Jon Foreman Is Wrong About "The American Church"

A Christian cross is seen at a Greek Catholic Mar Sarkis monastery in Maaloula, Syria, Thursday, March 3, 2016. Its historic churches pillaged by jihadis and buildings riddled with shrapnel, this ancient Christian town north of Damascus still bears the scars of fierce fighting that devastated it two years ago. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)

Jon Foreman began his short whine on Huffington Post by pointing to the ethos of his father being a Pastor. I’ll point out the same, my Dad was a pastor all of my growing up in West and Central Texas, so I suppose we have equal footing now as we make vast generalizations about “The American Church.”

If the reader were to take the initial statement of Mr. Foreman’s argument “I have no stones to throw — after all, I’m only human, and I get it wrong more than most” should they not then dismiss the rest of the stone-throwing article, in which Jon accuses “The Church” of being unloving, marginalizing the poor, yelling at broken people, and so on and so forth. Foreman does a rhetorical flip-flop throughout the article: when he accuses “The Church” of something particularly nasty he is sure to throw himself in that category, saying “we” and “where is our love?” but in the next paragraph he makes the accusations at X individual’s expense, being careful to not lump himself into the same category as those who voted for Trump (presumably). He proceeds to accuse these people (who he does not identify with) as yelling hoards of hateful people who have no love. Go on, read the article for yourself.

I didn’t vote for Trump so his article isn’t really talking about me, I suppose, but the fact that he lumps “The American Church” as one big unhealthy family who doesn’t know the gospel is laughable. Because that is the ultimate point of the article, Foreman lectures all Churches of America for not expressing the gospel enough.  He does not explain what the gospel is, not in any way that would make sense to the Huffington Post readership. Thus it is ridiculous for Foreman to call out “The American Church” as if they were hateful bigots who were bent on yelling at immigrants and the poor. I don’t know what Jon’s experience in the Church he attends has been like, but mine have been largely pleasant. I’ve been the member, throughout relocating from Midland to San Antonio to Dallas to Austin to Houston, of 6 different Churches, and those experiences had nothing to do with hatefulness, or of members or leaders being unloving toward anyone in much of any way. The national or state politics of America has served no part of any of the Churches I experienced. And that’s the point, Jon Foreman is a musician, I’m an average joe, neither of us have the authority to talk about “The American Church” but merely our own experiences. An open letter to Churches that you are not a member of is like writing an “Open Letter To Millennials” as a Baby Booming Retiree. The Churches I have been a part of feed, clothe, and help the poor, they find homes for Orphans, they help Widows, and on and on and on. If they don’t have the human capital to help in a certain area of need that the city or town has, they donate to a cause that does. Were the Churches I was a member at perfect? Of course not. Each of them had their own unique strengths and weaknesses. But to accuse them of such vile hatred that Jon does is dishonest and foolish. Paul the Apostle never wrote a generic letter to “The Church” but instead wrote specific letters to specific Churches. Jon Foreman might do well to learn from Paul.
But if you want to view the world as Foreman does, who said that to fight ISIS “We fight back by refusing to be held captive by their unimaginative acts of intimidation” then be my guest (I unimaginatively think ISIS won’t care as they decapitate your head from your body).