The Christian Paradox

The August edition of Harpers has an interesting article that asks just how “Christian” America really is.
Answer: Not very

Only 40 percent of Americans can name more than four of the Ten Commandments, and a scant half can cite any of the four authors of the Gospels. Twelve percent believe Joan of Arc was Noah’s wife. This failure to recall the specifics of our Christian heritage may be further evidence of our nation’s educational decline, but it probably doesn’t matter all that much in spiritual or political terms. Here is a statistic that does matter: Three quarters of Americans believe the Bible teaches that “God helps those who help themselves.� That is, three out of four Americans believe that this uber-American idea, a notion at the core of our current individualist politics and culture, which was in fact uttered by Ben Franklin, actually appears in Holy Scripture. The thing is, not only is Franklin’s wisdom not biblical; it’s counter-biblical. Few ideas could be further from the gospel message, with its radical summons to love of neighbor. On this essential matter, most Americans—most American Christians—are simply wrong, as if 75 percent of American scientists believed that Newton proved gravity causes apples to fly up.

Read The Christian Paradox

The City pages just recently published an article in the same vein about Grace Church in Eden Prairie.
My take: I would have been visibly uncomfortable at this service. Not that I’d ever go to Grace Church in the first place… it’s just not my bag, baby.

It is the day before Independence Day in the Year of Our Lord, 2005, and our men and women in uniform are fighting overseas for our God-given freedom. That’s what a few thousand worshipers have come to hear about during the 10:30 morning service at Grace Church, the casinolike “independent evangelical” complex that sits amid the rolling hills of Eden Prairie. The arena-sized parking lot is filled with newish cars and trucks, including a souped-up Lexus adorned with American flags, flag decals, and 1280 The Patriot bumper stickers. Parked next to that is a sedan whose lone sticker testifies, “Mary Kay: Enriching Women’s Lives.”

Read Onward Christian Soldiers.


One Response to “The Christian Paradox”

  • stevievan Says:

    Nick, my only comment is that people feel passionately about certain issues, and patriotism is one of them. If a church decides to devote one Sunday of the year (on July 4th no less), to bring focus to how Christ is at work in the lives of soldiers, those people listening are being pointed toward Christ, in my opinion.
    Now, if every week consisted of this, I might feel differently.
    How do you feel about Memorial Day?

Leave a Reply