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By John D. Pierce

cemThe Gospel has been so Americanized and Jesus so domesticated that to claim to be Christian in our modern context says very little of substance about a person. It simply raises suspicions of being fearful of change, quick to discriminate and eager to claim persecution at every loss of cultural dominance.

This damaged faith is exacerbated by the politicization of American Christianity through the wild and muddling presidential campaign and more localized efforts to prop up a favored and failing religious perspective.

Southern Baptist leadership in Georgia, for example, is pushing for a state law (now on the governor’s desk) under the guise of “religious liberty” that unnecessarily targets gay and lesbian persons. It suggests that First Amendment protections for religious persons and organizations are inadequate and uses religious conviction as justification for targeted discrimination.

The fight for liberty and justice for all continues — often with roadblocks from those bearing the name of Jesus.

What it means to be Christian today is hard to nail down. Perhaps experiencing Holy Week and the coming Resurrection will lend some needed darkness, then light.

Perhaps it will move us toward ways of living that are loving, grace-giving and hopeful. For those are marks of the one who lived, suffered and died and was resurrected.

It just seems that the public face of the Christian faith is damaged. But then, so are we. All of us. That’s an important consideration for this week as well.

John Pierce

About John Pierce

John D. Pierce is editor of Nurturing Faith Journal — the signature publication of Baptists Today, Inc. He is also publisher of Nurturing Faith Books and Resources. Previously he served as managing editor of The Christian Index and as Baptist campus minister at Georgia Tech and Kennesaw State University. A native of Ringgold, Ga., he is a graduate of Berry College (B.A.), Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), and Columbia Theological Seminary (D.Min.). He speaks frequently in churches, consults with congregations concerning communications and holds interim pastorates.