by T. Mayheart Dardar / January 14th, 2019
I recently had the interesting experience of sitting in on a fundamentalist Christian sermon in a small church in southeast Louisiana. The text of the pastor’s sermon was drawn from 2nd Thessalonians, a Pauline epistle exhorting young believers of a fledgling congregation. The emphasis taken from the block of scripture this Sunday was Paul’s encouragement to his flock in the face of persecution. After setting the narrative in motion the preacher sought to establish an analogy between the persecuted 1st century church at Thessalonica and the 21st century church in America and Western Europe.
It was at this point that my mild disinterest was replaced by enraptured attention. Here was a subject that had stymied me for some time now; I had listed for years as various spokespersons for the religious right sought to portray the western church as an institution under attack by various political and cultural forces of a secular society. My confusion came, time and again, from an inability to see examples in the real world that matched the rhetoric I continued to hear from the pulpit.
Every local grocery store and chain department store I’ve shopped at here, in the American southeast, has some sort of selection of bibles and or books on Christian living. Every Walmart has these as well as at least one rack of Christian-themed T-shirts and Sweatshirts. For the DYI decorator Hobby Lobby offers a myriad of items to emphasis…