The Rise and Fall of American Christianity

Standard

The recently released Pew Research Center Report has revealed that Christianity within the United States is on the decline. Christians are freaking out and the fear mongering has begun — many seeing it as an apocalyptic sign of the moral downfall of our secular society coinciding with a theological weakening caused by “liberalism.”

Everyone seems to have an explanation of the data, and among Christians, the infighting has already begun, with most denominations rationalizing their growth, decline, or stagnancy by offering the same explanation: We’re theologically sound and remaining faithful to God while everyone else is getting it wrong.

Continue reading

Is Christianity Getting Better or Worse?

Standard

Stephen Mattson:

A remember amid the new data regarding Christianity…

Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:

Christians often follow a narrative that assumes everything is getting worse. Sermons, books, and movies preach that the End Times are just around the corner, and apocalyptic doom is an unavoidable fact.

Signs of the Armageddon are everywhere—and we love to point them out within a secular culture saturated with sex, drugs, and immorality.

It’s an easy temptation to evaluate, gauge, and measure the current—and upcoming—state of Christianity within this fearful context. It happens often, and when we take time to reflect on humanity and Christianity in general, the results are usually gloomy.

View original 685 more words

A Mothers Day Reflection

Standard

Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:

Moms should be celebrated, and they deserve all the flowers, spa days, pampering, and gifts given to them. I love my mom and I can’t thank her enough for all she has done for me and my family — Mother’s Day doesn’t even begin to cover the gratitude I have for her.

But for many, Mother’s Day is the most painful day of the year. For women who have experienced miscarriages, have had children die, have had abortions, who want to have kids but are struggling or unable to, have had to give up their children or currently have broken relationships with their kids, the holiday serves as a stark reminder filled with personal sorrow.

Christian communities can be especially harsh because of their tendencies to show favoritism to the idea of motherhood — as if mothers are somehow more holy and righteous than non-mothers. In an effort to praise…

View original 563 more words

Let’s Stop Rationalizing Injustice

Standard

Large segments of society refuse to believe that racial inequality exists within our justice system, and whenever an “incident” arises that gains mainstream attention, a disturbing trend is almost immediately conjured up in response to any demands for accountability and reform: the immorality of the victims.

They’re often aggressively criminalized.

He’s been arrested numerous times…

He should’ve respected authority…

If only he followed orders…

He was addicted…

He was in possession of…

He shouldn’t have resisted arrest…

His parents have felony convictions…

He was a thug…

He’s shown in photos holding up gang signs…

If only he had done this, this, and this…

Continue reading

Has Christianity Become Too Busy?

Standard

Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:

Jesus is famous for many things—like performing miracles, claiming to be God, and dying on the cross—but one of his most underappreciated characteristics was his ability to just hang out.

Whether it was attending weddings (John 2), resting from long journeys (John 4); participating in religious festivals (John 5), spending time with his followers and disciples, having dinner with the tax collectors (Matt. 9 and Mark 2), or eating and talking with Pharisees and prostitutes (Luke 7), Jesus spent a lot of time with people in casual, familiar, and very unremarkable circumstances—it was within these situations where the most profound miracles occurred!

Average interactions suddenly became divine—filled with transformation, redemption, and life-changing events. But the original settings were so ordinary.

View original 592 more words

7 Things I Wish I Knew About Christianity Before Becoming A Christian

Standard

Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:

Christianity comes with a lot of expectations. Some are biblical. Some, we’ve grafted on.

Sometimes we have unrealistic expectations of what our lives will look like after accepting Christ into our lives. We think seasoned Christians have it all together, always feel close to God and never doubt.

But it doesn’t take long for those illusions to be shattered. We soon realize that following Christ doesn’t look exactly like we expected.

Here are 7 things I wish I knew about Christianity before becoming a Christian:

View original 906 more words

5 (Stupid) Reasons Christians Reject Environmentalism

Standard

Originally posted on Stephen Mattson:

God saw all that he had made, and it was very good (Genesis. 1:31 NIV)

Imagine if Christians had been on the forefront of protecting our earth, if they actually viewed the world as God’s creation, and the animals as God’s animals, and the plants as God’s plants, and land as God’s land. What if the American Church spent millions of dollars fighting to preserve nature instead of investing in divisive culture wars and political lobbying campaigns? What if Christians were viewed as protectors of creation, shielding millions of acres of land, restoring polluted areas, and protecting animals from cruelty and exploitation?

Unfortunately, Earth Day is rarely celebrated within mainstream Christianity beyond a Sunday sermon, and environmentalism is often frowned upon by evangelical leaders instead of championed. Here are the main reasons Christians have rejected caring for our environment:

View original 830 more words