Traditional Christianity is often viewed as having a perspective that focuses primarily on the transformation of the individual. Some elements of emergent Christianity extend beyond just personal renewal in salvation and a high standard of individual morality to a concern for social justice and institutional reform. Achieving this in a modern society may necessitate a change in what it means to be “Christian” and to “follow Jesus.” We may need to understand better the social, cultural, and structural elements that are different today than those present 2000 years ago when Jesus lived and when the Bible was written. By using the sociological imagination and examples from sociological research, this paper argues that a more socially and culturally informed faith can guide these new efforts. It also suggests that the Christian Church may be the best institution in society to lead these changes.
sociological imagination, progressive Christianity, social justice, social change, race, emergent Christianity, faith, church