Surfing Secularism: Why Fighting the Rest of the World is a Losing Strategy for Churches, by Dave Schmelzer

 A pastor in Boston calls on his fellow church leaders to ride the wave of the times.

Christians have been negotiating the relationship between churches and the wider, secular culture ever since there was a discernible “secular culture.” What’s new now is who is doing the negotiating and how.

by David Schmelzer • OnFaith

Dave Schmelzer, Author of Not the Religious Type
Dave Schmelzer, Pastor and author of ‘Not the Religious Type’

The interview took a hostile turn.

The radio host of this How to Argue for Christianity show called me an “appeaser.” I wasn’t entirely sure what he meant by that, but it didn’t sound positive. He was interviewing me because I’d written a book that recounted people experiencing faith in a very secular city — Cambridge, Massachusetts, home of Harvard and MIT and a reputed 2 percent churchgoing rate. But when he found out that whatever encouraging things had happened there had not involved anyone “courageously confronting secular culture,” the knives came out.

Christians have been negotiating the relationship between churches and the wider, secular culture ever since there was a discernible “secular culture” — in America at least since the late 19th century. What’s new now is who is doing the negotiating. Back then, Harry Emerson Fosdick and what we know as the liberal, mainline church emphasized Jesus-the-good-citizen and downplayed Jesus-the-miracle-working-savior-of-individual-souls. But, today, many young evangelical church leaders are learning to surf, rather than draw lines against, secular culture.

Evangelicals are left with three choices…

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See also:

Podcast: Conversation with Dave Schmelzer re Faith, Culture, Hollywood and Ivy League

J. J. Abrams, Stephen Spielberg, Woody Allen, Elvis, and God’s Unique Work in Us when We’re 14, by Dave Schmelzer

Blue Ocean Summit 2011: Hearing from God in Prayer and Society, by Dave Schmelzer

Toward a Deep Blue Ocean: Forging a Robust Spiritual Development Stage-Theory, by Gary David Stratton

Connecting to God in Hollywood, the Ivy League, and Beyond, by Gary David Stratton