Somewhere along the way, the church in the U.S. has developed a sub-culture, an entire way of life vaguely related to the idea of Christianity, our christianist society. When I say christianist, I mean those things in our culture that seem to be more dedicated to developing in us a general sense of Christianity than they are to Christ Himself or His actual teaching.
I suppose that traditions of this sort have existed throughout the history of the church, but since I live now and here, this particular one is the one I find myself struggling against.
Our christianist society is quite the lucrative industry. Which possibly explains why it is so prevalent. We have myriad forms of media dedicated wholly to the propagation of the culture. They don’t so much propagate Christianity, per se, but rather a general sense of being involved in a culture that uses Christian terminology and stories from the Bible. It’s not so important that we understand the stories or can use the terms correctly. What’s important is that we can utter the words.
Hell. Save. Grace. Righteousness. Hell.
Just say ’em. Ahhh, yeah. You’re in.
Our christianist society is a fiercely traditionalist culture bound together by its anti-traditionalism. 40,000 “just the Bible and me” denominations can’t be wrong.
Our christianist society is fiercely free-thinking so long as that freedom doesn’t lead you into historically verifiable Christian thought.
Our christianist society is fiercely un-original (see Jesus fish eating Darwin fish car magnet).
Our christianist society is fiercely evangelical but its message is so un-compelling (buy Jesus lip balm rather than Bert’s Bees…Why? Because it says “Jesus.” Oh, right. Got it.)
I suppose I could wave it off as no more than a subjective affront to my individual sensibilities except for the looming impression that the Person of Christ has been replaced by the Notion of Christ.