What is holding Western Christianity back? Writing from a kiwi (NZ) perspective, I keep coming back to 3 issues that I think are at the core of what is wrong or disfunctional about Western Christianity, and why the church in the west is not ‘succeeding’, and why we don’t seem to be making much progress.
Western Christians (WCx) seem to hold to the past, and be unable to make much progress. Intransigence = “refusal to change one’s views”. Many WCx hold to old (modern, post enlightenment) ways of interpreting the scriptures, and old (early-mid 20th Centurty) interpretations.
One area in which this is prominent is the LGBQTI+ ‘debate’. While is is definitely still an issue in itself, it is also a symptom of a much deeper problem, relating to things like how the Bible is understood (scientific, rulebook), how we view our role in society (moral guardians?), how we view our history (early 20th Century views are perceived as being what Christians of all times have thought), and our inability to grapple with important issues, or allow ourselves or other people to change. With this viewpoint, there is no ‘trajectory of scripture’, but rather WCx act as the guardians of perceived ‘permanent’ views.
The LGBQTI+ ‘debate’ is prominent in the context. It is worth guessing / predicting whether the church will change – especially whether the church of the future will accept & bless gay marriage. And based on this prediction, we can see which side of history we are on now. My prediction is that the church will change – for people in their teens and twenties today (both Cx & non-Cx), this is generally a no-brainer issue – of course gay marriage is OK. So I think the church will change – in the next 20 or 30 or 40 years. It might require a generation or two (of intransigent stalwarts) to die out. And there will be a lot of pain in the process – many conflicted gay christians are depressed, self-harming & suicidal because of the current dominant church position – this pain, hurt & death will carry on unfortunately, until the dominant church position changes. So my prediction is that the dominant church position will change – and I want to be on the right side of history, because I believe it is correct – this change is good & right, but toooo slow.
2. Idiotic View of God
We have a stupid view of God. A friend recently posted on Facebook “I’m more loving than my God” – I knew what he meant.
The dominant WCx view of God includes
– permanent suffering in hell for the majority of the world