Christianity and the Future of Faith
Zionic ministries is located on the corner of Webster and Park Avenue somewhere in the Bronx. With a congregation of about a hundred and fifty adults cutting across a number of racial and cultural lines. It is only a small church but within its ranks you will find a diverse history of religious experiences, a common appreciation and accommodation of individual differences and perhaps even a prophecy of the future.
Nowhere is the meeting more alive on any Sunday morning than in the youth department. It is here the church trains its reserve, from its teenagers down to babes in arms. My interests lie mainly with the teens. Bold and uninhibited they are a product of the hip hop culture recently grafted into the body of Christ. There is a liberty to their worship and faith. Their conversation (in the literal and biblical sense of the word), both within and without the church premises is the same: straight shooting and ceding to nothing that can not prove its practical usefulness. I cannot say that this unequivocation concerning faith is as a result of their having reconciled, in their mind, the conflict between the principles of the kingdom of God and the practices of circular society (often it is the same uncertainty that drives us to closer scrutiny to verify the things we have believed); but this, rather, seems to be the fruit of a way of thinking that values, above else the immediately profitable. A standard of values that retains or relinquishes information (even doctrinal information) by this criteria. Of course on fundamental issues we are all in agreement.
As on the need and process of salvation, but of others like the terrestrial benefits of salvation (in fact almost anything regarding God or faith as an advantage in the present tense) they would seem to relegate to the fringes of reality, in a common category with Harry Potter.
Still there is something to be said for their uncompromising demand for what can only be described as the tangibility of faith. Certainly for their willingness to show up at service after service of their own free will. But how does one prove what can only be known by experience? And experience of such a nature that demands the conscious submission of will and reason. A question that leads necessarily leads to the role of culture in religious development.
Considering the matter in retrospect, I find that my entrance into the household of faith was to a large extent attended by certain cultural elements. In a community of tier and ranking
(where, often, the most expansive explanation for demanding the most radical action was because), it is only a small shift in elevation to move the object of obedience from man to God.
But as culture at home and abroad begins to converge into a homogenous blend of egalitarianism, the larger Christian body must take into consideration the need for a social framework for developing the individual from obedience...