Thursday, February 16, 2012

Crimericans and Chrisamericans

I created two portmanteaus a few years ago when trying to explain my frustration with how Americans had mixed what they understood it meaning to be an American with what it meant to be a Christian. I decided to write this blog to explain the terms and the differences in them, and the dangers behind both of them. 

Chrisamericans or ChrisAmericans - This is the group that I think has existed for the longest, is the most logical post-reformation to exist, and is perhaps the least dangerous of the two.  People in this group primarily see Christianity through American lenses. This can be as small as a view on mission as us "taking" something to others, or as big as thinking our version of democracy is God's preferred government.  While these things keep people from seeing God at the complete center of all things, they are typically willing to learn and hear other viewpoints and don't think they have all the answers to everything.  They just want what's best for the world and think their country is as good as it gets.  This is slightly short sighted, but we all have lenses we see the world through that keep us from seeing things clearly.  Thus the name Chris (focused mostly on faith) Americans (focused wholly on country). We all have biases and well this is just another one, at the best someone will realize they see the world this way, at their worst they are easily swung by our second group. 

Chimericans - This is a group that I see and hear more every day recently.  They not only think that America is central to everything, but think there is only one version of America and one version of Christianity and the two and attached in all forms.   This is where it gets dangerous because while ChrisAmericans exist throughout a political, social, and spiritual spectrum, those who fall into the Chrimericans category create an "Us vs Them" dynamic where they blindly ascribe to their ideologies regardless of what others may present as counter arguments to their points.  Chrimericans will even move along a range of thoughts as long as it serves the end of maintaining or gaining power. They convert both Christian and American ideals into some mixture that fits their comfort level.  To argue with those who have done this is a struggle at best, even relationships that show them something different can be less than convincing.  Their name signifies how they choose to short both sides, both American ideals of freedom and Christian ideals of justice to create a comfortable place for them, or at least one that they perceive as being a certain way in the future. 

The soundbites from those in the later category have become so loud, that many of us who do not agree with them have begun to lump these two groups together and in the process begun to create the same "Us vs Them" rhetoric from just a different standpoint.  There are differences between people who have issues seeing the world from outside their experiences but are attempting to do good, and those focused mainly on achieving an end that is at its center self-serving.  Not all who do things we do not agree with are trying to create a world counter to the one we seek and hear God calling us to.  We must be careful who we vilify less we take the same mistake to think we have the full and complete vision of God ourselves and limit what God is doing in this world by our own desires.

"The grace of God is dangerous. It's lavish, excessive, outrageous, and scandalous. God's grace is ridiculously inclusive. Apparently God doesn't care who He loves. He is not very careful about the people He calls His friends or the people He calls His church." -Michael Yakonelli

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