The Making of a Post-Christian Culture


I found some notes I took in the margin of a short-term missions publication my church put out, but I don’t remember who delivered the address the notes cover. I’d really like to give credit because these thoughts made a lot of sense to me when I heard them originally and just as much sense again, once I figured out what my chicken-scratchings said.

Maybe it’s just me, but there are times I think an idea is brilliant, but later, when my mind has moved on, I’m not sure why I got so excited earlier. I might even think the ideas were just off track.

Not this time.

Here’s the premise. American culture is on a slide from Christian to post-Christian (some of us think we’re already past the dividing line and are getting comfortably adjusted to the post-Christian side).

The person explaining this idea went on to say, the culture leaves churches (and my notes say “schools” too, so I wonder if this was some address to Christian educators) that hold to strict moral teaching.

Thus, Christians respond by saying we are losing the culture because of our insistence on morality, so we’ll downplay the moral demands of our faith, in order to win more.

But this view is in error. The real issue was never strict moral teaching but a divorce of morality from holiness and a love of God.

One of the once popular phrases used to describe Christianity was, It’s not a religion, it’s a relationship. Well, it’s also a religion, which is not a dirty word. But somehow, in the shuffle, even with people saying such things on Facebook as they are Christ-followers or in love with Jesus, we have forgotten what a real relationship looks like.

When a single girl meets a guy who sets her heart aflutter, she would not be content knowing his name and address. She would not be content having 30-second conversations before meals. She would not ignore his invitations to spend more time with him. If she knows he’s a Dodger fan, she wouldn’t give him a Yankee baseball cap. In short, she wants to know him and to acculturate to his likes and dislikes.

So if I am in a relationship with God, I should be interested in who He is. I should want to hear the stories of His past, what He’s done, what He plans to do, what He hopes, what He loves. And I should want to fit into His world. I should do what He wants, especially since He loves me perfectly and has promised to do what is good for me.

Morality, then, has nothing to do with compulsion. It is a free expression of love. First God’s love for me because He gave His moral law as a way to help me navigate this sin-cursed world. But also my love for God as I demonstrate with my life that I trust that He does in fact know what is good and right for me.

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