How to Fix the American Christian – Series Announcement


Recently, I wrote a post that discussed why the Church in America is not living up to its calling (“Why Christianity Is Failing in America“). Readers asked what I thought we could do to turn tragedy into triumph, so I responded with an overview of possible fixes (“Why Christianity Is Failing in America – Further Thoughts“).

But I also realize the need is more practical than a conceptual overview. People need examples. For that reason, I’m starting a series that will look at practical ways that Christians can live truly countercultural lives that reflect the genuine Gospel of Jesus. These won’t be theological missives, but ideas for earnest believers who want to go against the flow and live a life worthy of the upward call of Christ.

Though Cerulean Sanctum usually focuses on the Church as a whole, I believe that the only way change is going to come to the Church is if a large group of believers within each local church bucks the system. It really does come down to individuals making Spirit-directed choices to live counterculturally. The power of one may be overrated, but a large group of people choosing to say no to worldly ways gets noticed and makes a difference.

I’ve entitled this series “How to Fix the American Christian,” and I hope for at least those few who read this blog it will make a difference that helps change the world for the Lord.

Looking for an Overview Book on Christianity


I’d like to locate a book written to a late elementary or early middle school understanding covering the history of Christianity post-resurrection from a primarily Protestant perspective. Unfortunately, I’m not having much luck.

What the book would feature:

1. A basic look at the expansion of Christianity around the globe
2. Highlights of major events in the Church
3. Short biographies of important Christians from the apostles up to the present day
4. Nice layout with easy readability, quality illustrations, and a good amount of intriguing info to keep a child reading

If anyone has any suggestions, I would appreciate it if you passed them along. I’ve been looking at Christianity, which is a typically high-quality Dorling Kindersley book, but I would like to have other options.




I’m not much of a TV watcher. I think that too many of us in the American Church spend far too much time watching TV and not enough doing what Jesus commanded us to do.

I watch two shows a week, and normally tape the one for viewing during peak downtime. I’ve enjoyed Antiques Roadshow for years (I think it’s the aesthete in me), plus I started watching the show Fringe this season. That show is much like a former obsession of mine, The X-Files. So as much as I said I wasn’t going to get involved in another series, I got caught up in Fringe. (And was devastated by the show’s story arc, which I’ll leave for another post.)

A weird thing happened in watching Fringe, though: It didn’t always start at 9 p.m.  sharp on Tuesday nights because it followed American Idol, which ran long many nights. Idolatry on parade?That meant I always saw a few carryover bits of the final Idol performances of the evening.

I can’t speak as an Idol aficionado, but Adam Lambert has to be one of the best performers I have ever seen—anywhere. He not only has a set of pipes, he was riveting to watch. His performance of “Mad World” was a tour de force. I thought to myself, How can this guy not win?

My tapes captured a couple performances by Danny Gokey and Kris Allen, and time and again, I kept thinking, How did these guys make it so far into this competition? They weren’t bad; they just had nothing extra going for them, something which Lambert had in spades, even from the limited number of performances I saw of him.

So, I was checking the news on this last week, and noticed one of the most commented upon links from their entertainment blog was about the Idol outcome. Seems that Kris Allen won, a surprising and disappointing outcome, at least as I saw it. I mean, what was up with the voters?

Then I read the comments on the CNN blog. Here are some samples (all sic):

I guess we can thank those hatefilled, intolerant, homophobic Christians for this injustice. I am so sick and tired of those people. I used to be polite to them, but no more.

Another Christ loving Heterosexual male who wont sell albums… way to go America.

…yes it was a robbery because the only thing about Kris is that he’s a christian and you homophobic people would rather keep talent down to pump yourselves up. Kris is horrible he had 2 good songs all season and isn’t even as good as Allison is. he should have been gone a long time ago but he didn’t win and i mean didn’t win based on talent it was based on religion and that Adam is different and that shakes your whole damm world. Even he had to address the issue of religion and didn’t want to win based on that well he won and only based on that.

Obviously the Falwell coalition lives on and regardless of Adam’s true sexuality, the rumor flourished enough to cause “Jesus freaks to triumph. The sad thing is that Kris is really a cookie cutter talent. Vocals are along the lines of most boy bands of the past. Adam was the true talent and unique in his singing and stage appearance. He will do like Clay Aiken did and sell a hundred times more albums as Kris will become the winner, much like Taylor, where you scratch your head and say, “He won Idol? Really?!

I am sick of all you people (i.e BODEE!!! {Note: the first comment above}) . What is your problem???? Kris didn’t win because he is a Christian anymore than Adam lost because he is gay. GET OVER YOURSELVES!

NOBODY CARES! But if they did, you are going to have to face the fact that Christians ARE the majority in the country…no matter how much you , Perez Hilton, Obama and the Democrats stomp your feet and cry foul…

Well, the Christians spoiled the vote, but as they say †“ the devil has the best tunes.

Go Adam.

And on and on…

Well, I had no idea that Kris was a Christian, though he exuded plenty of that harmless Michael W. Smith boyishness that so many young women adore. And as far as I can tell from Googling, Adam’s never come out and said he’s a homosexual, so I don’t exactly get that point.

But none of this, in the long run, has to do with American Idol. This post has everything to do with the comments on CNN’s blog. As there are almost 1,500 of them, they make for interesting reading. Definitely a good representation of where America is in 2009.

Over at the Huffington Post,  Michael Giltz commented on this phenomenon of Christians voting as a bloc for the most Christian of the contestants. He posted this partly t0ngue-in-cheek, but I’m not so sure he’s wrong. I know many Christians who watch Idol, and some do almost as an obsession. I can imagine they are voting for their faves en masse. And until this disputed outcome of the show, I had no idea that people could vote more than once. Seems like the Bible Belt was certainly throwing a few multiple votes Kris Allen’s way.

So here are my questions:

1. In the same way that we have the Ugly American, have we created the Ugly Christian? What are the characteristics of such a creature?

2. Are Christians the majority? And if they are, what kind of Christians are they?

3. Are Christians obligated to choose a Christian over a non-Christian, no matter what the focus of the choice might be ?

4. What’s up with Christians supporting blandness? What Christian artists of the past rocked the world with their controversial works?

5. Suppose one of the finalists on Idol were openly homosexual. Would it be a sin to vote for him/her? What does that answer say about the Church in this country?

I’ve talked with a few folks over the holiday weekend about this, and their answers surprised me. What do you think?