It’s Sunday evening and it’s snowing…winter has been really long this year in the Okanagan and it’s very cold. I know some global warmist will tell me that this is the sign of the apocalypse but over the last three  winters we’ve had the Great Lakes freeze over one year and the Okanagan freeze-up this year and the Maritimes just get pummeled with storm after storm in three of the last five years. When does the heat start showing up? Now I know the climate is changing, it always is — I am just not convinced that we can do (or did) anything to cause what is happening!! But I digress…
The above is not my first question tonight. Because I went to church this morning my query has to do with the world of religion (more than the issue of faith). Why are Christian churches, in a time of great uncertainty, growing smaller (interesting juxtaposition of key words)?
Perhaps it is because the church has tried to become too world-like. Has the church actually focused too much on becoming popular? Are we so in an age of ME and MORE ME, that the mainland church has succumbed to the temptation to try to be chameleon-like and blend in, with the hope being that it will be more acceptable? As a result, when things get noticeably tougher in the course of one’s daily life, there is no thought of turning to the church because it is not seen as either a bastion of strength and support nor a pillar of counter-culture with potentially helpful advice and guidance. Church does stand for anything obvious anymore…
It would be interesting to have conversations with third generation people of other religious affiliations — Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, etc. — and find out where they see their religious institutions, in this current era. While some certainly continue to wear the symbols, I wonder if it is all that much different that those who wear crosses around their necks even though they probably don’t even know where a nearby church is located. For all the Muslims in the world, there actually are very few that are violent jihadists; probably in the same proportion that we have hell’s angels and other such gangs. Sometimes violence attracts people who in another life would simply be very vigorous fundamentalists of the faith of their grandparents.
There is a great deal of angst coupled with deep-seated concern about the unfolding of democratic institutions and the power struggles going on in the world. Russia and the old eastern bloc; the USA and Trump, various South American countries including Brazil, the Philippines, China-North Korea-South China Sea…and then there is all the various terrorist attacks (and their pseudo-cousins, domestic-based violence either with police, ex-military people or in the home). All much more than 9/11 and yet there has been no significant return to church by the populace. And there has been no major move by any church system to publicly invited people back for a time of serious reflection, prayer and conversation about how to show the world there are some positive alternatives.
In any case, I think that in a couple of generations, churches (and quite likely their current cousins, governments) will be required to apologize for the current in-actions by the churches (and governments) to stand up for defined credo’s. Churches have become lazy, adapting to whatever ways and fads seem to be prevalent — as Bob Dylan said: You don’t need the weatherman to know which way the wind blows!! Today you don’t need the church to know which way society’s fads blow!! My great-grandkids are going to ask many questions, I’m sure, as to why we all let it get away from us…how did we blow our great wealth by not exploiting our resources and so they ended up with trillions in public debt and still a small population to pay it off — most of whom will have a very limited historical connection to this country.
This general apathy I believe has been led by the church — it just couldn’t keep church and state separate and so it became more synonymous with state. Those that didn’t — many of the more conservative evangelicals — actually thrived, although their growth has been less about new converts but rather gaining members from the disaffected hoards in other mainline denominations. And they have not been all that eager to step away from the trending worldly ways in the sense of encouraging serious discussions about the unfolding international scenarios…
I will have more to say about this in the not too distant future and I do more pondering…but any interim comments or queries will be appreciated!!
if no one responds, should I take this as validation of my concerns?