Christianization

22Oct13

My life is rooted in church.  It’s where my parents met.  It’s the reason my family came to the United States.  It’s been a dominant factor in shaping my life almost since the day I was born, June 18, 1992.  A Thursday.  Three days later, as radiant with new life as Christ was resurrected, where did my parents take me to introduce me to their world? Church.

I saw our church for what it honestly (and partially) was, a place where a gaggle of Filipinos could escape white-dominated society to speak fluent Tagolog, exchange chismis with girlfriends, let their children run wild, sing, socialize, eat.  Filipino church sounds like a weekly party.  It was, in my eyes.

My little Filipino church was more than just a party.  It had a solid spiritual base with strong leadership that provided biblically sound teaching.  It took years to appreciate that.  But given my background of rebellious critical thinking in regard to Christians and church and Christianity overall, today I am wary of any other church that resembles more of a party than a place of worship.

I’ve heard of churches de-secularizing pop songs with new lyrics to draw in younger crowds and adding Starbucks to their mega-mall-like campuses. More and more churches seem to be just aiming to increase their numbers as they collect masses of new believers under their roofs.

I am no one to judge and say all of this isn’t done for the sake of spreading the good word.  I’m the type who’d give a woman the skeptical stank eye for lifting her hands in praise during a worship song. I’m the type who’d ask, “Are you really moved by the Spirit right now? Or is this a show?”  I am no one to judge, but inevitably I judge.  I see the hypocrisy is everywhere; it’s unavoidable.  And hypocrite of a non-judging Christian I admit I am,  I’m not the only one who sees it.

In a post for Cardboard Magazine titled “What does God-become-flesh have to do with Mumford & Sons,” Jose Sánchez-Perry calls this Christianization: “the attempt to lure people into worship places by assimilating to culture.”

There is a Wikipedia page for Christianization, but it’s not exactly the kind Sánchez-Perry and I have observed.  Christianization of the 20th and 21st century is quite different from the times of late antiquity or the colonial era.  There is a hole on the Wikipedia page where information about the 20th and 21st century should be.  I’ll have to research and investigate how Christianization developed in modern times and how it is rooted in what happened during previous eras.  I surely would not be able to cover everything, for the 20th and 21st centuries just might be the most complex yet socially and technologically,  but I hope to contribute something that shows how dangerously close Christianity has come to being a matter of worldiness over true spirituality.

Coincidentally, this worldliness, this “party” I talk about is precisely what I decided to focus on for the recent posts of this blog: culture.  I make it seem like culture is corruption in the church.  Yes, it can be bad.  However my objective for this blog in previous posts was to reveal spirituality in today’s culture.  To extend that focus, I inevitably have to look at how culture hinders it too.

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