Sermon quotes on western culture
J. Todd Billings
Our culture often suggests that we are “entitled” to a long, fulfilling life, and if that doesn’t happen, there must be someone to sue, someone to blame. When the word “cancer” is spoken, looking to the future reveals only a fog of uncertainty. It brings to mind a life that is spent in the process of dying—a casket waiting to be filled, with no politician to blame for it.
A Western upbringing tends to stress questioning authority, which is always asking why, why, why.
By 2050, only about one-fifth of the world’s 3 billion Christians will be non-Hispanic Whites. Soon, the phrase ‘a White Christian’ may sound like a curious oxymoron, as mildly surprising as ‘a Swedish Buddhist.’’ In terms of sheer numbers, then, non-Westem interpretations of Scripture will soon be “typical” and “average.”
We are a society that despises lack. We despise weakness and need and insufficiency. We turn the other way and pretend to be watching oncoming traffic when the red light halts us and the beggar reaches out toward our car with his cardboard sign. We admire pain only if it’s healed, only if it’s endured with perfect grace, with perfect faith, and never succumbed to in weakness, in f-bombs and rants and curses raised to the heavens.
Cultures like ours encourage us to consider all aspects of our lives in terms of self-interest. How do we cultivate a life marked by God’s love – a love that is always directed toward the needs of others – in a culture so thoroughly saturated with self-concern?”
What makes an anxious society? We want to be different and stand out as unique without the presence of Jesus setting us apart.
Can the west be converted?
Contrary to popular opinion, the church is not dying in America; it is alive and well, but it is alive and well among the immigrant and ethnic minority communities and not among the majority white churches in the United States.
The cathedral lay at the center of a society. Its structure told the story of the Christian narrative and the human journey. In its shadow people were formed inside a story about how life was best lived. Now it symbolizes a quaint structure people pass on their way to somewhere else; it’s mostly a structure from the past few remember.
What has Jerusalem to do with Athens, the Church with the Academy, the Christian with the heretic?”
Tertullian, “The Prescriptions Against the Heretics,” subsection 7, in Early Latin Theology, edited by S. L. Greenslade, volume 5 in The Library of Christian Classics (Philadelphia: Westminster Press.
Tish Harrison Warren
After the Enlightenment in the West, our collective imagination emptied the cosmos of supernatural life, as sure as industry emptied Cape Cod of cod.
Taken from Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep by Tish Harrison Warren Copyright (c) 2021 by Tish Harrison Warren. Published by InterVarsity Press, Downers Grove, IL. www.ivpress.com
E. James Wilder
Western Christianity has long taught that we are changed by what we believe and what we choose—that is, by the human will responding to God. Attachment to God would functionally replace the will as the mechanism of salvation and transformation.
Still Looking for inspiration?
Consider checking out our illustrations page on Western Culture.