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This is the one who patiently endured many things in many people:

This is the one who was murdered in Abel, and bound as a sacrifice in Isaac,

and exiled in Jacob, and sold in Joseph,

and exposed in Moses, and sacrificed in the lamb,

and hunted down in David, and dishonored in the prophets.

 

This is the one who became human in a virgin,

who was hanged on the tree, who was buried in the earth,

who was resurrected from among the dead,

and who raised mankind up out of the grave below to the heights of heaven.

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God has been murdered

Synchroblog Recap

Chris —  April 11, 2014 — Leave a comment

Thanks again to all those who participated in this week’s synchroblog. The entries were all thoughtful and heart felt. I hope you’ll join us next time!

Here’s a quick recap:

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Check out the Boots on the Ground Facebook page to see all the different posts in this series.

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The night it felt like Church to me happened in the Summer of 2002. I was a sophomore in college and I had given my summer to working with Dry Bones: Denver, a newly launched ministry to the homeless youth that congregate to panhandle and roughhouse on Denver’s 16th Street Mall.

My reasons for being there weren’t completely altruistic, evangelistic or justice driven. That was a part of it, but the main reason I wanted to be there was because it seemed pretty cool.

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There was a thing that happened on the internet, in DC and in the poorest countries on earth last week.

A lot of people were hurt. A lot of people felt the need to draw line in sand. There are a few dead bodies on mountain tops.

I’m not one of them.

There are two reasons I’m not overwhelmed by this:

  1. I’ve never really understood evangelicalism.
  2. Handing out bacon keeps me busy.

 

bacon shot

 

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Let’s Admit We Have a Problem

For hundreds of years, common wisdom assumed that the countries of the West were Christian nations.

This concept began when Constantine declared Christianity the official religion of his empire. It was reinforced with the advent of Protestant National churches. Then, beginning with John Winthrop’s famous “City on a Hill” sermon in 1630, civic religion and cultural Christianity became intertwined in the institutions of the United States.

The result was that Westerners were generally considered “Christian”. Individuals often had a normative level of Biblical literacy. Institutions, government, and leaders were assumed to espouse “Christian values”. In this “Christendom” system, conversion often meant claiming membership in a specific denomination and church attendance. Politicians were expected to attend Church and govern in “Christian” ways. There was little discernible difference between being a good citizen and a follower of Christ.

For decades now, these institutional structures have been breaking down. Most countries in Europe are predominantly secular and often skeptical of religion. The U.S. does not seem to be far behind. Stuart Murray defines this “post-Christendom” as:

the culture that emerges as the Christian faith loses coherence within a society that has been definitively shaped by the Christian story and as the institutions that have been developed to express Christian convictions decline in influence (Stuart Murray, The Naked Anabaptist, 78).

This means that forms of churches that might have thrived under Christendom are either showing diminishing returns or have failed altogether.

Followers of Christ in the west now have the opportunity to define themselves apart from the expectations of their culture. Conversations are thriving around the word “missional,” as churches and Christian organizations seek to understand what it means to be missionaries in this new post-Christendom context.

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