. They should wake up to how socialism must and does directly violate two of the Ten Commandments, those that prohibit coveting and theft.
God tells us in many places and in many ways that when we reject His values, he will reject us. Allowing creeping socialism is one big of the bigger causes of people not attaining very much spiritual growth in this era.
“A lot of old timers who are unable to see some of the fundamental cultural changes that have occurred since the 60s see the lack of marriage as a problem resulting from male immaturity, but I would say that the decline in marriage is as much, if not more, due to a lack of maturity and morality among women.”
I lay the blame on both sides; marriage is a losing proposition legally for men (who risk far more than women), and many women don’t want children (or at least more then one). I’ve quoted here before from a T-shirt I’ve seen: “Why get married? Just find a nasty women and buy her a house.”
Does a different translation say “When two are more are gathered together IN A BUILDING, He IS there”
I missed that one. You are transferring part of your worship to a BUILDING, (an idol). We don't allow food or drink in our sanctuary, because we want to keep it nice and clean. It isn't because we think God would be offended. How would you know that God wouldn't like lattes?
The meaning behind that verse is that it doesn't matter where you are, if you gather together in His name He'll be there with you. No building required.
Contemporary church song (parody):
If Christians used modern arts to push the Biblical doctrines of Christianity to young people, who could complain? But the young are in charge of the modern arts and they are, for the most part, lacking in wisdom - immoral.
Christian churches, in the majority, have become preachers of death and sin. They do not exercise the intellegence God gave them to explain the Bible’s unchangable laws of nature (Creation) in terms young people can understand. Stupid or evil?
My bible says to sing a NEW song unto the Lord.
What I’m about to say has nothing to do with denomination or anything like that.
It’s like this: As a Catholic and as an Episcopalian,I have sometimes been involved with training “lay readers.” That is members of the congregation who want to read from Scripture during the services.
One of the problems is people who want to “put meaning into the reading.” I get what they’re saying. Some flat, dull, boring readings are an insult to the congregation and to the Bible.
But you don’t need to put meaning into it. It has all the meaning you could ever imagine and more. It is, in fact, a kind of blasphemy to think that Scripture needs readers to put meaning into it.
I ended saying, “Read as one who listens would read.” Of course they did not understand me.
And similarly with some clergy. The Gospel, all by itself, is powerful enough to reshape the universe. If you are a member of a “sacramental” and “liturgical” church, that only makes sense if you believe that the sacraments and the liturgy are of transcendental value and meaning. Otherwise it’s just theatre.
But these bozos think they need to put meaning into worship. Nope. That’s God’s job, and He’s REAL good at it.
I have nothing against electric guitars and drums — nothing theological anyway. I do think repetitious and meretricious hymnody is bad, because it is not our best, and we should give God our best. But that’s a minor issue.
But as long a our clergy and “worship directors” think that the Word of God and (where applicable) the liturgy and sacraments cannot stand on their own but need our vain stage tricks to hold them up, that long we will have banal worship which is more about the “performers” than about God and his Love.
Why are you assuming I meant “in a building” when I said nothing of the kind?
He is with any two or more WHEREVER they gather——in a building, or outside of one. Stop trying to make an argument out of nothing.
There is a lot to be said for silence.
FR needs a like button.
Clearer? Well, it’s....interesting, as most of your posts tend to be. :)
In the beginning God created man in his own image.
Then man returned the favor.
All I know is that we go to a church that gives out free coffee and donuts in the mornings, and it is very contemporary.
My husband went to a Lutheran church and got turned off by it in college. He was very anti-church for a very long time.
Since our kids found the church we are going to, he now likes to go to church. He likes the music, but he loves the sermons. They are very relevant to things going on in our lives.
Our pastor’s son just passed away from a freak accident, and he just came back to the pulpit. He’s been on fire since he came back with great sermons. It’s more like he is going through trials right along with us, and he is so relatable.
I think there is a place for different styles of worship as long as the theology is strong.
I grew up in a Methodist church, and I won’t go to them anymore because they may have traditional services their theology has gotten very liberal.
Canticum novum ...
Today we sang a 600+ year old hymn - Pange Lingua.
It was new to me. And I know parts of it by heart.
He makes the old new.
Try re-reading the first recorded words of Jesus. Note the location, and the respect that the parishoners demonstrated there.
It has become about the performers otherwise why do people applaude in church after the choir sings a hymn?
“I would say that the decline in marriage is as much, if not more, due to a lack of maturity and morality among women.”
This is especially true when you properly define maturity as being held accountable for you actions.
Spiritual authority is commonly misunderstood as it is defined in God’s Word. Since the husband is the authority in a marriage, it is in women’s sin nature to rebel against man, not God.
This is not what is commonly thought of as a woman “obeying” the orders of her man. There is nothing wrong with a woman expecting her husband to treat her properly, but women tend to usurp man’s authority by acting as the infallible judge of her man’s character.
Before either spouse in a marriage criticizes their partner, they should go to God in prayer, and make sure their motives are pure and they have no sin problem of their own.
It is rare to find a true Godly woman who can live up to the standards of behavior she imposes upon her husband.
I have found that extreme hypocrisy is one common trait of the Godless people who do not have a true relationship with God, and have the Holy Spirit truly guiding their behaviors.