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Opinion: Why I'm going to church for Easter

April 3, 2021. Summarized by summa-bot.

Compression ratio: 20%. 2 min read.

Guthrie Graves-Fitzsimmons connects the dots between recent Gallup data showing unprecedented decline in church membership and the meaning of Holy Week, writing that he's 'hopeful for a resurrection of social justice-focused Christianity in America that lives up to the teachings of Jesus.'

While prominent progressive Christian voices exist, too often the loudest voices in American Christianity often sound nothing like Jesus — the radical healer and teacher who taught his followers to love their neighbor and free the oppressed.

Yet seeing this poll released during Holy Week made me think about what it means as a Christian to reflect deeply on church decline.

Jesus called on his followers not to live in fear, so I cannot in good faith lament church decline.

Instead, I'm hopeful for a resurrection of social justice-focused Christianity in America that lives up to the teachings of Jesus.

There are problems with paying too much attention to any specific individual indicator of religious trends — for instance, decline in church membership doesn't necessarily mean society overall has grown more secularized — but there is a host of recent research that points towards declining membership, attendance and reported importance of religion in Americans' lives.

They are told, "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Likewise, we as Christians should not look for the living Jesus movement among the dead remains of conservative Christian hate that looks nothing like the love Jesus embodied.

Imagine if American Christianity at-large were known to share the concerns of young progressive leaders today like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who is vocal about how her own Catholic faith has shaped her concerns for social justice.

While Ocasio-Cortez, Warnock, and Buttigieg are three of the most vocal progressive Christians living out their faith in the public square, they are the latest in a long history of activism.

For Christians celebrating today, Easter means that God's love is more powerful than the systems of oppression that crucified Jesus.

As I head to (online) church this Easter, I respect how people may not feel inclined to identify as Christians or join a church for good reasons.

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