Cotton Candy Christianity

January 12, 2016 — 5 Comments

I’ll never forget the first time I encountered cotton candy.

There it was in all of its colorful and sugary glory at an amusement park. The attendant was circling the bowl to make this humongous ball of cotton candy. My mouth was watering. It looked amazing!

cotton-candyAnd then…I bit into it. And there was literally nothing to it! It had no substance. It evaporated in my mouth. I was so disappointed!

To this day, I’ve never bought another cotton candy for myself (yes, I did give in and buy it for our kids once, but they quickly realized their snack dollars were better spent elsewhere!).

Lesson learned. Appearances can be deceiving!

The more I reflect on it, the more I think that’s what’s going on with much of what is called ‘Christianity’ today. It looks really good and uses the right buzz words but then there’s nothing to it. Not much substance and it simply evaporates.

A Generation of Almost Christians

We are raising a generation of almost Christians. I think that explains some of the numbers we are seeing when it comes to youth. Yes, some students do walk away from the faith (about 50% disengage from their faith during the college years and many don’t appear to be coming back). But honestly, some never really had a substantial faith to begin with–that was there’s anyway. They didn’t own it.

Kenda Dean, author of Almost Christian observes:

“A significant part of Christianity in the United States is actually only tenuously Christian in any sense that it is seriously connected to the actual historical Christian tradition. It is not so much that U.S. Christianity is being secularized. Rather, more subtly, Christianity is either degenerating into a pathetic version of itself or, more significantly, Christianity is actively being colonized and displaced by a different religious faith.”

I see this first hand when I work with students and parents. And this breaks my heart.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be almost Christian.

God has called us to more than Cotton Candy Christianity.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:2

This year let’s do something about that together. Let’s pray. Let’s dream. Let’s think. And then let’s act.

In the days ahead we will be talking about how to do that.

Your Turn: What do you dream for this year when you think about your spiritual growth?

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A quick response to the “who are you to judge” objection.

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Jonathan Morrow

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Jonathan Morrow (D.Min) is a sought after speaker and teacher who has a gift for explaining challenging topics in ways the rest of us can understand. He is the author of several books including Questioning the Bible and Welcome to College and is an adjunct professor of apologetics at Biola University. Jonathan has earned master’s degrees in Philosophy of Religion and Theology as well as a Doctorate in Worldview and Culture from Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. As the founder of ThinkChristianly.org and Director of Cultural Engagement for Impact 360 Institute, Jonathan speaks nationally on worldview, apologetics, and culture and is passionate about seeing a new generation of Christ-followers understand why they believe, what they believe. Follow on Twitter: @Jonathan_Morrow

5 responses to Cotton Candy Christianity

  1. this is a great essay full of truth! Thanks so much!

  2. Ian McKerracher April 13, 2016 at 1:44 pm

    A term that I coined when considering the phenomenon that you are describing here is “Christianism”. While it carries the trappings of historical Christianity, it has lost a great deal of its robust flavor. It would rather cherry-pick the nice stuff about the teachings of Jesus and dismiss the more difficult stuff. Anytime I think about this, I am reminded of Jesus saying ” Why do you call me Lord and don’t do what I say?” (Luke 6:46) You must read this in a stand-up comic voice and add…”What’s up with that?”

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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