Saturday, July 26, 2008

American Heresy

is the title of Ross Douthat's post over on It relates to my post below regarding how culture shapes the church, rather than the church shaping culture, but looks specifically at at the American Church. Here's an excerpt:

The people who read Joel Osteen and Joyce Meyer and The Prayer of Jabez may be more politically conservative then the people who read A Wing and a Prayer, and read certain passages of Genesis and Leviticus more literally, but the theology they're imbibing is roughly the same sort of therapeutic mush. Indeed, the big difference between the prosperity gospel that Osteen and his ilk are peddling and Schori's liberal Episcopalianism has less to do with any theological principle and more to do with what aspect of American life they want God to validate.

Take a look.


  1. So if they would just adopt your interpretation of the bible well then they would be ok I guess because their interpretation is of course wrong and if only they would listen to God like your church does than they would see the error of their ways.

  2. I linked to Ross Douthat's post because the problem is universal and not limited to one political view or denomination.
    If one's view of scripture is seen primarily through one's own cultural and political views, then one's view of scripture is bound to be unfocused or distorted. It is something we must all guard against, through reading scripture and those who've gone before us and dealt with these very issues, by living in Christian community and through prayer. I never said that I have it all together or all correct. I am, however, aware of the problem and we who take the Bible seriously must address it.

  3. That you think the problem is universal only makes the dilemma worse. As you say you are not always correct. How do you know you are correct about Joel Orsteen or Joyce Meyer? You may very well come to find out they were correct all along and you were wrong once you free yourself from from your cultural and political views if you can ever be sure you have.

    What Christian community is the one that is successfully dealing with this issue through community and prayer the Jehovahs Witnesses? Why not? How can you be sure one way or the other? Why not Joyce Meyers? Doesn't her church pray too? How can you be sure you won't find out you are currently wrong about being right? I'm sure you have been wrong before.

    If the truth was being expressed through culture why would you want to reject it? What basis do you appeal to to determine what is true and whether or not the church is affecting or being affected by culture? The bible? So does Joel Orsteen and the Jehovahs Witnesses and apparantly so do you and yet assuming you aren't a JW none of you agree. Which community is right? Because that one should be influencing culture and should be the one we are in. You ever think your premise is flawed in some ways. Maybe God had a better plan.

    Glad you are aware of the problem and addressing it seriously because you are right it must be addressed because how will you know what church has properly affected the culture of been affected by it unless you know of an absolute source for truth that you or anyone else can perfectly understand.

    Till you figure that you may want to back of approving of those attacking the beliefs of the Orsteens and Meyers of this world you may discover yours are just as bad.

  4. Is your issue that you agree with the theology of either Osteen or Myers and are aggravated that I disagree with them, or are just generally miffed that I might disagree with anyone's beliefs?

  5. No, rather your entire system of understanding how true doctrine is transmitted and preserved in and by the Church. Your recipe followed out could only end in a completely isolated individualized belief system, so much so that I would think that you yourself do not even believe everything your own denomination, nondenomination, interdenomination or whatever its being called this month believes. You may attend a religous service but I wonder if you have any idea of how true Christian community is formed and maintained while being an influence upon the culture that surrounds it.

    I was expecting something different by the blog name sacramental living. You chose a good name you should spend the rest of your life finding out what it means. By the way you write you don't seem to attend a Sacramental Church. In doing so you may find the rest.

    I do wish you the best. Pray for me and I will pray for you.

  6. Dear God,

    It is troubling for me to read this dialog in which a wonderful Christian person in Gina is being attacked by an unknown person searching for truth in culture. I happen to know that Gina believes that Jesus Christ is The Way, The Truth, and The Life, and that no one can get to The Father except through Him. If one believes these words, then they believe Jesus’ teachings from The Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5-7. These teachings pretty well go against the ways of many cultural lifestyles, especially those promoted in America. I think we especially need to consider Matthew 6:24 where Jesus tells us that we can not serve two masters, both He and money, for the latter is just a false idol. If we believe His words, as Gina has clearly demonstrated from hers posts to this blog, then we seek Sacramental Living by washing our sins in the waters of baptism, and regularly receiving His body and blood through Holy Communion. I pray that Gina will continue to urge us to continue our quest for Sacramental Living that will make us daily remember to follow the greatest commandments, to love You with all of our hearts, minds, and strengths; and to love our neighbors as ourselves. Loving our neighbors means to care for them, do things for them, and sacrifice our time and money for them. I also pray that Anonymous will find The Truth through daily reading of Your Word and prayer. Thank you for being a wonderful God who loves us all, listens to our prayers, and wants us to live with you in glory for eternity.