Christians in the US are tormented these days. Their outsider status, a key part of their identity, has collapsed with the election of a Republican majority. At the same time, the election seems, increasingly, to have been a last hurrah rather than a surge of triumph. This could be the last major opportunity for the Religious White to make their mark before demographics seriously weaken their power, and their leader is seriously … weird. And not really on-message as far as evangelicals go.
I’ve lost track of the number of blogs and websites written by Christians that I’ve checked in recent weeks, trying to grasp what’s happening. One of the authors I’ve read most, however, is Rod Dreher, a Louisiana author who a decade ago embraced Greek Orthodoxy, and whose new book, The Benedict Option, is just out. In it, he advocates the idea of Christians withdrawing into faith-based communities as the world increasingly turns away from the Bible, or of standard ways of comprehending and living that text. The link above, to a critical review by Emma Green, points out various problems with such withdrawal.
A news item surely raising some growls right now involves Lindsay Lohan’s explorations of the Qur’an. I feel sympathy for this woman, who came through a seriously messed up childhood, and then had to deal with fame at a too-young age. Sure, she brought it on herself, but I cut her some slack given her age and upbringing. Having come through her first Saturn return in the past couple of years, she has her feet on the floor again, even if her acting career is less remarkable than her early performances hinted it could be.
Her investigation of Islam, which sounds like it’s on the cusp of a conversion, makes sense to me for someone who has struggled to get a grip. The faith is far less neurotically beleaguered than Christianity, and my own direct encounters with it have made it plain that it embodies a stronger spiritual current than the various sects that purport to follow Jesus do.
Additionally, since Lohan still carries the image of the chaotic rebel, and Islam is the bugbear of the new US establishment as well as of thousands of hysterical paranoiacs, it would appeal to confused or angry young people. So, I’m guessing Lindsay is the canary in the coalmine. Can the designer headscarves be far behind?
Nope, they’re here already.