Saturday, August 03, 2019

Survey Says ...

The scenario: Christian pastor writes an anguished if well-intentioned Facebook post along the lines of: "Hey, I encounter lots of people, particularly young people, leaving the Christian Church. This grieves me. I wish they'd come to our church, where we're not like those fundamentalist churches, but where we genuinely welcome questions and doubts, and where we represent the best of Evangelicalism, contemplative Christianity, the role of the Holy Spirit, scholarship and critical thinking, and social action."

Once you get past the expected 80% "Aww, you're the best pastor ever/I love our church" responses, the comments get interesting. Here are a few:

"You have a huge blind spot. You claim to be welcoming, but there are major segments of the population that are missing from your church because they know they would not be welcome. They're not showing up at your church. Why would they?"

"Your church model is a problem. It's heavily pastor-centric. You have all the trappings of a denomination, but because you refuse to call yourself a denomination, you have no structure for accountability or widely-recognized central tenets. You have no accountability within individual churches and no consistency from church to church. And you see the racism and xenophobia rampant in our culture and you say nothing about it. Is now really the time to turn a blind eye to justice and mercy?"

"Your use of the words "traditional Christian morality" is a loaded term. It sounds nice and objective and safe. It's not."

"Donald Trump, Donald Trump, Donald Trump, and the church's unholy alliance with and support of him. This is why people are leaving the church. Figure it out."

And on and on it goes.

My take: this is a good church, and the pastor is a good pastor. There are many positive things to recommend about this church. And every one of those comments is accurate.

I've said it before; the next 20 years will determine whether "traditional Christian morality" (and boy, is that ever a loaded term) survives as a viable cultural viewpoint. The old cheerleaders will be dying off. The young people will have never been there.

No comments: