Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Faith Perspectives: The Face of Tomorrow's Christian

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Faith Perspectives: The Face of Tomorrow's Christian

Article excerpt

As we continue to hear of religion's decline in our culture, it's natural to ask what the future holds for Christianity.

A young Christian who writes for the Religion News Service, Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons, posed that question. In a recent opinion piece he came to the conclusion that the face of tomorrow's disciple would look a lot like Lady Gaga.

That caught my attention. I didn't know that she identifies as a Christian. You don't automatically think of traditional Christian values when you hear some of her music.

So why does Graves-Fitzsimmons present her as the poster woman of Christianity's future? Because she feels passionate about issues she thinks Jesus would feel passionate about. Some of those mentioned in the article include LGBTQ rights, climate change and immigration. Younger Christians are more in tune with such subjects and will shape the future of the church, if they still find themselves in it.

I have a bit of difficulty reconciling this with my upbringing. I grew up in the Bible Belt. Living a moral life, developing spiritual disciplines, being generous to others, helping the less fortunate -- all these were, and are, important to me.

However, such traditional values do not necessarily run counter to the issues the young writer advocates in his article.

Jesus once gave a simple answer to a tricky question. When asked whether or not it was lawful to pay taxes, he famously replied, "Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God" (Matthew 22:21, CEB).

Some have interpreted this as meaning that there is a distinction between the spiritual and the worldly. Caesar didn't tell Jesus how to run his church, so Jesus shouldn't tell Caesar how to run his empire. A Christian should focus on spiritual/heavenly things.

I think this is a misreading.

A Christian may render unto Caesar what is Caesar's. …

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