Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Unless a grain of wheat ...

... falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit."
[John 12:24]

I'd seen this Newsweek cover ... in fact, picked it up off the magazine rack earlier this week and then thought, "Yeah, right -- when am I going to have time to read this during Holy Week" and put it back.

And then our Channel 4 News folks called. Reporter Ted Chen is doing a segment on tomorrow's early morning Sunday Show on the cover article by Jon Meacham -- (yes, that would be Easter Sunday) -- and could I find time to be part of their conversation about "The Decline and Fall of Christian America?"

Ummm ... "let me think about it." The chance to get a few words of Easter Evangelism out to folks sitting home on Easter Sunday morning watching the Channel 4 News ... yeah, I think we're going to try to make that happen!

So (after discerning that I could get to the studio and back in time for the 9:00 service at All Saints) said "you betcha" ... and have therefore spent my Holy Saturday doing some facinating though unanticipated reading, research and reflection.

In just a little while I'll turn my attention to things liturgical and head over to church for the baptism of 17 tiny ones at 4:00 and then the Great Vigil of Easter -- where we'll baptize 9 adults and teenagers; welcome 28 new members and enjoy together the retelling of our salvation history in the context of the first Eucharist of Easter. (Note important difference between "Christian America" and "Christian Gospel." The former may be declining but the latter is alive and well in MANY parts of the church!)

More on The Decline and Fall of Christian America can wait for tomorrow ... (film at eleven!) ... but here's one great quote I gleaned from our friend Jim Wallis in my reading "for the road:"

Personally, I am not offended or alarmed by the notion of a post-Christian America. Christianity was originally and, in my view, always meant to be a minority faith with a counter-cultural stance; as opposed to the dominant cultural and political force. Notions of a Christian America quite frankly haven’t turned out very well.


Fran said...

Easter Joy to you and yours as well as to all who spend time on these great pages.

I am about to read that article - after Holy Week of course. And I have a lot less to do for Easter than you do.

I love what Wallis said! Amen to the counterculture.

Mustard said...

I agree with Jim Wallis, especially this: "But Martin Luther King, Jr. did not get the Civil Rights Act passed because he had the most Bible verses on his side but because he entered into the public square with compelling arguments, vision and policy that ultimately won the day."

It seems to me there's an unspoken undercurrent of fear in many Mainstream Churches that sees the connection of the low numbers of people in the pews to an inevitable loss of political and economic power.

Just my 2 cents.


Unknown said...

The Rev'd Russell,

Though Christianity certainly began as a minority religious sect and was the epitome of counter culture in pagan Rome, I hardly think that Jesus envisioned it being forever such. At the time of his ascension did he not command his apostles to go out into the world and make disciples of ALL NATIONS (Matthew 28:19)? Sure sounds like he envisioned not only a majority, but an overwhelming one!

Easter blessings, and God's peace. <><