Get Woke, Go Empty

So if you have a church that softpedals the Jesus stuff to focus on social-justice scolding, you’re telling me people will take their spiritual quests elsewhere?

Who’da thunk it?

This article from the Strib doesn’t call out “social justice warfare masquerading as a church” directly.   But…:

The Mainline Protestant churches are emptying the fastest, according to the Star Tribune.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has nearly 200,000 fewer members in Minnesota than it did in 2000. It’s lost around 150 churches. More than 1,000 of the churches still in existence have fewer than 50 members… Since 1990, the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. and United Church of Christ have lost nearly half their national members. The ELCA has lost a third. The Catholic church still shows membership growth, but has 2,000 fewer parishes today, according to Catholic studies.

While fewer Americans are going to church, the Strib’s article focuses on the complete collapse of “mainline” – which may as well be “code for ‘co-opted by progressivism”” Protestant churches.

(And the Catholics have their own problems).

The article doesn’t talk a  lot about evangelical Protestants – probably for good reason.

I was about to write “…it’s a theological, not partisan, issue” – but of course, that’s the rub; the fact that the mainline protestant sects – including the Presbyterian church I grew up in, whose book of worship puts less temporal BS between man and God than any other, and whose traditions (traditionally) better facilitate at least my own personal faith than any other – have been so completely cheapened and debased by facile, frivolous progressism – is a huge net loss to this nation’s faith community.



8 thoughts on “Get Woke, Go Empty

  1. If it were only just the social justice crusades….

    But then there is the architecture. Is it a church or a bank? Or perhaps the mothership from the planet Zork.

    And then there is the music. Are we selling Christianity or razor blades? Or is it the camp counselor from fifty years ago strumming on his guitar?

    Let’s not forget the sermons. I’m Okay, You’re Okay, People who diddle dogs are Okay too.

  2. I jokingly refer to myself as a Recovering Catholic. Sadly, I’m the staunchest defender of the Church, particularly its traditional views, within my family. Even sadder, the current priest at my childhood parish has told my gay cousin and his husband that they are welcome to come and receive Communion at any time. When I quit discussing the Church with my church going family I asked them why they continue to belong, attend, and volunteer for an organization that’s stated views so deeply contradict their own views.

  3. The mainline (theologically liberal) churches have a lot of self-inflicted wounds, that’s for sure. Regarding the fundamental and evangelical churches–I’m defining the term loosely to include a lot of charismatic and pentacostal churches as well–we have our own problems, and in my (probably not humble enough) opinion, those problems also generally step from our failure to take the Bible seriously, generally related to a reflexive protection of our particular subcultures.

  4. I accompanied a friend to her evangelical church when I was in Florida. I told her, “I’m surprised. I’ve never been to a place where a church service broke out halfway through a rock concert!”

    No, I didn’t go back.

  5. When I quit discussing the Church with my church going family I asked them why they continue to belong, attend, and volunteer for an organization that’s stated views so deeply contradict their own views.

    SmithStCrx: you might check out my parish. It took the Church doing some serious wrongs (a kiddie abusing priest who murdered 2 folks who found out about it, followed by a priest who looted the treasury to pay for a gambling addiction, and some less well publicized stuff) to get the parish up in arms and back in control of their church. I’ve never been in a parish where the parishioners are as active and vocal in Church matters as the one here. It’s almost un-Catholic in my experience; what you describe is more the default case, where a more unengaged parish muddles through with the lot they’re sent.

    For example, the most recent and public event occurred when the current crew decided to take a score of Syrian refugees and the parishioners shot that down pretty hard, not exactly trusting the assurances of the Church that things were going to go as the hierarchy planned.

    The bishop and company have learned that this parish doesn’t have a whole lot of trust in the Church bureaucracy as compared to trust in Christ, even with the pretty good set of officiants that are here now. A lot of parishes would have crumbled under what this one has gone through, but I’m actually kind of in awe of how this one has toughened up and taken more control of its faith.

  6. When I quit discussing the Church with my church going family I asked them why they continue to belong, attend, and volunteer for an organization that’s stated views so deeply contradict their own views.

    I’ll bet a dollar to donuts that their response was some form of “I’m working to change the church from within”. Which is exactly opposite of how it should be. The whole idea is to change your life to conform to the church, not change the church to conform to your life. But progressives just can’t leave anything alone.

  7. They’re strong as ever down here in Real America. Every time I see a new church going up (and I see that plenty) I’m amazed because there is already a church every 1/4 mile.

    The secret is simple. Folks down here identify not with their religion so much (everyone’s Baptist), but with their church. They go to church because that’s where the friends they work and play with are. It’s where you get invited to hunt a man’s land, where you borrow a trailer, get help painting your house. It’s where your kids meet their future spouse.

    It used to be like that among Catholics up North.
    I can remember my entire extended family and assorted friends going to breakfast after Mass, but as neighborhoods got re-arranged, families that had known each other for generations moved apart, and the parishes died.

    The death of church centered life in urban areas and leftist shit holes (sorry for the redundancy) mirrors the decline of civilized society there.

  8. In rural areas it is as much about community and demographics as it is about politics. My mother’s small town Presbyterian church celebrated it’s 150th anniversary last year, but will probably close before this year is out. There aren’t more than a dozen there on any given Sunday, and they are all in their 70s and 80s.

    My son-in-law pastors an ELCA church in a very small Iowa town. The church is about 2/3rds filled every Sunday, all ages, and they have solid involvement in the various ministries. ELCA policies, however, aren’t front and center with the congregation, and ELCA politics are given even less thought, unless that thought is “What the hey?”

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