Monday, April 2, 2012

Christianity in Crisis

This is an excellent essay by Andrew Sullivan.  You should go read the whole thing! 
...Christianity itself is in crisis. It seems no accident to me that so many Christians now embrace materialist self-help rather than ascetic self-denial—or that most Catholics, even regular churchgoers, have tuned out the hierarchy in embarrassment or disgust. Given this crisis, it is no surprise that the fastest-growing segment of belief among the young is atheism, which has leapt in popularity in the new millennium. Nor is it a shock that so many have turned away from organized Christianity and toward “spirituality,” co-opting or adapting the practices of meditation or yoga, or wandering as lapsed Catholics in an inquisitive spiritual desert. The thirst for God is still there. How could it not be, when the profoundest human questions—Why does the universe exist rather than nothing? How did humanity come to be on this remote blue speck of a planet? What happens to us after death?—remain as pressing and mysterious as they’ve always been?
I have no concrete idea how Christianity will wrestle free of its current crisis, of its distractions and temptations, and above all its enmeshment with the things of this world. But I do know it won’t happen by even more furious denunciations of others, by focusing on politics rather than prayer, by concerning ourselves with the sex lives and heretical thoughts of others rather than with the constant struggle to liberate ourselves from what keeps us from God. …


Grandmère Mimi said...

Nothing really new there. I've heard it all before. In fact, I've said myself that the church, as we know it, is dying, and despite pockets of flourishing progressive congregations, I believe it's still true.

I stopped reading Sullivan years ago, because of his moaning about how the RCC didn't like him, but so far as I know, he is still nominally a Roman Catholic.

And I wave away Andrew's suggestion that I read Ross Doubthat's book. I've read enough of Ross' dumbass columns to know what a waste of time that would be.

Counterlight said...

I second Mimi's comments.
Sullivan's saying nothing new. Lots of people have been saying the same thing for years and years. Where's he been for the last 40 years?
The difference between Mimi (or IT) and Andrew Sullivan is that Andrew gets to say his thing in TIME magazine. I'd rather read Mimi and IT.

klady said...

I understand Sullivan is, himself, off-putting to many. Indeed I do read Mimi, Doug, IT, Bill, and many others everyday well in advance of anyone like Sullivan. But putting AS and all his baggage, aside, he is a talented writer, and I really did like much of this essay. It's not a matter of what is "new" - indeed the death of Christianity has been both heralded and lamented for quite sometime now, and, yes, by writers and thinkers far more talented than Sullivan. But Sullivan's way of writing about here is arresting and thought-provoking in places, no matter how many times we've heard it before.