Without a Vision the People Perish

The following is a note I sent a friend who had sent me an article linking gun violence in America to a societal lack of purpose particularly among young, white males :

I keep thinking about how the white, evangelical church in America has failed to give youth a “sense of purpose for good.”

From the time I was a little boy, I wanted to follow Jesus in word and deed. As a child, of course, that translated into moralisms, being a good doobie, no smoking, etc. As time passed that understanding matured into doing peace, justice, mercy, etc.

The white, evangelical church has failed to inspire youth to follow Jesus. Without a vision, the people perish and the white church has no vision.

The white, evangelical church doesn’t follow Jesus. It has no purpose except to be resentful, angry and sew the seeds of division regarding race, economics, sexual orientation, abortion, etc.

Part of this, I believe, has to do with the Civil War. Americans hate to lose at anything and that was a HUGE loss. The South lost; whites lost.

White, evangelical Christianity could only offer the bogus, non-biblical game “Christian Monopoly” — Individual salvation in Jesus Christ, Pass Go, Do not go to jail/hell, Collect $200, go to heaven.

They bought into cultural capitalism and the myth of the shoot ‘em up American West. As a result, there is no vision, just resentment and hatred toward those who “are beginning to catch up and may even, one day, get ahead.”

Thus, the signature below my name,


As a character in Woody Allen’s “Hannah and Her Sisters” puts it, “If Jesus came back and saw what was going on in his name, he’d never stop throwing up.” — Frederick Buechner

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