Losing Our American Soul

(system) #1

Take a break and enjoy this vintage clip of Jim Wallis on The Daily Show.

One of the worst aspects of recent American Christianity has been its privatistic core.

  • Gettin' saved
  • Born again
  • Righteousness by faith
  • Personal relationship with God

Strangely, it's all about my individual problems.

The disaster is that this language completely misses the actual example of Jesus who changed the world not only through his passion, but through his actions toward the social situation of his time.

The reality is that humanity needs both personal and community change.

Nothing could be more clear to believers after living through the last five years of Katrina, 9/11, and Iraq. These disasters reveal serious problems in the social fabric of this world - now ripped apart by decades of me-first racism clothed in anti-government rhetoric, get-rich-quick-at-any-cost globalization, and buzz-off-world-and-half-of-America unilateralism.

"Gotta get myself saved" is causing us to lose our souls.

It's time for a new, balanced understanding of American faith - one that draws upon the traditions of social action for the common good. Just saying a quick prayer of acceptance will not change the world - but turning that faith into action will. Faith is a community experience and the future of humanity rests not just on what we believe, but will be determined by how we actually live and vote.

How can we change the basic definitions of our faith so that we follow the living example of Jesus? Feel free to share your thoughts below.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/4499