Stephen Mattson

Stephen Mattson is the author of The Great Reckoning: Surviving a Christianity That Looks Nothing Like Christ. You can follow him on Twitter (@mikta) or on Facebook.

Posts By This Author

Stop Glorifying Christendom and Follow Christ Instead

by Stephen Mattson 12-13-2018

Anything can label itself as being “Christian,” so we must always look to the person of Christ to guide us, because he already laid out a life for us that perfectly reflects what it means to be God incarnate on earth. Christ is everything.

We Have Reached the Border, And There is No One To Help

by Stephen Mattson 11-30-2018
A retelling of Psalm 22

Image via REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Roaring lions that tear their prey, open their mouths wide against us. They beat us, arrest us, incarcerate us, shoot us, then blame us. We are poured out like water, and all our bones are out of joint. Our hearts have turned to wax; they have melted within us.

No, Christians Aren't Inherently 'Better.' Thinking So Is Downright Dangerous

by Stephen Mattson 11-27-2018

Photo by Gift Habeshaw on Unsplash

As a religion consisting of millions of voters, venerable institutions, and large organizations, Christianity is often viewed by governments and politicians as a tool to influence and manipulate. Spiritual jargon is used to lobby segments of Christians to support various agendas, often under the pretense of being “Biblical” and “Godly.” This is how faith becomes co-opted to transform into something it was never meant to be: a way to obtain votes, a method for fueling populist rage, or grounds for implementing oppressive social structures.

The Bible's Purpose Is to Discover and Fall in Love with Jesus

by Stephen Mattson 11-21-2018

Christians can overemphasize the importance of the Bible and underemphasize the life of Jesus. Thus, when people advocate for Christ-like things like helping immigrants, providing safety for refugees, empowering the oppressed, and loving others as we wish to be loved, Christians passionately refute such things — using the Bible. They spout verses and use pseudo theology to discredit the actions that are the most Christ-like —all under the guise of “Biblical Christianity.”

The White Church Has Been a Steady Oppressor

by Stephen Mattson 10-17-2018

Image via eberhard grossgasteiger/Unsplash

White Christians benefit the most by being nationalistic and patriotic, because to do so upholds the methods of “law” that keep their societal privileges in place. So while America — it’s governmental machinations and economy — serves to continually bless and protect white Americans, it hasn’t done so for others. Incarceration rates, a vast history of enforced racism by the legislative, judicial, and justice branches of government, the mistreatment of people of color within the military, and the brutalization by police show just how one-sided our country has benefited particular groups of people because of race. As white Christians blissfully sing ‘God Bless America’ in their sanctuaries adorned with American flags, they look upon their country — and its many structures — with nostalgic pride, while others see betrayal, hurt, and suffering.

I'm Ashamed of Christianity, But Never of Christ

by Stephen Mattson 10-02-2018

Christianity transformed from a faith reliant on Jesus to a civic religion obsessed with obtaining partisan power. This co-opting of Jesus — manipulating His gospel of love and redemption to fit the narrative of an expanding American empire, specifically to maintain the colonial stronghold of white supremacy — fits a historical pattern.

The Church Must Listen to Women

by Stephen Mattson 09-28-2018

Christian leaders, on the whole, have failed to address the abuse and assault experienced by more than half of all Christian believers. When was the last time your congregation dedicated a sermon or service to sexual harassment, assault, and abuse? If you are fortunate enough to have experienced such a service, you’re the exception to the rule. Despite attending all sorts of churches within a variety of denominations and despite sitting through countless sermons, I have not once heard violence against women addressed in any significant capacity. I’ve heard homilies on the Leviathan, the Nephilim, and the dimensions of Noah’s ark. I have not heard a single sermon confronting a problem that affects nearly every woman in every congregation, and around the world

Social Justice Is a Form of Worshipping God

by Stephen Mattson 07-27-2018

Photo by Jovi Waqa on Unsplash.

Few things are more holy or worshipful than helping others and working towards providing humanity with justice, peace, reconciliation, equity, safety, and empowerment.

American Christianity Has Become an Institution of Intolerance

by Stephen Mattson 07-03-2018

But once back in America, these very same Christians will adamantly oppose having “foreigners” as neighbors, loathing the idea that they could possibly be allowed to cross into the border of the United States seeking a better life. So while they post pictures on social media of themselves surrounded by poor children and holding babies they personally cared for, they’ll post nothing about the children and babies being separated from their parents at the border.

How We Treat Immigrants Is How We Treat God

by Stephen Mattson 06-25-2018

Image via REUTERS/Loren Elliott

Many of Christianity’s tenets are inherently illogical and absurd —  a person being fully man and fully God; a person rising from the dead; miracles (like being swallowed alive by a fish); angels and supernatural beings; an afterlife … If Christians can accept these things as true, the basic themes of the gospel: love, joy, peace, kindness, forgiveness, and hope can hardly be questioned. Yet many Christians are failing to abide by these fundamental truths, refusing to follow God’s greatest command. For people claiming the faith of Christ, showing love and compassion to immigrants, no matter their status, is a requirement of following Jesus — there is no alternative.

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