Thursday, January 11, 2007

Burnt Over Christianity

If you are not already a regular reader of Fr. Stephen Freeman's blog, Glory to God, then there is no better article to begin with than this one. A selection follows:

My contention was (and is) that the popular preaching of American Protestantism, had winnowed the gospel down to a few graphic images, easily preached and repeated. Those images were a caricature of the substitutionary atonement and a simplified version of Christian initiation (”accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior”) that came to be the stock of popular American evangelical preaching. Just think, American campuses were inundated with the “four” spiritual laws. Imagine trying to convey the Orthodox faith in four anything.

My further contention has been that what was once true of Upstate New York is now descriptive of an entire culture. America is the Burnt Over District. Most Americans, if they have heard a version of the gospel, have heard a very truncated, often caricatured version.

Problematic has been the dominance of an atonement metaphor (which is dogma for some) that portrays God as wrathful, vengeful and in need of appeasement. Often, at the heart of this image is an argument that God is “bound” by His justice and that His justice must be satisfied
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Bookmark his site. You will be blessed by doing so.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

He's a great priest; I'm blessed by having him as my current priest.

FYI, FWIW: I found out that there is a mission in Tyler that is a member of the Antiochian's Western Rite Vicariate. Their priest is Fr. Micheal Hull. Sunday Mass is at 10:30am.

Anonymous said...

*Fr. Michael

John said...

Yes, I am familiar with the Western Rite mission here, and have visited a few times in the past, but before Fr. Michael arrived.