Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Playing at Christianity

 

A couple of months ago, I got chance to talk to some newly minted college grads looking for teaching jobs. They were all polite, well-rounded twenty-something kids that were professional in appearance and demeanor. I’m in Kentucky, so nearly all of them were some flavor of Christian — Methodists, Baptists, Catholics, the whole gamut. Two of them in particular stuck out as avatars of trend I had been noticing for a few years.

The first one, we’ll call him “Kurt,” was a young man that worked his way through college by running a small, labor-intensive business. He spent most of his time working while listening to books on his phone. He was a serious fellow, sharp and analytical. Over burgers, he talked about his childhood, balancing a belief in science with the belief in Christ, and how C.S. Lewis had shaped his opinion on human suffering. I imagine that he could be hard to get along with; his line of speech was direct and sometimes brusque. Still, I liked him. He spoke his mind and showed evidence that he had seriously considered all points of view before coming to a decision. He was excited about being a teacher because it gave him the opportunity to help young people work through these problems themselves. For a 24-year-old kid, he was quite impressive, the product of serious thought about the relationship between humanity and divinity.

The other kid, we’ll call her “Sally,” was an effervescent, bubbly young lady, a bright and engaging personality with a beaming smile to match. She was polite and well-mannered, seemingly the kind of kid we all want our kids to be. Under the well-polished veneer, though, I found something quite different. The more I talked to her, the more aware I became of just how superficial and even vain she was. She was selfie-obsessed, social-media obsessed, and only thought about ideas in the sense of how they affected her directly. When she spoke about teaching, it seemed that her primary interest was decorating her room with posters and writing good lesson plans. She seemed particularly interested in the virtue-signaling aspect of teaching, as if her choice to be a teacher was a long-term act of martyrdom that only the most pure and noble could undertake. Her limited understanding of the Christian faith revolved around platitudes and kitschy praise music. She talked a lot about what organizations she was a part of (teaching and Christian) but never about what she believed, how she arrived at those beliefs, or the greater implications of those beliefs.

In short, Kurt is a Christian. Sally, however, is merely playing at Christianity.

The Sallies of the world are far too common and they’re not exactly a new phenomenon. Kierkegaard noted the evolution of “comfortable Christianity” in the 19th century. To Kierkegaard, a great many — perhaps most — Christians were simply using the church as a social mechanism, aping meaningless rituals out of the need to belong to something. These comfortable Christians were fine with universal salvation of Christianity but not so keen on the whole “broken vessel / personal sacrifice / serious prayer” scene. Today, the much-bemoaned “prosperity gospel” of Joel Osteen and his ilk is the most notable example of our modern comfortable Christians, but the basic premise of “you be you” is more prevalent in local country churches than you might think.

In some ways, this shift to soft Christianity in mainstream America was predictable. I imagine it’s difficult to get anyone to sit through Jonathan Edwards Lite for an hour, much less a generation that complains when the avocado on their toast is non-organic. So, they get butts in the pews any way they know how, and “any way” always seems to involve telling 16-year-old kids how flippin’ awesome they are. Hollowing out the church in an attempt to pander to a fickle youth is dangerous in a myriad of ways. Such churches are creating a generation of pseudo-Christians, young people entering the adult world with an incomplete theology consisting of palatable Christian beliefs that are unmoored from their healthy counterbalances. They embrace pity without justice and easy grace without hard sacrifice. (It is worth noting that outside her of adorable fashion-necklace crucifix, Sally’s social views were virtually indistinguishable from a garden-variety social justice warrior). Take all that hard stuff out of Christianity and it’s not farfetched for one to imagine a quasi-hippie Jesus frolicking through the slums of Buenos Aries arm-in-arm with the Sanctified Che on a “freedom” march.

That is not to say that the hard lessons of Christianity aren’t being taught. There will always be a desire for the real deal, and those searching for an all-encompassing meaning to their lives will go and seek it, even if they must find it in unlikely places. Many lost young men — the people who need these tough lessons the most — find a similar code of self-sacrifice and personal responsibility in the military.

You could make an argument that the meteoric rise of Jordan Peterson has been predicated on his willingness to tell young people to embrace the idea that life is suffering and we must build ourselves into the kind of person that deserves God’s grace. (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

So there is hope for a type of young person that takes life and its responsibilities seriously. The church, though, stands at a perilous crossroads. Can the modern church reform itself from within? Can it stop its gradual slide from bulwark of western civilization to rudderless social club? Or will it be content to fade into the abyss, playing pretend with the greatest legacy the world has ever known?

“There is something frightful in the fact that the most dangerous thing of all, playing at Christianity, is never ever included in the list of heresies and schisms.” — Søren Kierkegaard

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  1. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    M. Brandon Godbey: Or will it be content to fade into the abyss, playing pretend with the greatest legacy the world has ever known?

    Christ’s Church will never fade in to the abyss. It may recede from influence which is tragic, but His Church remains, always.

    • #1
    • August 2, 2018, at 11:59 AM PDT
    • 11 likes
  2. Clifford A. Brown Contributor

    The anti-christ-ian theology has come both from the desire to build big churches with large budgets, and from the desire to avoid the increasingly serious risk, of social and economic disaster, if a pastor dares teach the wrong passages of scripture as true in this day.

    • #2
    • August 2, 2018, at 12:46 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  3. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    There is a core problem I have found again and again in even otherwise very sound churches: there are but thin answers given to “You’re saved, now what?” What one does with their life as a Christian, what that even means, should be critical. Too often the message is “Now go out and make more converts,” not on the critical and ongoing personal reform of one’s own life. This makes it all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that once “saved” then the work is done. For the Sallys of the world, Christianity is something you do because it’s expected, and when it’s no longer expected, such people stop doing it.

    Osteen, though, is a different animal altogether. Sally is merely flippant and shallow, untouched (so far) by life’s storms, and unable to comprehend that they’re out there because she hasn’t learned empathy or self reflection… yet. She might emerge through them a stronger person, or she might simply drift away. Osteen and his ilk are actively leading people away – people who have already realized the need to reach out to the Divine. He’s a predator, preying on those who think that salvation can be earned, bought, or claimed. He’s offering a narcotic substitute for religion, and he succeeds because people will always want the quick fix, the easy way out. There have always been Osteens, there always will be Osteens.

    • #3
    • August 2, 2018, at 1:16 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  4. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    If you are looking for something:

    http://lifegivingnetwork.org/

    I know these men personally, and they are most definitely not playing at Christianity!

     

    • #4
    • August 2, 2018, at 1:49 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. JoelB Member

    While I was not present during your interview with “Sally”, I think it might be possible that there are many like her who are Christians, but very immature. I know that there are many different ways of thinking about the book of Revelation, but it is my belief that the letters to the seven churches are written for our instruction and as a spring-board for self examination. Many of us have it partly right, but all of us have it partly wrong as well as we see as “through a mirror, darkly”.

    • #5
    • August 2, 2018, at 2:02 PM PDT
    • 12 likes
  6. MarciN Member

    My dad lived in California, and he was very dear friends with Reverend Robert Schuller of the beautiful and famous Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove. Reverend Schuller was best known for his weekly Hour of Power broadcast. I live on Cape Cod, and this part of my dad’s life was not part of my life so I can write about it only from a great distance.

    Dad told me that, as a friend of Reverend Schuller and a member of the board, he helped oversee the sale of the Crystal Cathedral. Schuller wanted it to remain a cathedral, but the attendance had dropped off such that the donations could no longer support the ministry. So the Orange County Diocese of the Catholic Church, whose congregation was growing, bought the cathedral, and Schuller’s Reformed Church bought the Garden Grove Catholic church. Essentially the two congregations switched churches, and they all became very good friends in the process, celebrating each other’s special occasions. My dad loved this.

    My dad was in sales all of his life, so I can understand why Reverend Schuller valued his friendship so much–because what my dad came to understand and appreciate in his seventies and eighties is that the first thing that needs to happen is that people need to be receptive to religious teaching. Presentation matters greatly.

    Christianity is good for people–that’s why the Brits asked C.S. Lewis to make his Mere Christianity broadcasts during World War II in the first place. People need Christ. How do we do that?

    From among those who are listening, a few will want to know more about it and delve into it more deeply. In the meantime, I think churches need to be welcoming and warm so as to open a door that would otherwise be forever closed.

    Everyone is on a journey. We are each of us, however, at a different place on that journey.

    • #6
    • August 2, 2018, at 3:36 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  7. Brian Wolf Coolidge

    Christianity is a test. Paul tells the Corinthians to test themselves and see if they are in the faith despite the obvious spiritual gifts being used among the believers. 

    When you are raised in the faith it always starts out as a culture but the Christian faith is a relationship and a relationship must be pursued not forced, love must be given freely or it is not love.

    In other words I can teach you to practice habits, pursue truth in scripture and spend time in a way that will make it possible for you to love God but I can’t make that love happen.

    Every disciple of Christ has to pursue their relationship some will do it with little prodding some will only do so in crisis or because of fear. That is they way we are. In safety we seek to make Christianity into our own image under threat and stress we seek God’s transformation in our lives.

    My Father was called up to fight in Korea and in boot camp received Christ and carried a New Testament with him through the war. Coming home he went to a church that did not practice any discipleship and did not really teach the full commandments of God. My father’s faith remained but it did not grow or mature. I became a believer when my Father was in his early 70s and I began to disciple him and his faith blossomed. It took nearly fifty years but my Father’s faith took off and he was not longer just a cultural Christian in practice he stopped playing Christian and became a real one.

    Our culture does not have the final say in the matter. Someone else is calling the shots and his Church is always going to be there and those that He calls will answer his call.

    Having said that our culture in America is a shallow one and we, write large, like shallow commitments and the comfort or our wealthy. This kind of culture bad soil for the gospel and that is too bad. One day that will change due to revival I pray or due to some crisis that forces the issue. I tremble at what that might be.

    • #7
    • August 2, 2018, at 4:30 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  8. SecondBite Member

    It has ever been so. The letters of Paul include remonstration with congregations that were neglecting the way they had been taught and adopting an easier more popular way. At the same time, as @MarciN notes, people will never hear the gospel if you can’t get their attention, and you don’t do that by running them off. There will always be a remnant and the Church will prevail, but the history of the church is a drunkard’s walk as it staggers from extreme to extreme.

    • #8
    • August 2, 2018, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  9. M. Brandon Godbey Member
    M. Brandon Godbey

    SecondBite (View Comment):

    It has ever been so. The letters of Paul include remonstration with congregations that were neglecting the way they had been taught and adopting an easier more popular way. At the same time, as @MarciN notes, people will never hear the gospel if you can’t get their attention, and you don’t do that by running them off. There will always be a remnant and the Church will prevail, but the history of the church is a drunkard’s walk as it staggers from extreme to extreme.

    Very thoughtful way to articulate the ebbs and flows of the church’s influence.

    • #9
    • August 2, 2018, at 5:07 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  10. M. Brandon Godbey Member
    M. Brandon Godbey

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    There is a core problem I have found again and again in even otherwise very sound churches: there are but thin answers given to “You’re saved, now what?” What one does with their life as a Christian, what that even means, should be critical. Too often the message is “Now go out and make more converts,” not on the critical and ongoing personal reform of one’s own life. This makes it all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that once “saved” then the work is done. For the Sallys of the world, Christianity is something you do because it’s expected, and when it’s no longer expected, such people stop doing it.

    Osteen, though, is a different animal altogether. Sally is merely flippant and shallow, untouched (so far) by life’s storms, and unable to comprehend that they’re out there because she hasn’t learned empathy or self reflection… yet. She might emerge through them a stronger person, or she might simply drift away. Osteen and his ilk are actively leading people away – people who have already realized the need to reach out to the Divine. He’s a predator, preying on those who think that salvation can be earned, bought, or claimed. He’s offering a narcotic substitute for religion, and he succeeds because people will always want the quick fix, the easy way out. There have always been Osteens, there always will be Osteens.

    I’ve always thought one of the few weaknesses of Christianity (as far as philosophical utility goes) is that we often push faith as a way to protect ourselves when we die but not as a method for living. A life as a Christian–even in this blunt physical form–is far greater than any other life on this planet. It’s more rewarding, more fulfilling, more engaging. Kids should know that the rewards of faith are real and the more of yourself to put in to it the better your life will be.

    • #10
    • August 2, 2018, at 5:11 PM PDT
    • 9 likes
  11. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):
    I’ve always thought one of the few weaknesses of Christianity (as far as philosophical utility goes) is that we often push faith as a way to protect ourselves when we die but not as a method for living.

    Exactly. And it’s often a matter too of what faith we even teach others, and what we teach about how that faith is even acquired. Too often people are pushed to name some singular salvific experience, and then told, “welp, now you’re saved.” And there it ends. I think this is likely Sally’s case.

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):
    A life as a Christian–even in this blunt physical form–is far greater than any other life on this planet. It’s more rewarding, more fulfilling, more engaging. Kids should know that the rewards of faith are real and the more of yourself to put in to it the better your life will be.

    In Orthodoxy this is part of theosis, the lifelong working out of our faith as we strive to always be living towards God through Christ, always striving to be more like God. Faith is not just a feeling, nor is it just a statement of belief, but something far greater, it is part of a relationship.

    • #11
    • August 2, 2018, at 6:59 PM PDT
    • 8 likes
  12. Lois Lane Coolidge

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    Yep.

     

    • #12
    • August 2, 2018, at 7:06 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Skyler Coolidge

    The hypocrites are an old old story. I worked as an engineer for a small manufacturing company and my boss read the Bible every day and had bible quotes on his screen saver. He was a deacon at whatever flavor church he attended.

    Yet, he was a particularly unprincipled man, dividing the workers up by race, making sure that anything that went wrong, even when advised of the risk beforehand, was blamed on anyone but him.

    But he was a very prominent christian.

    Christianity sells and lots of people use it to get ahead. This is not why christianity is wrong, but another reason you should never risk mixing business and religion, and it’s why although I don’t have a beef with christians as individuals, I will always try to avoid doing business with an overtly religious company. They are more often than not shady, or if not shady they often expect to be treated differently because they are “good christians.”

    • #13
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:16 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  14. Roderic Coolidge

    For Sally I say let us witness to her and be good examples for her and leave the rest to God. The same goes for all those Churches. There have been problematic congregations since the very earliest days of the Church, but It thrived in spite of them, and most of us were young and immature at some point.

    • #14
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:25 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  15. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Bravo! Sally is playing with what she *thinks* Christianity is; the emergent/seeking theobabble “churches” are going to have a lot to answer for. I pray Sally meets more folks like Kurt. And that she reads Lewis and Chesterton, too.

    • #15
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:32 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. JVC1207 Member

    It is interesting how (real) Christianity tends to thrive & grow under situations of hardship and persecution, and “playing Christian” becomes a problem when Christianity becomes the status quo/government religion, or in free societies when you realistically have nothing to lose by being a Christian. I read a great book a few years ago on this topic: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B010R53Y5A/ref=oh_aui_d_detailpage_o06_?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    It is also no coincidence that the Church is flourishing in places like China, whereas not so much in the Western world…although I can see us getting closer to a point where to take a stand on certain issues in the West becomes more and more socially (and even physically) dangerous. 

    • #16
    • August 3, 2018, at 9:35 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  17. Arahant Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Too often the message is “Now go out and make more converts,” not on the critical and ongoing personal reform of one’s own life.

    Amen to this. Christianity is a journey through life.

    • #17
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  18. Nick H Coolidge

    M. Brandon Godbey:

    Her limited understanding of the Christian faith revolved around platitudes and kitschy praise music. She talked a lot about what organizations she was a part of (teaching and Christian) but never about what she believed, how she arrived at those beliefs, or the greater implications of those beliefs.

    In short, Kurt is a Christian. Sally, however, is merely playing at Christianity.

    I don’t know that we should be so quick to say that Sally is merely playing. Not everyone is comfortable talking about their faith that deeply, even in circumstances where it would be appropriate and expected to do so. The platitudes and praise music and organizations can all be for show, but that doesn’t mean that people with a serious faith won’t like platitudes and praise music and be members of Christian organizations. Christianity is a relationship, and one that can be deeply personal and not something one would discuss with a stranger beyond the more superficial aspects. Claiming that we can judge who are the “true Christians” and who are just pretending to be Christians is a dangerous road to go down.

    • #18
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:13 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  19. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Nick H (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey:

    Her limited understanding of the Christian faith revolved around platitudes and kitschy praise music. She talked a lot about what organizations she was a part of (teaching and Christian) but never about what she believed, how she arrived at those beliefs, or the greater implications of those beliefs.

    In short, Kurt is a Christian. Sally, however, is merely playing at Christianity.

    I don’t know that we should be so quick to say that Sally is merely playing. Not everyone is comfortable talking about their faith that deeply, even in circumstances where it would be appropriate and expected to do so. The platitudes and praise music and organizations can all be for show, but that doesn’t mean that people with a serious faith won’t like platitudes and praise music and be members of Christian organizations. Christianity is a relationship, and one that can be deeply personal and not something one would discuss with a stranger beyond the more superficial aspects. Claiming that we can judge who are the “true Christians” and who are just pretending to be Christians is a dangerous road to go down.

    Fair point. None can know even of themselves if they haven’t been through the wringer a few times.

    • #19
    • August 3, 2018, at 10:54 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  20. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    • #20
    • August 3, 2018, at 11:07 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  21. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    It’s profound and original to those who’ve never *heard* it, Spin…It’s a start.

    • #21
    • August 3, 2018, at 11:17 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  22. SkipSul Coolidge
    SkipSul Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    Not quite. He’s not got a talk show, media empire, or book club, plus he’s not tried his hand at acting or producing mediocre films.

    • #22
    • August 3, 2018, at 12:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  23. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    Not quite. He’s not got a talk show, media empire, or book club, plus he’s not tried his hand at acting or producing mediocre films.

    Nonetheless, he’s a false prophet.

    • #23
    • August 3, 2018, at 12:33 PM PDT
    • Like
  24. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    So is Marx!

    • #24
    • August 3, 2018, at 12:35 PM PDT
    • Like
  25. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    Sally is merely flippant and shallow, untouched (so far) by life’s storms, and unable to comprehend that they’re out there because she hasn’t learned empathy or self reflection… yet. She might emerge through them a stronger person, or she might simply drift away.

    Yeah, and as someone who was touched by a mysterious storm at an early age, and whose faith has always had that grim edge to it, I second others who say we shouldn’t be too hard on Sally, or say she’s just playing at having faith. Immature faith is a kind of faith. Moreover, I strongly suspect there is a more mature kind of relatively “comfortable” faith that can be expressed through less-reflective loyalty: 

    M. Brandon Godbey: Kierkegaard noted the evolution of “comfortable Christianity” in the 19th century. To Kierkegaard, a great many — perhaps most — Christians were simply using the church as a social mechanism, aping meaningless rituals out of the need to belong to something.

    This need to belong to something — well, what is it they’re belonging to? If they haven’t been led too grossly astray, what they are belonging to is the Body of Christ.

    Not every part of the body gets to be the heart or brain, aflame with passion or fiery intellect. Someone’s gonna get stuck being the elbow, or nose hair. Someone’s gonna get stuck not understanding their faith too well, but doing a reasonable, if unremarkable, job at living it.

    Christ didn’t just come to save those with IQs above 100. And, while it’s true some join church with no sense of faith, just because they need the social support, the habit of church may eventually persuade them into the habit of faith. Maybe not the faith of the mystics. Heck, even the great Catholic writer Flannery O’Connor was turned off by the faith of the mystics: she recognized in her letters that her kind of faith was of the more humdrum variety. 

    Something similar recently came up on another thread:

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):

    Nanda Pajama-Tantrum (View Comment):

    Gossamer Cat (View Comment):

    Midget Faded Rattlesnake (View Comment):
    and the lukewarm but reliable have a role to play in continuing the culture, too.

    They also serve who stand and wait

    Not sure lukewarm ever was an option (See Rev. 3:15-17).

    I know, and that passage is exactly why I used to be less tolerant of the lukewarm myself. But… whatever the state of their souls, if they’re the ones showing up, for whatever tepid reasons, to usher, do the church flowers, the rummage, all the little offices churches need to keep going, some of which may be done better by lukewarm and even slightly petty Marthas than by red-hot Marys a little too enraptured with the Divine, they help keep the church alive. And similarly for other offices in other cultural institutions.

    Mary chose the better portion, and Mary will not be spit out. The Marthas? Some of them are red-hot, too. Others, not so much, but they still get the church directory done on time.

    I cannot for the life of me grok what I would call the “shallow Marthas” of this world. But it seems safest to say it’s not my place to label my lack of grokkage their lack of faith.

    • #25
    • August 3, 2018, at 12:35 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  26. M. Brandon Godbey Member
    M. Brandon Godbey

    Spin (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    Not quite. He’s not got a talk show, media empire, or book club, plus he’s not tried his hand at acting or producing mediocre films.

    Nonetheless, he’s a false prophet.

    1) Peterson message shouldn’t be profound or original, yet in our era it is profound. The fact that Peterson has made such an impact by saying what preachers use to say two generations ago points to a systemic failure of the church to deliver a full doctrine.

    2) He’s actually gone out of his way to say that he is no prophet.

    • #26
    • August 3, 2018, at 1:02 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  27. Ontheleftcoast Member

    The Sallys of the world didn’t raise themselves. She’s doing what was expected of her. Also, you’re comparing apples and oranges. A man whose religious life was of the same level and quality as Sally’s would be doing it differently, because men and women are different. Phyllis Chesler’s recent look back at feminism points this out:

    Only now, a half century later, do I understand that women in groups tend to demand uniformity, conformity, shoulder-to-shoulder nonhierarchical sisterhood—one in which no one is more rewarded than anyone else. Marxism and female psychology are a natural fit psychologically, but not for me.

    • #27
    • August 3, 2018, at 1:05 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  28. Nanda Panjandrum Inactive

    Spin (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    Not quite. He’s not got a talk show, media empire, or book club, plus he’s not tried his hand at acting or producing mediocre films.

    Nonetheless, he’s a false prophet.

    He’s not setting himself up as a prophet, Spin…Perhaps he’s the perfect instrument for reaching out to the unchurched/under-churched, with whom active believers might have little/no credibility?

    • #28
    • August 3, 2018, at 1:19 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. Spin Coolidge
    Spin Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):

    1) Peterson message shouldn’t be profound or original, yet in our era it is profound. (No, it isn’t) The fact that Peterson has made such an impact by saying what preachers use to say two generations ago points to a systemic failure of the church to deliver a full doctrine. (Agreed)

    By the way: the preachers I listen to do present the full gospel. The problem is that it isn’t what people want to hear.

     

    • #29
    • August 3, 2018, at 1:26 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  30. Midget Faded Rattlesnake Contributor

    M. Brandon Godbey (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    Spin (View Comment):

    M. Brandon Godbey: (Somehow it makes sense in our age that the most profound Christian speaker of our generation is a Canadian kinda-sorta agnostic).

    He is to the right what Oprah is to the left. I don’t find anything he says to be profound nor original.

    Not quite. He’s not got a talk show, media empire, or book club, plus he’s not tried his hand at acting or producing mediocre films.

    Nonetheless, he’s a false prophet.

    1) Peterson message shouldn’t be profound or original, yet in our era it is profound. The fact that Peterson has made such an impact by saying what preachers use to say two generations ago points to a systemic failure of the church to deliver a full doctrine.

    2) He’s actually gone out of his way to say that he is no prophet.

    Here’s a somewhat tongue-in-cheek review by a skeptic who was expecting to be disappointed who concludes Peterson is functionally a prophet. Not a prophet CS Lewis would have liked, mind you — for the reason @skipsul says.

    • #30
    • August 3, 2018, at 1:28 PM PDT
    • 2 likes

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