September 11, 2006
It’s tough to be Christian in New York City,
Where transition is constant and transcendence abounds.
It’s hard to be Christian in America today,
When freedom means one truth and liberty, one way.
It‚Äôs 9/11 again, and clich?© or not, this day in 01 has had a big impact of my life. This event at the start of my second year of seminary, following on the heals of a powerful two-week stay I had at an Orthodox convent in Russia in July 2001, brought me back ‚Äúhome‚Äù to my faith. Or rather, it pushed me to commit to doing my religious work ‚Äúfrom the inside‚Äù (as an Episcopalian and as an American) and to do my political and social activism as a Christian.
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what it means to do religion contextually ‚Äì a basic tenant of letting church ‚Äúemerge.‚Äù Friends and I have been talking about what it means to start a Christian community that would be indigenous to NYC in 2006. But this line of thinking has circled me back to the place of religion in America today ‚Äì in our politics, economics, and culture wars.
Some striking books I‚Äôve been reading on the topic ‚Äì
Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer
A tough look at the violent history of Mormon fundamentalism.
American Theocracy by Kevin Phillips
What part is religion playing in the demise of America as an empire?
Emerging Churches by Ryan Bolger and Eddie Gibbs
A great scholastic book based on discussions with fifty emerging church leaders.
Are there others you’d recommend?