I spent a few moments today, as usual, skimming my usual blogs. ONE article was a stand out today! If you have any interest in "churchworld," or what some would refer to as "contemporary Christianity," this perspective will be a challenge to you. It has now been over a couple of weeks since the latest Pew Forum study on religious practices. I've read all sorts of spin and have seen all kinds of analysis based upon findings that clearly indicate that Christianity in America, though according to some is "doomed," is declining. Call it what you will, the onset of Post-Christendom paired with Post-modernity and the increasing influence of secularism, individualism, and moral relativism, has taken and is taking its religious institutional toll.
The article is worth reading...it is a short "take" on the Pew research but includes, most importantly, some key phrases that are telling. Read it for yourself...but look carefully at:
"Faded into broader culture"
"Collapse...of religious belief as civic assumption"
The distinction between, "repressed remnant" and "joyful minority"
I think that there are some good points in this article especially when its author rightly points out that the church's role is society is perceived with an "angry and anxious public face." Those words alone should be a wake up call to those of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus. How the culture perceives Jesus lovers is how the culture will respond to Jesus lovers. If that love cannot transcend the increasingly secularistic cultural norms, than churchworld will continue to decline. A "new model" of social engagement must emerge from the halls, pews, chairs, auditoriums and sanctuaries of churches. Pure and simple, that's his encouragement. Frankly, I think it is wise advice!