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This week’s cover features a very average-looking Jesus Christ, whose cover line urges we follow him—and ditch the church. The cover story is written by Andrew Sullivan, who who argues that Christianity in America is “in crisis,” as political issues like contraception, health care, and abortion have been usurped by religious thinking, and the kind of Christianity that is most essential and pure has been lost.
Here’s an excerpt (full story online and on newsstands tomorrow AM):
It seems no accident to me that so many Christians now embrace materialist self-help rather than ascetic self-denial—or that most Catholics, even regular churchgoers, have tuned out the hierarchy in embarrassment or disgust. Given this crisis, it is no surprise that the fastest-growing segment of belief among the young is atheism, which has leapt in popularity in the new millennium. Nor is it a shock that so many have turned away from organized Christianity and toward “spirituality,” co-opting or adapting the practices of meditation or yoga, or wandering as lapsed Catholics in an inquisitive spiritual desert. The thirst for God is still there. How could it not be, when the profoundest human questions—Why does the universe exist rather than nothing? How did humanity come to be on this remote blue speck of a planet? What happens to us after death?—remain as pressing and mysterious as they’ve always been? That’s why polls show a huge majority of Americans still believing in a Higher Power. But the need for new questioning—of Christian institutions as well as ideas and priorities—is as real as the crisis is deep.
Update: Cover story writer Andrew Sullivan will host a live Q&A Tuesday at 2pm ET if you’d like to join and discuss the piece.