Was Jon Meacham really surprised by the response to his article and latest Newsweek cover? He says it was not an attack on the faith. There is an old description of Christianity and its spread that is both pithy and brief. It does contain a grain of truth.
In its beginning in Jerusalem, Christianity was about God's relationship to man. When it moved to Greece, it became an idea. As it traveled to Rome, it became an institution. In London, it gained a stiff upper lip. In Wittenberg and Germany, it went into the Universities and become a library. It came over the great Atlantic and became a pioneer. It found a home in the slave quarters and became hope. Then in America, it became a marketing ploy. Oh, how it longs to return to Jerusalem, and be a relationship once more.
Jon Meacham claims that in his recent article about Chistianity, he was pointing to the demise of Religous Rights attempts at politcal power. He certainly did not want to attack the faith itself. Maby that it is true, except why use a cover that clearly echos back to Time's infamous April 8, 1966 cover and a title which could easily taken as such. I know that it is good marketing to promote conterversy, but then to act shocked that you are misunderstood. Then the question he says he is dealing with is how will the church handle no longer being a prime mover in the society. He says that it is good that the Church will play a declining roll in the larger society. While he does not state it, the implication is again that faith should be a private matter between believer and God. It should not influence public policy.
Unfortunitly for Meacham's arguement, Christianity has long since lost its roll. The Church has has had to fight and has to continue fighting more secularization, though the fight is now within the church's wall. Marketing and its influence have marked the church so much in the last fifty or so years that few Christians have understanding of Christian theology or Christian worldview. Many times I have gotten into discussions with Christians, only to find that their oppinions of their faith comes from their pastor or other sources other the Bible and tradition. There has been an progression of what Miroslav Volf calls Christian lite or a thin superfical Christianity. Christian lite is less a faith than a set of propositions to agree with. Faith is that which challenges us, as it does everytime I read and reflect on Scripture. Christian faith is faith in Jesus, which is lacking in the church today. Mr. Meacham continues throughout his article to claim that he is believer, though not much of one, and he is more representive of the Church at large.