I believe it was around 1997 when I was first introduced to Rodney Clapp’s A Peculiar People: The Church as Culture in a Post-Christian Society
(1996). Clapp argues that Christianity no longer serves as the dominant civic religion in America. Being a “young and restless” evangelical type myself, I was drawn to his fearless and almost merciless critique of certain evangelical establishments and leader types. I’d found his work to be most refreshing and restorative for the evangelical churches in America, so much so that I had all the graduating students in both undergraduate and graduate educational ministries programs at Wheaton College read the book and engage in lively discussions.
Yet it was not until recent years that I really started experiencing the consequences of the so-called post-Christian conditions in North America. You see, a few years ago I moved from the “center” of American evangelicalism to one of the two major outposts of a post-Christian America: New England. Somehow, I managed to convince myself and my family that “God was calling” us to leave the comfort of Wheaton, Illinois (the “center”, yet much less prominent than previous decades) to migrate to New England, especially Boston, as a “missionary unit” to the bastion of secular academia’s center for “Christ’s sake.” Little was I prepared for what was waiting for us in New England, the once center of Christianity and Christian learning in America.