We now live in a post-theology church. The forces that brought the church to this point are varied. The megachurch church and church growth movement took the cross and the theological language out of the church and replaced the expository sermon with a self-help topical sermon, leading to a weakening of Christian theology. It was the start of the dumbing down of the church that continues. The next generation of leaders became less and less educated and today many pastors either have never been to seminary, or have gone into a watered down program that taught them how to build large congregations without the messiness of building up Christians in the faith.
These forces have multiplied as many believers are clueless on what just a few generations ago would be well thought out. Many Christians would not even know what is meant by sanctification, let alone have a position on the process. With the rise of atheism, theology circled the wagons and simply became an extension of apologetics and the providence of specialists. The further use of marketing techniques to proclaim the Gospel, while having good attentions, has lead to more of a watering down of theology and also to watering down of Christian praxis. Eschatology has fallen into the the lap of the prophecy hucksters who proclaim whoever they disagree with as the sirens of the Anti-Christ while selling seminars, books and DVDs to their personal enrichment. Love, absent from their wild speculations the Bible warns about, lays gathering dust at the corner of the conference rooms. The shiny brochures proclaiming financial advice during the endtimes do promise the absurd. Does Jesus want a full funded 401K before his return?
The loss of theology for the church has led to many unwanted weakness in the church. The pattern of the church losing young adults as they leave for college or life is well documented. It is not surprising that the fastest growing population is the nones, as why would young adults go to church if the church offers only a greasy spiritual lite food and nothing that young people can stake their lives to. Also, when the cross and turbulence hit a person’s life, as it bound to, the church only can echo the self help advice, which in and off itself is nothing more stoicism lite. Smile and have a good attitude and pray to God for wealth differs so much from picking up your cross and joining Jesus in his passion.
What are we to do now that we live in a Post-Theological world? Is there hope to regain what has been lost in the dumbing down of the Gospel? The truth of God’s saving love remains, it is up to us to put down the marketing books, the best sellers and again pick of the cross. If you attend a church that does have the cross or preaches the cross, we must start to question it at its core. Only when we reclaim the cross of Jesus can we hope to bring a message of hope to a hopeless world.
Art, says Ernesto Tinajero, comes from the border of what has come before and what is coming next. Tinajero uses his experience studying poetry and theology to write about the intersecting borders of art, poetry and religion.