America’s liberal Christians might be progressive and inclusive, but they are also dying out

Posted by The_Elves

Dr Tim Stanley in the Daily Telegraph
The other problem is that Americas’ overall belief in God shows no great evidence of decline. What has really fallen isn’t faith but patterns of communal worship. For millions of folks, it is no longer the default to join a church. In fact, giving up your Sunday morning to sit in a cold temple listening to a kazoo band playing Nearer My God To Thee is, for most people, a perverse thing to choose to do. Ergo, it is not enough to get them into the pews by saying, “We've driven out the bigots!” – ministers now how to convince the public that church attendance is in their personal interest. And conservatives are better at doing this than liberals because the product they are selling makes a stronger claim for its value to the individual.

Think of faith as operating within a highly competitive marketplace of ideas. Faith is no longer a product that people presume they need and are looking to buy (soap or shoes). Instead it has become a luxury item, or something that they have to be convinced that they might want (a sports car or a puppy). What kind of luxury is more likely to sell? Liberal Christianity is wracked with doubt, ducks strong conclusions and often seems to apologise for its own existence. Its liturgy is a confusing blend of styles and belief systems – just take a look at this colourful consecration of an Episcopalian bishop in Los Angeles. What do these people believe, and how is it relevant to me?

By contrast, the conservative Christian product is a zinger....

Read it all

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012

Posted July 25, 2012 at 3:48 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. MichaelA wrote:

“Thanks to immigration and a steady increase in priests and congregations, the closest thing the US has to a national church is now the Roman Catholics. The only bastions of Protestantism are the Baptist South and Methodist West Virginia. The Mormons have a strong presence out West, too.”

This is part of the terrible price being paid for the stupidity and incompetence of TEC’s leaders (and the equally incompetent people who support them).  There are reports from all over the USA of parishes being closed down as people stop attending and the remnant die off.  That means large parts of the USA will be left without an Anglican witness.  A few dioceses of TEC are holding their own, and churches are being planted by ACNA and Continuum groups, but the overall trend still seems to be down.  I believe North America (like every nation) needs an Anglican witness, and it will take a long time to undo the damage that has been done by the witless wonders at 815.

“Diana Butler Bass offers a more liberal response, writing that Christianity is declining in general, not just liberal Christianity in particular. The problem with Bass’ pessimistic argument is that Pentecostalism bucks the trend. Where it is ultra-orthodox, Christianity is actually flourishing.”

Funny how secular journalists can understand the issues well enough, when bishops, priests and lifelong episcopalian laity deny the blindingly obvious.

July 25, 8:27 pm | [comment link]
2. Charles52 wrote:

Faith is not now, nor was it ever a product, commodity, and certainly not a “luxury item”.  An authentic faith drills itself into your bones,  demands your who;e attention, and ultimately re-forms your life. Faith is often not something you want (at least, I haven’t always “wanted” it), but something (again) inside of us of our hearts, our minds, our will.

For the record, the Catholic Church is not anything close to being a national church. If we sent all our functional Episcopalians to the Episcopal Church, they might be bigger than us, anyway.  grin

July 25, 9:33 pm | [comment link]
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