More from Our Values—U.S. Churches: Where will our eclectic tastes carry us?

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Today, we consider the increase in eclectic beliefs and practices, the long-term effects of which remain to be seen. Over one-third of churchgoers attend services in more than one church. One in four attends services in different faiths, according to another Pew survey. More than one in five Christians believe in astrology, reincarnation, and spiritual energy in trees and nature. Seventeen percent believe in in the “evil eye” (casting curses on others). Over the last twenty years, rising numbers of Americans say they have felt like they were in touch with someone who was dead, according to Gallup data discussed in the Pew report. A rising number also say that they have seen or been in the presence of a ghost.

In some ways, this eclecticism seems quite American—as the nation is a mix of peoples and beliefs, so too are American religions. By the same token, could rising eclecticism erode the religious foundation of the church? Can organized religion co-exist with the mix-and-match tendencies of the American people.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Culture-WatchReligion & Culture* International News & CommentaryAmerica/U.S.A.* Religion News & CommentaryOther Faiths

Posted January 28, 2013 at 6:46 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. Archer_of_the_Forest wrote:

My guess would include to the big red doors.

January 28, 9:47 am | [comment link]
2. Teatime2 wrote:

I’ve been thinking a lot about this, actually. I think that if Christianity is going to thrive, even survive, in the future, we’ve got to get rid of the silliness. I think that’s part of what the pope was trying to point out in his book that covered the Nativity—the scenes and plays we’re so attached to are false.

Oddly enough, the press went wild over the pope saying there likely weren’t any animals at Jesus’ birth. They accused him of ruining Christmas. Over animals. The same people who will happily proclaim that Jesus never really existed and that atheism promotes reason and that’s the hallmark of our age. The sad part is that we Christians have allowed this to happen and we feed it year after year.

One of the reasons I cannot abide Catholicism is how it is so full of distractions from Jesus—sacramentals, the cult of Mary, so many things that are extraneous, occupy people’s time and are the fruit of apparitions and private revelation. I fully understand that the Church’s position is that these are not required or vital practices and they can serve as spiritual aids. But they are abused and probably shouldn’t be tolerated as they can become the focus, rather than Jesus. This is no longer just a Catholic issue, though. ALL of Christianity is tainted and it’s way past time that we did a purge.

We need to get rid of the silliness, the extremes, the made-up mythology and quit reshaping our beliefs just to make people feel good. I think the biggest perversion of teaching revolves around angels. People cannot become angels. Why do we pretend that they can when it goes against our teachings? Why do we play into the hands of the secularists and conduct these silly pageants and scenes that have precious little in common with the realities of Jesus’ birth?

Jesus was likely born in March or April. Perhaps it’s time to divorce our religious practice and belief from the giant mess in December and reverently mark Jesus’ birth in the Spring. It might actually be far more meaningful to have one penitential season that includes the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection. The secular world wouldn’t be very interested in that.

Just some thoughts. We need to take back our beliefs and practices, I think, and study them again through the lens of authenticity, evangelization, and discipleship. I think we’ve allowed too many extraneous things in and these have competed with proper spiritual formation, especially in the young. It’s no wonder our young are being swayed by the atheists and secularists—we’ve allowed our faith to become infused with odd mystical practices, cartoonish depictions and distortions of the life of our Savior and some weird cultural influences.

January 28, 5:43 pm | [comment link]
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