Is there a future for Christianity? The shape of things to come – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

Got to save this for future classes. Great for religion and peace?

The man who coined the term “mere Christianity” also warned against its misapplication and abuse:

  • “I hope no reader will suppose the “mere” Christianity is here put forward as an alternative to the creeds of the existing communions-as if a man could adopt it in preference to Congregationalism or Greek Orthodoxy or anything else. It is more like a hall out of which doors open into several rooms. If I can bring anyone into that hall I shall have done what I attempted. But it is in the rooms, not the hall, that there are fires and chairs and meals. The hall is a place to wait in, a place from which to try the various doors, not a place to live in.”

Similarly, believers who inhabit the various rooms can enter the hall for the sake of dialogue and mutual support. But they cannot afford to remain there, chatting and cooperating and maybe even throwing up some tents, while their own rooms fall into neglect. A conversation has to reach conclusions in order to actually stand for something; a community has to define itself theologically in order to be able to sustain itself across the generations.

And

…a renewed Christianity should be oriented toward sanctity and beauty. In every crisis in the Christian past, it has been saints and artists – from Saint Francis down to John Wesley, Dante to Dostoevsky – who resurrected the faith from one of its many deaths. The example of a single extraordinary woman, Mother Teresa, did more for Christian witness in the twentieth century than every theology department and political action committee put together.

I think I would like to read his book!

In my book Bad Religion, I often tried to make a more instrumental case for Christian orthodoxy – defending its exacting moralism as a curb against worldly excess and corruption, praising its paradoxes and mysteries for respecting the complexities of human affairs in ways that more streamlined theologies do not, celebrating the role of its institutions in assimilating immigrants, sustaining families, and forging strong communities. My hope was to persuade even the most sceptical reader that traditional Christian faith might have more to offer than either its flawed defenders or its fashionable enemies would lead one to believe.

But neither religions nor cultures can live on instrumentality alone. To make any difference in our common life, Christianity must be lived – not as a means to social cohesion or national renewal, but as an end unto itself.

Anyone who seeks a more perfect union should begin by seeking the perfection of their own soul. Anyone who would save their country should first look to save themselves. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all of these things will be added to you.”