Saturday, August 1, 2009

Faith In The Fire

Jon Meacham’s article[1] was more than interesting. I can’t say that it was really illuminating. It was, if anything, more of an affirmation of things that I’ve come to believe, or at least suspect, after observing the trends that have led to where we are today as citizens of the 21st Century.

The trends show no sign of abating. They have, at least in my observation, strengthened to the point of becoming the social norms of our modern society. Reality is what it is and it’s rather evident that the modern democratic state isn’t too concerned about what the Church thinks about matters of faith and morals.

Some Christians are dismayed at the state of things. Change is, after all, something that is difficult to accept, particularly this order of change. It’s rather obvious that Christianity, or those versions of it that were important in the lives of the English speaking men and women who braved the process of coming to settle in this country for the sake of religious freedom, has had to make room for a growing assortment of other faith traditions and life orientations.

“A remarkable culture-shift has taken place around us. The most basic contours of American culture have been radically altered. The so-called Judeo-Christian consensus of the last millennium has given way to a post-modern, post-Christian, post-Western cultural crisis which threatens the very heart of our culture.”[2]

Is this a crisis “threatening the very heart of our culture” or an opportunity for a more genuine and historic expression of Christian faith?

I don’t personally find this so threatening to my Sacramental Christian faith and Oblate Promise. What I do find in it is motivation to pursue more deeply and persevere more intently in what I believe and experience in the grace of Christ that transcends the agendas of politics and economics, two realms that both God and Satan seem to generously employ in their service in ways that leave me with little, if any, determining influence.

A genuine Christian identity is not determined by the popular politics, economics, and social norms of any given cultural age as if it was a marionette dancing at the ends of these three temporal strings. Despite our preference for friendly governments, plenty of cash in our pockets, and a citizenry that espouses our own personal views, the practice of the faith embodied in Christ and taught by the Apostles is well equipped to flourish even under the most hostile political, economic, and social conditions.

[1] The Decline and Fall of Christian America, Time Magazine, April 2009
[2] R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, quoted by Meacham in the article.