Where Is Religion in America Going in 2014?
I wanted “religion” in this post’s title, but I mainly mean Christian faith, as the strongly predominant religion in the US. This time I want to mainly pose questions. I know I have some very thoughtful readers and I’d really like your thoughts on this, and hopefully some interesting interaction.
Let me suggest a few trends that I think will continue or even accelerate in 2014.
1. Issues around gay and lesbian (or LGBT/Q) relationships.
Particularly same-sex marriage. This may be an especially contentious year both legally and culturally for this issue. Do you agree that maybe the fast-pace of new rights and acceptance may be hitting a point of resistance, such that we may see more backlash? What direction do you see among church leaders and more conservative theologians as to the understanding and use of the Bible on this?
2. Christians will pull back just a bit from such close involvement in party politics… that is, less of the common unconditional support of conservative Republicans and their causes.
Seems to me the conflicts between this uncritical, fear-based approach and much of the teaching of Jesus and the New Testament will hit home further, as they already have begun to. Do you see this similarly? What else that is related to this do you see?
3. The trend of more prominent Christian teachers and authors (including blog hosts) challenging various traditional positions will continue and perhaps pick up steam.
I see the biggest, most vibrant branch of American Christianity, Evangelicalism, as in the early stages of re-forming its identity. (This isn’t new in 2013… I can’t spot a time it might be said to have “begun” – in one sense it is always happening, but I think it has clearly accelerated. Agree? Is it partly or maybe heavily the Internet?)
There are many sub-varieties within Evangelicalism, and most of them are wrestling with this, often uncomfortably. That is for good reason: often what is being re-examined and reworked is at or close to the core, or center of gravity of the system. Do you agree? What issues do you see as most “hot” right now, or likely to be soon?