(Page 3 of 11)
When my wife and I were married, she was a Roman Catholic and I was a Southern Baptist, so we compromised and became members of the United Methodist Church. It was a workable compromise because we were satisfied with the somewhat formal services that were Biblically based and the Church and its services could be traced directly back to John Wesley who was a spiritual and socially responsible man. (He is of course is credited with starting the idea of Sunday school for children.) His motivation was both to teach the story of salvation and to teach the poor to read something they probably would not be able to do otherwise.
Over the years, however, although we enjoyed worshiping with good people it became clear to us that we almost never agreed with any of the political and social positions taken by the bureaucrats of the church in its national and state offices. This included minor issues as well as crucial ones such as abortion.
After our children went away to college we moved to a city condo and the nearest church was a Baptist church in upscale Birmingham, Michigan, and my wife said we should attend since it was within walking distance. I mildly warned her than it probably was not like the Baptist church that we attended when we visited relatives in Tennessee. The first Sunday we attended the minister gratuitously and viciously attacked Billy Graham and Fundamentalists. While we intended to stay until the end of the sermon and leave quietly it got so bad we got up and left in the middle of the sermon. Most of the people in attendance appeared to be elderly upper middle class individuals who had no idea what was going on or just had become used to such utter nonsense.p>From then on we attended “Bible Churches” and although my wife prior to her early death from cancer fit in (she was one of those remarkable people who are at home anywhere with all types of people) with ease I ‘m not sure she was ever comfortable in the less formal services. She was fond of saying that the Roman Catholics and Southern Baptist were similar in that they had many of the same beliefs and both felt they were the only ones who were right. br> — Jack Wheatley br> Royal Oak, Michigan /p> p> Lawrence Henry’s article on the New England Bible Church hints at, but does not fully explore, one of the most fascinating features of the rise of Evangelical churches in America, the blurring of sectarian differences and clear denominational markers between those of a “born again” bent. For centuries, Protestant sectarianism not only marked Americans squarely as Presbyterians, Congregationalists, or Episcopalians, but also captured exquisitely detailed doctrinal differences between a half-dozen species of Baptists, several different kinds of Lutherans, and so forth. A majority of my students in Indiana are evangelicals, and astonishingly, when asking the class for the number who are Catholic, Orthodox, or Protestant, most of the latter do not even realize they are Protestant — they are “Christian!” I would be very interested to learn more about this seeming collapse of sectarianism among America’s Bible Churches, since, as I’m sure, they are so often composed of refugees from older main-line denominational faiths like Mr. Henry’s. The old American story of the melting pot seems to be happening anew. br> — Richard Vernier
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?