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s/o Duggar - Christian deception, Coronavirus, dominionism, insurrection, etc


Katy
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I'm primarily interested in Christian answers, but anyone is welcome...

I've had extensive conversations with DH over the past year theorizing about how it's possible so many Christians we know who at least pretend to be actively seeking God have gotten so off track in ways that have been extremely obvious in the past two years.

I'm personally disappointed in people I know.  People who seem to have lost sight of the Gospel in favor of American exceptionalism and dominionist leanings.  Trading faith for power.  Though I wonder a bit if this isn't just handed down from Puritanical utopian values.

DH just shrugs, says the Bible says many will be deceived by false prophets, and these are the kinds of things meant.

What do you think?  Am I the only one really bothered by the fervor of these people I used to trust?

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8 minutes ago, Katy said:

What do you think?  Am I the only one really bothered by the fervor of these people I used to trust?

You're very much not alone. I just wrote a rant on the Conservative Christian board about this, lol!

One thing that has helped is reading David French (and listening to podcasts--The Holy Post and others). He had a French Press article this morning that was spot on. It mentions politics a little, specifically the religious right and recent choices on the religious right--not sure if it's too much for me to link it here, but you can probably find it easily. I think his Sunday articles are always free. Today's article is called, "How American Christendom Weakens American Christianity." He mentions Kierkegaard (not someone I've read, but I have heard some of his ideas), and here are some of the definitions used:

Quote

Think of the distinctions roughly like this—Christianity is the faith, Christians are believers in the faith, and Christendom is the collective culture and institutions (universities, ministries) of the faith.

Here's a little tidbit:

Quote

And in fact all too many American Christian institutions are corporations first. They’re perpetually-existing legal entities who confront each and every scandal with a single prime directive: This ministry must endure. It is too important to fail. It cannot die. 

In this construct, the truth is a threat. If people knew what really happened, then they might not support the ministry, or listen to its teaching. Its good work would cease. And so it seeks silence.

and

Quote

I first read Kierkegaard in college and thought he was too pessimistic. He was way too dark. After all, during my youth, it was the orthodox churches that were growing, and they demanded far more of their congregants than the shrinking progressive churches that, I believed, conformed their teachings to the fickle demands of a hostile world.

Now my perspective has changed. I can’t tell you how many I speak to who are deeply shaken by the events above. They face crises of faith that they’ve never confronted before. In my friend Russell Moore’s powerful and anguished words, “What happens when people reject the church because they think we reject Jesus and the gospel?” He continued, “What if people don’t leave the church because they disapprove of Jesus, but because they’ve read the Bible and have come to the conclusion that the church itself would disapprove of Jesus?”

Russell Moore is also a voice I find thoughtful. I appreciate Beth Moore speaking out.

But locally, I am really concerned about the likelihood of finding a faith community I can be a part of. We're looking outside our current (SBC) denomination, but I am guessing the best we can hope for is to have people just not discuss politics as part of church culture. Our current church would say they don't speak about politics very much, but what it means is that they know what is okay to say and what is not, all of which changed abruptly in 2015/2016. Suddenly the few of us not toeing the line found ourselves the object of "concern" and considered radical. The line moved. I did not.

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21 minutes ago, Katy said:

People who seem to have lost sight of the Gospel in favor of American exceptionalism and dominionist leanings.  Trading faith for power. 

Adding to this...my church wants to focus on the Gospel and put all of this to the side, but my pastor has said from the pulpit that he is nationalist. He recently called out a local person (one that I think might go to my church, but it's big enough I don't know everyone), thanking this person for his service. In doing so, he shared a link about how this person was instrumental in bringing a speaker to the local women's political group, and the speaker is a known conspiracy theorist on Covid and the election. This conspiracy theorist has single-handedly put the reputation of Christians in the sewer on FB. I see a lot of people who maybe thought Christians had some funny ideas but were pretty harmless. Now they think Christians are dangerous and terrible.

It's so sad, and I do believe it's part of the deception in the end times. Ironically, the deceived think their actions are fending off the end times and the antichrist in particular.

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People are afraid and when they have to fear both for this life and the next, it is unsurprising they will look for ways to be right and safe. Unfortunately, that requires other people to be wrong and unsafe in comparison. "Pretty much everything in moderation" isn't dogmatic enough to make dogma seeking people feel safe.

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Well, I left Christianity prior to the pandemic. But, people whom we still considered friends have been fervently extremist in this past year, and it is quite disconcerting. We also will not be able to resume any kind of relationship with them because their behavior, name calling, is over the top. 

I do think for many, they really do a lot of "eyes on the preacher" thinking instead of cultivating individual discernment. The charismatic leader thing is problematic as well as the "no true Scotsman" theory of salvation which leads to people believing they have the corner on the market of who is and is not a Christian. Add confirmation bias onto it as the more extreme churches allow no dissent or at least really seek to marginalize dissenters, and you have this perfect storm of being vulnerable to radical, wild ideas not rooted in real evidence nor in mainstream interpretation of their scriptures. And for what it is worth, my husband is still a Christian, a progressive one but not particularly far left of center, and this is what he thinks has happened.

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39 minutes ago, Katy said:

I'm primarily interested in Christian answers, but anyone is welcome...

I've had extensive conversations with DH over the past year theorizing about how it's possible so many Christians we know who at least pretend to be actively seeking God have gotten so off track in ways that have been extremely obvious in the past two years.

I'm personally disappointed in people I know.  People who seem to have lost sight of the Gospel in favor of American exceptionalism and dominionist leanings.  Trading faith for power.  Though I wonder a bit if this isn't just handed down from Puritanical utopian values.

DH just shrugs, says the Bible says many will be deceived by false prophets, and these are the kinds of things meant.

What do you think?  Am I the only one really bothered by the fervor of these people I used to trust?

You are definitely not the only one! I could have written your post. Exactly what I have been thinking about. I, too, am really struggling with intense disappointment in many Christians I know. I guess I’m pretty fortunate I managed to make it 57 years before experiencing such disappointment.

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Definitely not the only one. This has been an incredibly disheartening time, and I truly don’t know how Christianity is going to weather it, at least in the US. I think it may take a generation or more to come back from, unless it just keeps going this direction. None of the young people I know want to identify as Christians any more, because the name has been so tainted and they don’t want to be associated with that in any way. It bears no resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. Certainly there’s not much to be appealing about it right now to people viewing it from the outside. It’s so sad. 
 

31 minutes ago, kbutton said:

I see a lot of people who maybe thought Christians had some funny ideas but were pretty harmless. Now they think Christians are dangerous and terrible.

Exactly this. And who can blame them? 😢

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Posted (edited)

Since the western culture is saturated in materialism, the health and wealth gospel is a very attractive lie to professing Christians who don't want to choose between God and mammon and be humble, living sacrifices. This manifests itself in wanting political power to push policies that a person perceives as maintaining or gaining wealth and legislating their versions of morality to earn favor in the form of wealth for the nation from God.

People prone to traditionalism (loving tradition for its own sake and categorically disliking change regardless of each tradition and change's pros and cons) are usually prone to resenting and fearing change.  There are huge economic and cultural shifts going on right now compared to when they were younger. Adaptability is an essential adult skill and many people weren't taught much of it.

Another manifestation of traditionalism is Christendom-the culturizing of the faith instead of actual faith.  This next sentence is going to piss off a lot of parents. Mommies and daddies have been lied to believing they can raise children to become Christians.  Real Christianity isn't something you're taught or cultured into-it's being regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Only God can do that, and He doesn't do that for everyone.  We have churches full of people who are there out of tradition or culture, not out of soul deep conviction born The Spirit. More of them are able to leave due to cultural changes tolerating secularism and religious diversity, which is a good thing.

Preferring cheap, easy tokens of righteousness instead of daily practicing actual righteousness. It's easy to think of yourself as righteous if you go around saying abortion is murder and vote for a candidate who wants to outlaw abortion than it is to stand alongside single mothers, providing real financial, emotional, and practical help for the two decades it takes to raise an unplanned child.  Never mind that abortion was common when it was illegal-that doesn't matter to them.   What matters is wearing the right team colors at the pro-life pep assembly and the symbolic act of making abortion illegal which won't save any lives.  Being pro-life is a magic talisman that protects you from any criticism about aligning with unscrupulous people in power who are problematic in other ways as long as they play for the pro-life team.  

Having a proxy to say nasty things about others that you know Jesus wouldn't want you to say is very tempting. All you have to do is say you against those particular nasty words but you want the person saying them to pass certain policies "for the good of the nation" which actually  act against those people you don't like.  It's handy like that.

Outrage=Righteous fallacy.  Want to show someone you're really holy?  Start ranting about all that's wrong with the world and you can tell yourself you just care so much about doing what's right.

Add in separation=purity fallacy. The more you isolate yourself from the contaminating sin of different values, the holier you are. Birds of a feather and all that.  It's especially convenient because then you never have to love, serve, or pray for anyone you perceive as an enemy. Not only that, it reinforces how right you are and gives you an audience that doesn't mind listening to you cast judgement on sinners who disagree with you.

Edited by Homeschool Mom in AZ
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I have been, frankly, HORRIFIED at people I knew and loved growing up, for actually, the last 4 years...a whole bunch of Southern Baptist missionaries, and "God-fearing" missionary kids that I knew all my life on the mission field.  These are people I looked up to and held up as examples of "godly" men and women, sacrificing and pouring out their lives for black and brown people...and yet they not only overlooked and pooh-poohed Trump's sexual bruh-ha-has, but they worshipped at the feet of the most blatantly racist president we've had in a long time.  I  have begun to think that what motivated my missionary "Aunts and Uncles"  was not, in fact, a burden for lost souls, but a mere desire to spread American "exceptionalism" far and wide.  I really just DO NOT understand how they can purport to be followers  of Jesus, and support the former president, the carnage he's wrought, not just in the Republican party, although there's plenty of that, but in the entire political and social system, the lies, the denial of reality...I just don't get it at ALL.  I feel utterly shell-shocked...particularly since the pandemic started.  There were so many people that I'd come to know and respect at our church (we are military and move a lot, so we'd only been at our church for 2 years).  I was really impressed with them, and truly wanted to be part of that community, to allow others in to my life, to grow closer to Jesus among these people. Then, Covid hit, and at first the church followed the guidelines--online services only.  But then they started meeting together again in small groups with no masks and no social distancing; and  during church, allowing masks to be taken off after the singing.  Then, several of our friends from there, along with the "Covid is a hoax" mindset, began echoing all the rubbish around the election...and I am just absolutely shaken.  I don't want to set foot in that church again, although it would probably be best for our kids' social lives if we did, because they were a part of the children's ministry.  But right now, I have the attitude of, "If you supported Trump, or didn't bother to mask up during the Pandemic and treat the virus seriously, I do not want you in my life."  I have better things to do with the few(er) remaining years of my life than to put up with that insane B.S.  

And yes, your DH is right...but I have been kind of thinking over the last 4 years that Jesus is actively separating the sheep from the goats, and making it apparent to us all.  Until this last year, I was completely unaware of American Christian Nationalism...but now I seem to spot it everywhere.  And it's a relief to be able to clearly tell myself, "That is Christian Nationalism, it is not of Christ."    

A wonderful podcast I've discovered in which they discuss such things is the Holy Post Podcast.  It's really great to hear the perspectives of other Christians who are likeminded concerning the events of these past few years.  I find it really helpful to understand what's going on.  I'm reading several books they've discussed on there, including Kristen Du Mez' "Jesus and John Wayne" which really touches on how Trumpism has actually been built into evangelical society, it's not actually a new thing.  Am also reading "The Making of Biblical Womanhood" by Beth Allison Barr...also helpful.  

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7 minutes ago, Homeschool Mom in AZ said:

Since the western culture is saturated in materialism, the health and wealth gospel is a very attractive lie to professing Christians who don't want to choose between God and mammon and be humble, living sacrifices. This manifests itself in wanting political power to push policies that a person perceives as maintaining or gaining wealth and legislating their versions of morality to earn favor in the form of wealth for the nation from God.

People prone to traditionalism (loving tradition for its own sake and categorically disliking change regardless of each tradition and change's pros and cons) are usually prone to resenting and fearing change.  There are huge economic and cultural shifts going on right now compared to when they were younger. Adaptability is an essential adult skill and many people weren't taught much of it.

Another manifestation of traditionalism is Christendom-the culturizing of the faith instead of actual faith.  This next sentence is going to piss off a lot of parents. Mommies and daddies have been lied to believing they can raise children to become Christians.  Real Christianity isn't something you're taught or cultured into-it's being regenerated by the Holy Spirit. Only God can do that, and He doesn't do that for everyone.  We have churches full of people who are there out of tradition or culture, not out of soul deep conviction born The Spirit. More of them are able to leave due to cultural changes tolerating secularism and religious diversity, which is a good thing.

Preferring cheap, easy tokens of righteousness instead of daily practicing actual righteousness. It's easy to think of yourself as righteous if you go around saying abortion is murder and vote for a candidate who wants to outlaw abortion than it is to stand alongside single mothers, providing real financial, emotional, and practical help for the two decades it takes to raise an unplanned child.  Never mind that abortion was common when it was illegal-that doesn't matter to them.   What matters is wearing the right team colors at the pro-life pep assembly and the symbolic act of making abortion illegal which won't save any lives.  Being pro-life is a magic talisman that protects you from any criticism about aligning with unscrupulous people in power who are problematic in other ways as long as they play for the pro-life team.  

Having a proxy to say nasty things about others that you know Jesus wouldn't want you to say is very tempting. All you have to do is say you against those particular nasty words but you want the person saying them to pass certain policies "for the good of the nation" which actually  act against those people you don't like.  Its' handy like that.

Outrage=Righteous fallacy.  Want to show someone you're really holy?  Start ranting about all that's wrong with the world and you can tell yourself you just care so much about doing what's right.

Add in separation=purity fallacy. The more you isolate yourself from the contaminating sin of different values, the holier you are. Birds of a feather and all that.  It's especially convenient because then you never have to love, serve, or pray for anyone you perceive as an enemy. Not only that, it reinforces how right you are and gives you an audience that doesn't mind listening to you cast judgement on sinners who disagree with you.

I agree with so much of this, but no one I know in this mindset would agree at all, and I do know so many to be humble, faithful Christians. But I think this will destroy their witness, and I think they just don't see that.

Do I think some are only into the culture? Sure, but I think that's the minority. 

I am not comfortable casting most of the lot as unregenerate, though I am sure that a percentage are. 

I think they put all their eggs in one basket and won't back down. They didn't see the trap, and now they like the trappings. 

If this is too political, I can remove it, but I think it's been okay to say this in the past...In 2016, I watched people express concerns before voting day, but they all felt they had to grit their teeth and vote for their party. Somewhere between election Tuesday and the first Sunday afterward, they went from gritting their teeth to being all in--at one point, I wouldn't have been surprised if someone had literally suggested fireworks after the service to celebrate. It was an absolutely and totally freaky about face--very chilling. (And I will totally grant that some people have kept their skepticism and concerns, but not the vast, vast majority. Once they made their choice, they were not going to feel bad about it, and they found ways to justify that in their mind.)

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48 minutes ago, kbutton said:

One thing that has helped is reading David French (and listening to podcasts--The Holy Post and others). 

I love David French!  He and Phil Vischer help make so much sense of all this insanity!  Also, I hadn't read your post when I was typing mine!  I've never been one to listen to podcasts much, until I discovered The Holy Post.  Now, I can't wait for Wednesdays!

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15 minutes ago, AngelaR said:

I have been, frankly, HORRIFIED at people I knew and loved growing up, for actually, the last 4 years...a whole bunch of Southern Baptist missionaries, and "God-fearing" missionary kids that I knew all my life on the mission field.  These are people I looked up to and held up as examples of "godly" men and women, sacrificing and pouring out their lives for black and brown people...and yet they not only overlooked and pooh-poohed Trump's sexual bruh-ha-has, but they worshipped at the feet of the most blatantly racist president we've had in a long time.  I  have begun to think that what motivated my missionary "Aunts and Uncles"  was not, in fact, a burden for lost souls, but a mere desire to spread American "exceptionalism" far and wide.  I really just DO NOT understand how they can purport to be followers  of Jesus, and support the former president, the carnage he's wrought, not just in the Republican party, although there's plenty of that, but in the entire political and social system, the lies, the denial of reality...I just don't get it at ALL.  I feel utterly shell-shocked...particularly since the pandemic started.  There were so many people that I'd come to know and respect at our church (we are military and move a lot, so we'd only been at our church for 2 years).  I was really impressed with them, and truly wanted to be part of that community, to allow others in to my life, to grow closer to Jesus among these people. Then, Covid hit, and at first the church followed the guidelines--online services only.  But then they started meeting together again in small groups with no masks and no social distancing; and  during church, allowing masks to be taken off after the singing.  Then, several of our friends from there, along with the "Covid is a hoax" mindset, began echoing all the rubbish around the election...and I am just absolutely shaken.  I don't want to set foot in that church again, although it would probably be best for our kids' social lives if we did, because they were a part of the children's ministry.  But right now, I have the attitude of, "If you supported Trump, or didn't bother to mask up during the Pandemic and treat the virus seriously, I do not want you in my life."  I have better things to do with the few(er) remaining years of my life than to put up with that insane B.S.  

And yes, your DH is right...but I have been kind of thinking over the last 4 years that Jesus is actively separating the sheep from the goats, and making it apparent to us all.  Until this last year, I was completely unaware of American Christian Nationalism...but now I seem to spot it everywhere.  And it's a relief to be able to clearly tell myself, "That is Christian Nationalism, it is not of Christ."    

A wonderful podcast I've discovered in which they discuss such things is the Holy Post Podcast.  It's really great to hear the perspectives of other Christians who are likeminded concerning the events of these past few years.  I find it really helpful to understand what's going on.  I'm reading several books they've discussed on there, including Kristen Du Mez' "Jesus and John Wayne" which really touches on how Trumpism has actually been built into evangelical society, it's not actually a new thing.  Am also reading "The Making of Biblical Womanhood" by Beth Allison Barr...also helpful.  

This is so parallel to my experience except that I don't move often. I didn't grow up SBC, but I've been SBC (two churches) for about 19 or 20 years. It changed a LOT in that time. 

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47 minutes ago, Faith-manor said:

The charismatic leader thing is problematic as well as the "no true Scotsman" theory of salvation which leads to people believing they have the corner on the market of who is and is not a Christian. Add confirmation bias onto it as the more extreme churches allow no dissent or at least really seek to marginalize dissenters, and you have this perfect storm of being vulnerable to radical, wild ideas not rooted in real evidence nor in mainstream interpretation of their scriptures. And for what it is worth, my husband is still a Christian, a progressive one but not particularly far left of center, and this is what he thinks has happened.

I'm not familiar with the no true scotsman theory.  Explain further please?

18 minutes ago, AngelaR said:

And yes, your DH is right...but I have been kind of thinking over the last 4 years that Jesus is actively separating the sheep from the goats, and making it apparent to us all.  Until this last year, I was completely unaware of American Christian Nationalism...but now I seem to spot it everywhere.  And it's a relief to be able to clearly tell myself, "That is Christian Nationalism, it is not of Christ."    

A wonderful podcast I've discovered in which they discuss such things is the Holy Post Podcast.  It's really great to hear the perspectives of other Christians who are likeminded concerning the events of these past few years.  I find it really helpful to understand what's going on.  I'm reading several books they've discussed on there, including Kristen Du Mez' "Jesus and John Wayne" which really touches on how Trumpism has actually been built into evangelical society, it's not actually a new thing.  Am also reading "The Making of Biblical Womanhood" by Beth Allison Barr...also helpful.  

I was just having a conversation with my missionary friend about the same thing...  Is this the separating of the wheat from the tares, or is it going to be something far more obvious, the judgment day that I imagined when I was first taught about it thing?

 

I am so glad I started this thread.  Just knowing that others feel the same way as I do goes a long way.

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9 minutes ago, kbutton said:

I agree with so much of this, but no one I know in this mindset would agree at all, and I do know so many to be humble, faithful Christians. But I think this will destroy their witness, and I think they just don't see that.

Do I think some are only into the culture? Sure, but I think that's the minority. 

I am not comfortable casting most of the lot as unregenerate, though I am sure that a percentage are. 

I think they put all their eggs in one basket and won't back down. They didn't see the trap, and now they like the trappings. 

If this is too political, I can remove it, but I think it's been okay to say this in the past...In 2016, I watched people express concerns before voting day, but they all felt they had to grit their teeth and vote for their party. Somewhere between election Tuesday and the first Sunday afterward, they went from gritting their teeth to being all in--at one point, I wouldn't have been surprised if someone had literally suggested fireworks after the service to celebrate. It was an absolutely and totally freaky about face--very chilling. (And I will totally grant that some people have kept their skepticism and concerns, but not the vast, vast majority. Once they made their choice, they were not going to feel bad about it, and they found ways to justify that in their mind.)

I think so many people STILL don't see the trap.  They're still true believers.  It's astonishing how common it is.

I don't think it's too political either. I think somewhere in the midst of everything that's happened in the past 5 years, and finally after Jan 6th we've decided politics means the sort of things you'd debate in a government class, not dangerous and obvious conspiracy theory lies.

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The no true Scotsman theory of salvation is that one particular very specific Christian theology is the only right one and anyone who believes something different cannot possibly be saved. So some groups have said Catholics can't be Christians, Calvinism vs. Armenian, etc. I myself, back in Christian days, was told by folks at the Reformed Church that I was not saved and could never be saved because I was part of the Methodist tradition. And on and on, down to whole denominations with even similar theology on paper, but with differing practices or implementation calling the others unsaved.I watched a dear Moravian woman being told by an IFB person that she could not be saved because x,y,z, and I piped up to say that the most Jesus like person I could see in the room was actually the Moravian lady. Some charismatic have said those who do not speak in tongues cannot be saved because they do not exhibit the Spirit, and on and on, even a few really fundamentalist Catholics saying that Orthodox believers are not true believers because of icons or whatever. The worst I know of locally was a Nazarene pastor that claimed absolutely no one but people who attended a Nazarene church could go to heaven. So it like that argument about what percentage of Scottish blood, or Scottish tradition, or Scottish whatever is required to call oneself a Scot. It is a lot of "othering".

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38 minutes ago, KSera said:

Definitely not the only one. This has been an incredibly disheartening time, and I truly don’t know how Christianity is going to weather it, at least in the US. I think it may take a generation or more to come back from, unless it just keeps going this direction. None of the young people I know want to identify as Christians any more, because the name has been so tainted and they don’t want to be associated with that in any way. It bears no resemblance to the teachings of Jesus. Certainly there’s not much to be appealing about it right now to people viewing it from the outside. It’s so sad. 
 

Exactly this. And who can blame them? 😢

We won't.  The US church is going to go the way of the European church.  

I just wish the name of Jesus hadn't been tarnished so much.  

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I agree it is really disturbing and shocking.  Possibly the most disturbing thing I've ever experienced in my lifetime.  I've read so much about WWII and how the German Christians were suckered into supporting Hitler and wondered how in the world they could be caught up in all that.  Wow.  And now here we are.  I honestly can't quite articulate the root of it, except I think it was decades in the making.  Really sweet people I love have been caught up in this.  I'd recommend the book The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd.  He is my pastor and I'm so fortunate to be part of that community.

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1 hour ago, kbutton said:

Adding to this...my church wants to focus on the Gospel and put all of this to the side, but my pastor has said from the pulpit that he is nationalist. He recently called out a local person (one that I think might go to my church, but it's big enough I don't know everyone), thanking this person for his service. In doing so, he shared a link about how this person was instrumental in bringing a speaker to the local women's political group, and the speaker is a known conspiracy theorist on Covid and the election. This conspiracy theorist has single-handedly put the reputation of Christians in the sewer on FB. I see a lot of people who maybe thought Christians had some funny ideas but were pretty harmless. Now they think Christians are dangerous and terrible.

It's so sad, and I do believe it's part of the deception in the end times. Ironically, the deceived think their actions are fending off the end times and the antichrist in particular.

As a now agnostic who was raised Catholic and who has always had lots of Christian friends, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of Christians as a group as either harmless or dangerous/terrible because I’ve personally experienced such diversity within the group. Although I’m guessing some others, such as those in the LGBTQ community, might have thought the latter for quite awhile. 

I honestly can’t say I’ve been surprised by any of what has happened in the last several years. Saddened yes, but not surprised. I have never been able to comprehend the absolute certainty that some Christians have that their beliefs are the only true and correct ones. Nor coming from a Catholic background could I understand some Christians following and idolizing self-appointed famous Christian leaders. So it’s not remotely surprising to me that that kind of extremism and certainty and idolizing of bad leaders has now spread to their beliefs around other things, including politics. It all just seems an extension of the basic in-group out-group phenomenon that is as old as time and the fact that many people seem to have an innate need to live in a black and white world because the grey is too uncertain, difficult, and scary. And it’s occurring during a time of ever increasing diversity on multiple levels in the US where the beliefs of the long dominant group of white, straight Christians are no longer unquestionably accepted as the norm. Change is hard and scary and clinging to your in-group, even as it becomes more extreme, and blaming and attacking your out-group, seems like a very much to be expected outcome if we look at history.

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5 minutes ago, J-rap said:

  I'd recommend the book The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd.  He is my pastor and I'm so fortunate to be part of that community.

Oh wow. You are fortunate.

Some of Greg Boyd's books have meant much to me and my faith walk. (Haven't read this one--I'll check it out).

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Posted (edited)

@Frances, I really want to learn how to be more inclusive of a multitude of Christian viewpoints (and critiques) while also not mish-mashing them together. Clearly we can't all be right all the time, but that goes both ways, right? That means I am going to be wrong sometimes. I can give grace and leave more to God, I hope. 

ETA: I have learned a great deal on this forum from people I disagree with, from progressive Christians to agnostics, to atheists, to people more conservative than me.

Edited by kbutton
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6 minutes ago, kbutton said:

ETA: I have learned a great deal on this forum from people I disagree with, from progressive Christians to agnostics, to atheists, to people more conservative than me.

It's a lovely, thoughtful forum for people who are into that kind of thing 😉 . 

(I don't really belong on this thread. Just reading along!) 

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Political Tribes by Amy Chua (yep, Tiger Mom) is very useful information if you want to understand how political identity, bases, and coalitions work.  It's going to be required reading next year for my 16 year old.

And if you've never read American Nations, it explains major subcultures in the US. He focuses on the prioritization of values among each group, which touches on how to appeal to each sub-group.  There's a cheat sheet, https://www.businessinsider.com/the-11-nations-of-the-united-states-2015-7but you really need to read the book to get a clear picture of the cultures.

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Posted (edited)
19 minutes ago, Frances said:

As a now agnostic who was raised Catholic and who has always had lots of Christian friends, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of Christians as a group as either harmless or dangerous/terrible because I’ve personally experienced such diversity within the group. Although I’m guessing some others, such as those in the LGBTQ community, might have thought the latter for quite awhile. 

I honestly can’t say I’ve been surprised by any of what has happened in the last several years. Saddened yes, but not surprised. I have never been able to comprehend the absolute certainty that some Christians have that their beliefs are the only true and correct ones. Nor coming from a Catholic background could I understand some Christians following and idolizing self-appointed famous Christian leaders. So it’s not remotely surprising to me that that kind of extremism and certainty and idolizing of bad leaders has now spread to their beliefs around other things, including politics. It all just seems an extension of the basic in-group out-group phenomenon that is as old as time and the fact that many people seem to have an innate need to live in a black and white world because the grey is too uncertain, difficult, and scary. And it’s occurring during a time of ever increasing diversity on multiple levels in the US where the beliefs of the long dominant group of white, straight Christians are no longer unquestionably accepted as the norm. Change is hard and scary and clinging to your in-group, even as it becomes more extreme, and blaming and attacking your out-group, seems like a very much to be expected outcome if we look at history.

Me neither.  

 

15 minutes ago, sbgrace said:

Oh wow. You are fortunate.

Some of Greg Boyd's books have meant much to me and my faith walk. (Haven't read this one--I'll check it out).

Yes, I really am fortunate!  Their church philosophy and focus on just the pure gospel message (Love your neighbor) has really changed my faith and my life.  

Another book I'd recommend that is so good is Benefit of the Doubt.  (Also by Greg Boyd).  

Greg is such a humble guy himself, and has often admitted that he doesn't know anything 100%...  But that this seems to make the most sense to him.  (He is a prolific reader and a really brilliant thinker.  He learns new languages just so he can read material in its original language.  He also has pretty severe ADHD and I believe is on the spectrum, and comes off as very down-to-earth and human.  He didn't start out a Christian.)

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Posted (edited)
26 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

It's a lovely, thoughtful forum for people who are into that kind of thing 😉 . 

(I don't really belong on this thread. Just reading along!) 

My first job out of college was a place for that as well. I miss those folks, but I like the people here too! 

ETA: Imagine this, for example. A non-religious guy and his astronomy society friends host a sky-gazing party, complete with a tour that includes a talk/show-and-tell of a historic telescope outfitted with lenses from a historic lens crafter, for a co-worker's 6-day creationist club, and a good time is had by all. True story. One of many. (I attended this event, but I was not the founder or member of either club, just in case you're wondering.) 

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I am a Christian and a Republican/Libertarian.  I don't vote for ministers.  I vote for political leaders. My church has plenty of both Republicans and Democrats.  I certainly do not agree with many of the political stances of the denomination but my church is the largest church by far in our area (not a mega church by any means but certainly the largest and the only growing one).  Probably because most of us keep politics out of the church (truly) and actually have a more conservative- i.e. Biblical- message that is preached.  

In this state, I am probably considered a moderate- I was against the abortion law that was last passed --- more so because it wasted about a million state dollars in defending the law but also because it was too harsh.  I am for a lottery, for medical marijuana, and was against Roy Moore and don't like my lt. gov who was and still is anti masking even after getting COVID.   But I will not be going back to a Sunday School class I used to attend even when I do start attending church again.  I got tired of digs about President Trump in that class and those who voted for him- I didn't think it belonged at all.  

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Posted (edited)

Katy,

 

 they’re just people, just broken imperfect people. We take people and we stick them up on a pedestal. 
 

You know, as a homeschooling mom, I’ve been shoved up on a pedestal - not because I want to be there and not because I held myself up there, but because people wanted me to be something I wasn’t. They ascribes characteristics. I can’t tell you the number of people who have said, “You’re such a great mom,” or, “You’re so patient,” without knowing me for a week, let alone a year, or a lifetime. I hate it. They don’t want to know ME. They want someone to aspire to be. I’m not that person. My mom laughs her butt off at the idea that patience is a thing I possess. They’re just human. And their ideas that they espoused, embraced, believed in wholeheartedly? Often, not always, but they truly believe what they’ve attached to... but living up to high principles? Hard. Think of it like embracing TWTM and then finding the actual 100% living it out? Hard. 
 

Humans are just that - humans. Christ understood it. Otherwise, rather than His torturous death on a cross? He’d have been like, “Totally aceivable folks, put your back into it.”

 

ETA: Covid and politics this past year very nearly caused me to split ways with many believers. But I needed *I* needed to take a stand and NOT fight every fight. What was my priority? Christ. If so, could I afford to bicker over politics or social issues? Because otherwise how do people know what is most important to me? Lately the FDA made a massive choice over Nurown for ALS. There is a movement forward about the FDA #dyingwaiting in the ALS community and anti-ALS Assiciation. I’ve opted not to smother my platform, aka FB, with it. I just have to choose my thing, and I think a lot of believers are confuddled about their identity. 

Edited by BlsdMama
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All I keep thinking through all of this is how grateful I am to be politically neutral and part of a faith that stresses that.  
 

I read a lot of historical novels in my youth and I was always struck by how one day everything was fine in a society and the next day it completely fell apart and neighbor turned against neighbor.  I do admit I get that feeling about the current environment. 

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Just now, Scarlett said:

I read a lot of historical novels in my youth and I was always struck by how one day everything was fine in a society and the next day it completely fell apart and neighbor turned against neighbor.  I do admit I get that feeling about the current environment. 

I know, right? I get that feeling, too. 

And it's not just historical novels... like, I've been reading Dorothy Sayers' novels, and all is pretty normal in them (well, they mention the first war, but it's all in the rearview mirror), and then you realize they are set in the 20s and 30s and things were about to not be normal in Europe at all 😕 . 

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1 minute ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I don't think anyone should be surprised that things turned out like this. The seeds were sown a long time ago. 

We lost our church last year and I know we're not alone in that. 

 

I agree that the seeds were absolutely sown a long time ago, but I admit I'm still shocked at how it has played it these past few years!

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1 minute ago, J-rap said:

I agree that the seeds were absolutely sown a long time ago, but I admit I'm still shocked at how it has played it these past few years!

Yes, me too, but I've become aware that I just wasn't paying attention before because it didn't affect me. 

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1 hour ago, AngelaR said:

I love David French!  He and Phil Vischer help make so much sense of all this insanity!  Also, I hadn't read your post when I was typing mine!  I've never been one to listen to podcasts much, until I discovered The Holy Post.  Now, I can't wait for Wednesdays!

Be sure to follow up on the books, articles and podcasts written by their guests. 

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Frances said:

As a now agnostic who was raised Catholic and who has always had lots of Christian friends, I don’t know that I’ve ever thought of Christians as a group as either harmless or dangerous/terrible because I’ve personally experienced such diversity within the group. Although I’m guessing some others, such as those in the LGBTQ community, might have thought the latter for quite awhile. 

I honestly can’t say I’ve been surprised by any of what has happened in the last several years. Saddened yes, but not surprised. I have never been able to comprehend the absolute certainty that some Christians have that their beliefs are the only true and correct ones. Nor coming from a Catholic background could I understand some Christians following and idolizing self-appointed famous Christian leaders. So it’s not remotely surprising to me that that kind of extremism and certainty and idolizing of bad leaders has now spread to their beliefs around other things, including politics. It all just seems an extension of the basic in-group out-group phenomenon that is as old as time and the fact that many people seem to have an innate need to live in a black and white world because the grey is too uncertain, difficult, and scary. And it’s occurring during a time of ever increasing diversity on multiple levels in the US where the beliefs of the long dominant group of white, straight Christians are no longer unquestionably accepted as the norm. Change is hard and scary and clinging to your in-group, even as it becomes more extreme, and blaming and attacking your out-group, seems like a very much to be expected outcome if we look at history.

I just have to echo almost every word of this except I was brought up in SBC traditon and also now consider myself agnostic. Watching from the outside, so to speak, I will echo the disappointment the OP mentioned. In fact, I will go even further to say I watch with horror (and am leaning more to an atheist viewpoint the more I see of mankind).

My main reason for commenting is that I think there's an entwined issue of Christianity (and the paths/actions being discussed in this particular thread/the trend of Christian Nationalism) and homeschooling. I think it's another factor because it does/will affect what others (individuals, universities, etc...) will correlate in their minds when you mention hsing or your child tells someone they were hsed. It may not be the correct assumption on their part, but with the rise and power of those voices, it may well be the assumption you and/or your dc will have to counteract/overcome if it doesn't apply to you. I am well past our (secular) hsing years but the current pitch of these voices make me loath to mention that we hsed, fwiw.

This paragraph is probably political, so I will just leave a link for those who want to read it (not to discuss here and please don't read it if an exploration of the religious/political/hsing ball of yarn is going to upset you); it's a link to an article discussing how these more extreme religious/hsing voices are working diligently to continue to expand their voices and mission sphere: https://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/how-homeschoolers-plan-to-take-over-the-world/

Edited by Stacia
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4 minutes ago, Stacia said:

I just have to echo almost every word of this except I was brought up in SBC traditon and also now consider myself agnostic. Watching from the outside, so to speak, I will echo the disappointment the OP mentioned. In fact, I will go even further to say I watch with horror (and am leaning more to an athiest viewpoint the more I see of mankind).

My main reason for commenting is that I think there's an entwined issue of Christianity (and the paths/actions being discussed in this particular thread/the trend of Christian Nationalism) and homeschooling. I think it's another factor because it does/will affect what others (individuals, universities, etc...) will correlate in their minds when you mention hsing or your child tells someone they were hsed. It may not be the correct assumption on their part, but with the rise and power of those voices, it may well be the assumption you and/or your dc will have to counteract/overcome if it doesn't apply to you. I am well past our (secular) hsing years but the current pitch of these voices make me loath to mention that we hsed, fwiw.

This paragraph is probably political, so I will just leave a link for those who want to read it (not to discuss here and please don't read it if an exploration of the religious/political/hsing ball of yarn is going to upset you); it's a link to an article discussing how these more extreme religious/hsing voices are working diligently to continue to expand their voices and mission sphere: https://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/how-homeschoolers-plan-to-take-over-the-world/

Thank you for posting the link, I had no idea that organization even existed.

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Posted (edited)

As someone who is sort of looking from the outside (I grew up Christian, and have only positive things to say about that as well as about my experience working in Quaker schools, but also am not a churchgoer at this point), I find that it's both surprising that white evangelical America went so far down the rabbit hole of conspiracy theories and pure hate in the last few years... and not in the least surprising. It's funny how those two things sit together in my head. But that's just it... all the seeds were there and it was so predictable. But also, shocking in its extremity.

My mother has been trying to get more anti-racism work going at her very white church. She's an ordained minister, but didn't spend most of her career in church work. I grew up in a very religious leftie Baptist church - like it's a place where William Barber is routinely invited to guest preach. This church that she's a member of now is also sort of religious left, but not like that - they're more moderate. They spend a lot of time patting themselves on the back for being good liberals, then basically don't do much. But a few people said something as she was part of a group prodding them to do more where they were basically like, "Christian nationalism is not our problem." And that... I'm just like... surely this is every Christian's problem right now.

A couple of people have alluded to the idea that the world itself is more polarized, but there's also something very specific going on with American Christianity right now and I feel like there's a lot of soul searching, especially in white evangelical circles. And I'm curious to see how it all works out. 

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1 hour ago, Stacia said:

I just have to echo almost every word of this except I was brought up in SBC traditon and also now consider myself agnostic. Watching from the outside, so to speak, I will echo the disappointment the OP mentioned. In fact, I will go even further to say I watch with horror (and am leaning more to an athiest viewpoint the more I see of mankind).

My main reason for commenting is that I think there's an entwined issue of Christianity (and the paths/actions being discussed in this particular thread/the trend of Christian Nationalism) and homeschooling. I think it's another factor because it does/will affect what others (individuals, universities, etc...) will correlate in their minds when you mention hsing or your child tells someone they were hsed. It may not be the correct assumption on their part, but with the rise and power of those voices, it may well be the assumption you and/or your dc will have to counteract/overcome if it doesn't apply to you. I am well past our (secular) hsing years but the current pitch of these voices make me loath to mention that we hsed, fwiw.

This paragraph is probably political, so I will just leave a link for those who want to read it (not to discuss here and please don't read it if an exploration of the religious/political/hsing ball of yarn is going to upset you); it's a link to an article discussing how these more extreme religious/hsing voices are working diligently to continue to expand their voices and mission sphere: https://rlstollar.wordpress.com/2021/05/03/how-homeschoolers-plan-to-take-over-the-world/

What's so dismaying about that article - and thank you for posting it, as I also had not heard of this organization or their outreach in Russia - is how many of those names are everywhere. Brian Ray has been on NPR talking up homeschooling and NHERI multiple times in the last year and he's speaking at the Harvard online conference on homeschooling that is ongoing right now. With friends like these, who needs enemies.

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7 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I don't think anyone should be surprised that things turned out like this. The seeds were sown a long time ago. 

 

Yes. As someone who left the SBC in part due to post-9/11 nationalism I kind of feel like anyone who is surprised by any of this hasn't been paying much attention. And even 9/11 wasn't the beginning of it, but it definitely accelerated it, or opened the door wider for it.

And I feel very sorry for the good Christians who are dealing with it now. It's so hard and hurtful (and many other emotions) when you feel like--when you know in the very marrow of your bones--that your church and your peeps are headed down a very, very wrong path and you're powerless to stop them.

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, Farrar said:

I think it's another factor because it does/will affect what others (individuals, universities, etc...) will correlate in their minds when you mention hsing or your child tells someone they were h

This.  It was already like this but what is detailed in the article is horrifying.  My oldest on his first date at engineering school - "so, um, what do you think about evolution?" Oldest: "yeah, we're not those homeschoolers."  (Yep, they went on to date throughout college and have been married for 7 years, kinda fit the model but you know, young love.)

Ten and more years ago, when people asked why we homeschool I would give my true reasons: how we could follow our passions, dig deeply into subjects, spend more time with each other.  Over time I began to be more defensive "oh the schools here are great, we're secular, we just had lots of fun, my oldest was a bit hyper and didn't want him medicated," because I began to realize that people were rarely asking that as a real question and more to figure out where we stood on social issues.  As time has gone by and the clarity of right-wing white flight to homeschooling has emerged it's become more difficult.  

Sorry, weird quote problem, the above was from @Stacia

 

 

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Never heard of the group but have no issues with expanding homeschooling.  And no, none of the homeschooling I saw in my 20 years had anything to do with white flight.  The homeschool circles I was in were more multi-racial and multi-cultural overall than many of the schools. And I certainly wasn't homeschooling due to white flight.  

Tje article seems on the hysterical side.  As I said, I am considered moderate in my state- = whoever wrote that article would probably consider me extreme for some reason.  That is because a lot of people have turned to calling people names instead of conversing with those they disagree with.  

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9 hours ago, Faith-manor said:

The no true Scotsman theory of salvation is that one particular very specific Christian theology is the only right one and anyone who believes something different cannot possibly be saved. So some groups have said Catholics can't be Christians, Calvinism vs. Armenian, etc. I myself, back in Christian days, was told by folks at the Reformed Church that I was not saved and could never be saved because I was part of the Methodist tradition. And on and on, down to whole denominations with even similar theology on paper, but with differing practices or implementation calling the others unsaved.I watched a dear Moravian woman being told by an IFB person that she could not be saved because x,y,z, and I piped up to say that the most Jesus like person I could see in the room was actually the Moravian lady. Some charismatic have said those who do not speak in tongues cannot be saved because they do not exhibit the Spirit, and on and on, even a few really fundamentalist Catholics saying that Orthodox believers are not true believers because of icons or whatever. The worst I know of locally was a Nazarene pastor that claimed absolutely no one but people who attended a Nazarene church could go to heaven. So it like that argument about what percentage of Scottish blood, or Scottish tradition, or Scottish whatever is required to call oneself a Scot. It is a lot of "othering".

I thought the no true Scotsman was about saying "they aren't a REAL Scotsman/Christian/whatever" when they did something wrong.     To let that group off the hook on trying to make things better since anyone who did anything wrong was really outside of their group.  

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2 minutes ago, Wheres Toto said:

I thought the no true Scotsman was about saying "they aren't a REAL Scotsman/Christian/whatever" when they did something wrong.     To let that group off the hook on trying to make things better since anyone who did anything wrong was really outside of their group.  

That is part of it, but it has morphed and grown until not only do some churches claim a once Christian was never a Christian due to something they have done, now it has become whole groups of people who claim to be Christian can't be Christian because a-z, with claims of " we have the only real truth" becoming a popular mantra. So it has grown and gotten worse to the point that in some Christian groups,.no one outside that group could possibly be a Christian. We are seeing this war locally as well as regionally and from what acquaintances in other parts of the country have posted online and in personal communication, it seems to be an exploding problem all over. This past year seems to be the worst with claims that one could not possibly be "saved" if one did not vote for candidate X or support legislation Y or yada yada to the point that in some churches around our side of the state, people were thrown out of membership in mainstream as well as smaller church groups for being vocal against certain policies or politicians as well as for not being willing to sign extremist statements such as "I believe America should be a theocracy" or " I believe god hates all LGBTQ persons" or .....fill in the blanks, and then these statements were followed up with "you are not a true Christian unless you sign these statements". My mother in law was just excommunicated from a Wesleyan denomination church for this, and while the denomination leadership is not happy about the church engaging in this practice, they also will not intervene which says a lot about how far this is going.

In the Methodist church, we have traditionalist churches calling out the progressive churches and claiming that anyone who attends a progressive church is not a true Christian. That denomination will split over the issue of homosexual ordination and gay marriage in the coming year, though this has been an issue with them since the 70's. The difference is that at one time, in general, churches sought to be more reconciliation - agree to disagree in love - and now it is just vicious name calling on both sides, and has even descended into family against family in some places and again " not a real Christian" statements being used.

None of this bodes well for the religion as outsiders watch it implode, and I don't just mean Methodism, but across the Christian spectrum. I do think the U.S. could end up a largely atheist and agnostic country much like France. The younger generations want nothing to do with this mess.

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11 minutes ago, TravelingChris said:

Never heard of the group but have no issues with expanding homeschooling.  And no, none of the homeschooling I saw in my 20 years had anything to do with white flight.  The homeschool circles I was in were more multi-racial and multi-cultural overall than many of the schools. And I certainly wasn't homeschooling due to white flight.  

Tje article seems on the hysterical side.  As I said, I am considered moderate in my state- = whoever wrote that article would probably consider me extreme for some reason.  That is because a lot of people have turned to calling people names instead of conversing with those they disagree with.  

I am concerned that he is “our voice” at the Harvard conference. The conference has a distinct anti-homeschool bias and inviting this guy to defend it seems a little convenient. They’ve set us all up to look like controlling crazy people.  No main stream homeschool defenders.  Why wasn’t SWB invited?  Or Pudwa?  Or even Jay Wyle who collects independent university studies on homeschooling in addition to making curriculum?

 It’s so disheartening.  Every word in that article is exactly what the ban-homeschooling people are saying we all are with no one there to refute them.
 

The timing of the Duggar thing just feeds right into it too.  

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10 hours ago, J-rap said:

I agree it is really disturbing and shocking.  Possibly the most disturbing thing I've ever experienced in my lifetime.  I've read so much about WWII and how the German Christians were suckered into supporting Hitler and wondered how in the world they could be caught up in all that.  Wow.  And now here we are.  I honestly can't quite articulate the root of it, except I think it was decades in the making.  Really sweet people I love have been caught up in this.  I'd recommend the book The Myth of a Christian Nation by Greg Boyd.  He is my pastor and I'm so fortunate to be part of that community.

I read Bonhoeffer last year and had the same thoughts about the American church going the way of the pre WW2 German church. But also, ironically, smh over the fact that the author of Bonhoeffer apparently jumped off the ledge himself. 

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33 minutes ago, Wheres Toto said:

I thought the no true Scotsman was about saying "they aren't a REAL Scotsman/Christian/whatever" when they did something wrong.     To let that group off the hook on trying to make things better since anyone who did anything wrong was really outside of their group.  

Same.

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12 minutes ago, Seasider too said:

I read Bonhoeffer last year and had the same thoughts about the American church going the way of the pre WW2 German church. But also, ironically, smh over the fact that the author of Bonhoeffer apparently jumped off the ledge himself. 

There are plenty of better Bonhoeffer scholars.  Or read Bonhoeffer’s own books.  Eric Metaxas is not a representative sample. 

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Disclosure: Read this post knowing I am an conservative Evangelical whose background is SBC, Independent Baptist (not IFB), Bible Churches, and Calvary Chapel (briefly.)

All of this is accelerating the rise of the Dones.  Dones are Christians leaving organized religion, but haven't left the faith. Often they're counted among the Nones, but only in surveys that aren't well written. Figuring out how to reengage them into a local community of believers is the tricky part. I'm almost Done myself and I spend time thinking and reading about it. 

I think an important component will be figuring a version of Christianity that isn't so denominationally oriented, but has more depth than the typical Evangelical non-denom church, which isn't easy to do in practical terms because practices are inherently...well... practical. The American church as a whole, particularly non-liturgical branches, are more removed from the idea of the Church Universal. Evangelicalism is so very very new compared to other branches and is so focused on separating itself out from other branches that there's no sense of unity among the different branches of Christianity here. It's critical that all believers understand The Spirit has been regenerating people in different branches of Christianity and we're all part of the same Body of Christ.

That's a huge hurdle to get over and it's going to matter as this Christendom comes crumbling down like it did in much of Western Europe. Americans have the advantage of living in a culture that highly values adaptability and innovation, so those left in the faith who aren't staunch traditionlists (I defined that upthread in a previous post) are better positioned adapt than people in other more conformist cultures.

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Good point about the dones. 3 of my 4 adult children are dones. They are skeptical that anything could woo them back to organized Christianity.

I do think that if more dones were more easily identified, it might just maybe give the American church a wake up call just to see how many they have alienated. But then again, they might just circle the wagons, claim the no true Scotsman, and keep right on chugging along in their mindsets.

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