“The Evangelical Search for Authenticity”

Jason Bruner
Apr 18, 2018 · 1 min read

Certain strands of Christians — and not just those in America — have been inclined to think that there was a divine deal that was struck with this land. Whether it was sealed by the Founding Fathers or the Pilgrims or the tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh, at some point God made an offer: “Let us be lovers, we’ll marry our fortunes together.” What happens, then, when it feels as though their fortunes are changing?

Over the last decade or so, it’s become common for Christian leaders to lament, well, all sorts of things. While lamenting the state of American churches is among the most historically common American Christian pastimes, the recent cries have been voiced in the context of the decline in Americans identifying as “Christian” (and the rise of the religiously unaffiliated, those known as “nones,” and the related category of the spiritual but not religious). These cries reached a fever pitch in the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2015 Obergefell v. Hodges decision that resulted in the legalization of same-sex marriage (or, alternatively, “the redefining of marriage”) across the country. Nothing less than the viability of Christianity in America seemed to be at stake.

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Jason Bruner

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Assistant Prof. of Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Historian, ethnographer, writer, and, occasionally, photographer.