>Image via Wikipedia
But setting aside for the moment that American culture was not rosy before the late 60’s — or at least, it wasn’t for people who weren’t white — I think it’s more likely that once the church began to assume moralism as its primary message, it ceased to capture hearts and do what it claimed to do: compel behavior. So the hippie movement, legal abortion, prayer out of school, etc. may all be symptoms of an evangelicalism that traded the gospel and the all-sufficiency of Christ for “be good” and now we’re both ignorant about the connection and ignorant enough to think if we go back to moralism — for that’s what championing Judeo-Christian values usually is — we can turn the tide we gave rise to to begin with.
I talked to an older lady yesterday who is struggling in her Christian walk. She fears she is not fruitful enough. She said she’s been in Bible studies and the like for 30 years and isn’t sure what she’s learned. I asked her, “If you could boil down all those studies and all the messages you’ve heard from the church for the past 30 years into one main point that they’re all trying to teach you, what would it be?” After some thought, she replied: “Be a better person.” And yet here she sat, not lacking in education in being a better person but certainly not feeling like it made a hill a beans worth of difference.