Counterfeit Christianity is a term I use to refer to the American “brand” of Christianity. On the one extreme, the far right self named “evangelical” app is marked by a union of two great heresies. One is the so called “prosperity” dogma of one of the most insidiously evil and unjust systems of greed and profit called “free market” capitalism ever visited upon this planet and its inhabitants and the other is its servant the “Protestant Work Ethic”. Both are designed to protect the wealth of the very few at the expense of the many and to do so in the Name of God! Churches that follow this apostasy are marked by “mega churches” and budgets to match along with mega salesmen, or preachers, mostly men though there are few women, and a marketing strategy, called “witnessing” worthy of any 5th Avenue ad campaign ! Emotionalism and ego centered individualism also are characteristics of this extreme which shares the latter with the far left as well. The cement holding this charade together is nationalism with sometimes very overt tones of blatant racism!
On the far left of the American brand of counterfeit Christianity are the cluster of individuals posing as “Catholic churches”. These are mostly dysfunctional overweight gay men whose insecurities are matched only their self deception that, like the drama queens that they are, love the “look and feel” of all things “Catholic”. Their neuroses run the gamete from the inability to form mature and lasting relationships to a whole host of obsessive compulsive disorders. All of which are wrapped in cassocks smelling of incense and topped off with bishop’s miters. They exist overwhelmingly only on the Internet with manufactured and fake degrees from “seminaries” they have created to add to their supposed status! Few have more than “clergy” whilst claiming many active congregations. They represent every New Age feel good philosophy wrapped in highly ecclesiastical language that means nothing in actual fact. Unlike their right wing compatriots who have no need of “authentication” these individuals have more “pedigrees” than an English bulldog! In the Far Right it is political philosophy masquerading as religion whilst in the Far Left it is pathology masquerading as “theology”!
In the middle of all this muck and mire are the “mainline churches”. They long ago have wed the market place which grows dramatically smaller each year when it comes to what capital they represent and now find themselves engaged in a advertising war with competitors for the religious mega bucks they never thought they would have to battle. With the widespread and fastest growing demographic of the “non affiliated” and general acceptance of other religions or no religion at all their market share has dropped and continues to do so. Some of these mainline churches try every new social media gimmick available to change the stats but so far it has not worked. Some such as the Episcopal Church have essentially abandoned any connection with orthodox Christianity and replaced it with what their leadership apparently believes is a more palatable brand to and for young people. Remember this is a church that once was described as “the Republican Party at prayer” now it is more like a congregationalism of deism and relativism. Almost all the traditional parishes that claim a uniquely Anglican identity have long ago ran screaming in the night and in their opinion towards the light!
What many people for whom the idea and calling to follow Jesus the Christ is real and important now realize is that by your baptism you are made a Christian but by choice you determine whether or not to follow that identity. In other words the Sacrament makes you Christian but choice makes you a follower. In this understanding of the non affiliated “preachers, priests, or hierarchies ” do not determine that choice for you nor does an institution.
(c) Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry
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