A Serious Problem

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by FredS » Wed Aug 31, 2016 12:56 pm

I don't think you've done it on purpose tuttle, but you've sort of minimized what's happened. At least in regards to Rooster, Thunk, and Oynx, I don't expect they left the church over trivial marketing or product packaging. Or because of a bad pastor. Or ugly music. Or bad coffee. Or anything other than disbelief in the totality of what the Bible and the church teaches. They're smart guys who've investigated very important issues before walking out.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by tuttle » Wed Aug 31, 2016 1:43 pm

FredS wrote:I don't think you've done it on purpose tuttle, but you've sort of minimized what's happened. At least in regards to Rooster, Thunk, and Oynx, I don't expect they left the church over trivial marketing or product packaging. Or because of a bad pastor. Or ugly music. Or bad coffee. Or anything other than disbelief in the totality of what the Bible and the church teaches. They're smart guys who've investigated very important issues before walking out.
Oh, I was more or less aiming at the marketing mentioned in the OP. When I said I sympathize with folks who have left over those reasons, I wasn't meaning anyone here. I certainly wasn't trying to minimize their exit paths. Probably stuck my head in when I should've kept it out. No harm meant.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Thunktank » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:12 pm

tuttle wrote:
FredS wrote:I don't think you've done it on purpose tuttle, but you've sort of minimized what's happened. At least in regards to Rooster, Thunk, and Oynx, I don't expect they left the church over trivial marketing or product packaging. Or because of a bad pastor. Or ugly music. Or bad coffee. Or anything other than disbelief in the totality of what the Bible and the church teaches. They're smart guys who've investigated very important issues before walking out.
Oh, I was more or less aiming at the marketing mentioned in the OP. When I said I sympathize with folks who have left over those reasons, I wasn't meaning anyone here. I certainly wasn't trying to minimize their exit paths. Probably stuck my head in when I should've kept it out. No harm meant.
I think it's safe to assume that the reasons that people leave are many. Some may appear trivial not only to believers but to me as well. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that people often do things that appear irrational to others, but at the same time, their intuition has developed enough for them to know. The proof is when a person does something and it provides a net benefit. It's often how the little things that add up and knowing when a loss is worth the gain. The same could be said of any social structure from marriage to pipe clubs.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by tuttle » Wed Aug 31, 2016 2:47 pm

Thunktank wrote:
tuttle wrote:
FredS wrote:I don't think you've done it on purpose tuttle, but you've sort of minimized what's happened. At least in regards to Rooster, Thunk, and Oynx, I don't expect they left the church over trivial marketing or product packaging. Or because of a bad pastor. Or ugly music. Or bad coffee. Or anything other than disbelief in the totality of what the Bible and the church teaches. They're smart guys who've investigated very important issues before walking out.
Oh, I was more or less aiming at the marketing mentioned in the OP. When I said I sympathize with folks who have left over those reasons, I wasn't meaning anyone here. I certainly wasn't trying to minimize their exit paths. Probably stuck my head in when I should've kept it out. No harm meant.
I think it's safe to assume that the reasons that people leave are many. Some may appear trivial not only to believers but to me as well. On the other hand, I appreciate the fact that people often do things that appear irrational to others, but at the same time, their intuition has developed enough for them to know. The proof is when a person does something and it provides a net benefit. It's often how the little things that add up and knowing when a loss is worth the gain. The same could be said of any social structure from marriage to pipe clubs.
True. Usually it's not just one thing. Even if it's one big thing. It's a bunch of little things, often things one might not even be able to put a finger on.

That said, I do find it interesting to hear your stories. I know lots of people that have left "That Church" but haven't left the Christian faith. I know many who have sort of just drifted away rather than making a straight up break. You guys here are really the only folks I know who have made a type of sudden break (I don't necessarily mean it was sudden as if there was no thought behind it...I hope you see what I mean). It looks like the same kind of break I see with the folks that leave "That Church" and go to another church, but obviously it ain't the same. I'm not happy about your decisions, but I'm not happy about decisions I've made either. And if I may be so bold, and I say this with the highest of regard for you leavers, please don't think me flippant or sanctimonious but I actually think God teaches me things through you folks.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by hogleg » Wed Aug 31, 2016 3:04 pm

FredS wrote:My Pastor, this morning: "The the god you think you know, the god you imagine, can never change a thing. That god can't create the universe and he can't save you." In other words, you can't think your way to God. God is so much bigger, and so far away from space and time, and light and dark, that there's no way we should expect to see evidence of Him. Thinking this through, it seems arrogant to think we should ever expect to find 'proof' of the Creator that He does no specifically reveal to us. To think that, even today with the amazingly powerful technology we possess, we should be able to prove a God who has no need to prove Himself is the height of hubris. If seeing a beautiful sunrise is not enough to hint at God, then why do you think we should see Him by looking back millions of years through space or by looking at atoms and quarks. The Creator is surely smart enough to stay out of sight of the created if He chooses to do so.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Rooster » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:14 pm

wosbald wrote:+JMJ+
Rooster wrote:
wosbald wrote:
Rooster wrote:How, then, given this indeterminacy/undecidability on such an apparently important doctrinal claim, can a priest be so urgent and dogmatic in his preachments? It would seem that any nuancing of the great possibility of eternal suffering in this way would necessarily undermine the redemptive necessity of Christ.
"Full knowledge" and "complete assent," as requirements for a damning rejection of God -- that is how we "nuance" the "black & white" dogma of LOVE & OBEY, or PERISH.

A noble Moslem or Hindu, seeking God as well as they can, do not fully know Christ enough of accept or reject Him. God can extend great mercy to these... they have done the best that they can with what they have been given..

But, as Jesus taught, much more will be expected of us who have received so much more of the truth. We will each be asked to give an account of our lives -- why we didn't follow the good, or why we refused to believe the truth. If our pride is such that we continue to reject the Love before us, then we will get the separation that we desire.

Now, if you demand absolute, black & white assurance of your salvation -- you will find the theology of John Calvin more agreeable to your mood.

Meanwhile Pascal can tell you something about your odds for eternal happiness if you would rather reject God altogether.
You have a fairly modernist view of extra ecclesiam nulla salus. I think if you view the linked list below that you will see that you and the current Church are mostly out of step with the Church down through the ages. I don't want to hear about "development" in doctrine. Let's just call it what it is: A change in doctrine. :oops: :P

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Ecc ... ulla_salus
Don't confuse modern (or current) with Modernist. There's nothing Modernistic about Del's synthesis.

The two poles dictated by dogmatics could be briefly characterized as …

1) That all are morally obliged to enter the Catholic Church (Extra Ecclesiam)

and

2) That none perish through unknowing, accidental circumstance (God's Universal Salvific WIll)


Now, these two poles can be orthodoxly synthesized in various ways. At one extreme, one can have those syntheses which strongly preference Extra Ecclesiam, yet while critically affirming an (at least implicit) necessary minimum of Universal Salvific WIll which critically modulates and undercuts any unipolar tyranny of the brightly spotlighted Extra Ecclesiam. These would represent the "old skool"-type syntheses, wholly orthodox, which you seem to be integralistically identifying with "real" Catholicity (though you seem to be have been hastily overlooking their "critical modulation").

Mutatis mutandis, the above applies to syntheses which strongly preference the Universal Salvific Will.

And of course, there may be syntheses which attempt to give a more "equal time" balance to each of the poles.

None of these syntheses are any "better" or "worse", in an absolute sense, than the others. Though each of them, in their turn, may be more pastorally suited to particular times and places and needs.
I personally don’t think there’s anything wrong with Del’s “synthesis”, I am just highlighting the sort of bi-polar nature of the Church’s dealings with “T”ruth. Whether it is truly “modernist” in the sense Pope Pius X meant, is not that big of deal to me. I think the whole concept of a modernist heresy is ridiculous and ambiguously modernist itself.

Did those two poles always exist? I used to have a Feeneyite friend who held to what used to be - for 90% of the Catholic Church's history - the strict interpretation of EENS. The way she explained it - and I assume this was how the Church always understood it before the modern age, and its ambiguous language and penchant for rationalizing doctrinal changes as “developments” - is that since Jesus redeemed the world, the Holy Spirit (all powerful God) would provide the necessary means/grace, however that may be, for all to accept Jesus. After all, since one of the Catholic understandings of God is that He is all-powerful this would be easy enough, no?

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Rooster » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:16 pm

hogleg wrote:
FredS wrote:My Pastor, this morning: "The the god you think you know, the god you imagine, can never change a thing. That god can't create the universe and he can't save you." In other words, you can't think your way to God. God is so much bigger, and so far away from space and time, and light and dark, that there's no way we should expect to see evidence of Him. Thinking this through, it seems arrogant to think we should ever expect to find 'proof' of the Creator that He does no specifically reveal to us. To think that, even today with the amazingly powerful technology we possess, we should be able to prove a God who has no need to prove Himself is the height of hubris. If seeing a beautiful sunrise is not enough to hint at God, then why do you think we should see Him by looking back millions of years through space or by looking at atoms and quarks. The Creator is surely smart enough to stay out of sight of the created if He chooses to do so.
Paul told the Romans at the beginning of his letter to them that we all see GOD's divinity and power in creation itself.
Paul was obviously incorrect.

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Onyx » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:27 pm

Rooster wrote:
hogleg wrote:
FredS wrote:My Pastor, this morning: "The the god you think you know, the god you imagine, can never change a thing. That god can't create the universe and he can't save you." In other words, you can't think your way to God. God is so much bigger, and so far away from space and time, and light and dark, that there's no way we should expect to see evidence of Him. Thinking this through, it seems arrogant to think we should ever expect to find 'proof' of the Creator that He does no specifically reveal to us. To think that, even today with the amazingly powerful technology we possess, we should be able to prove a God who has no need to prove Himself is the height of hubris. If seeing a beautiful sunrise is not enough to hint at God, then why do you think we should see Him by looking back millions of years through space or by looking at atoms and quarks. The Creator is surely smart enough to stay out of sight of the created if He chooses to do so.
Paul told the Romans at the beginning of his letter to them that we all see GOD's divinity and power in creation itself.
Paul was obviously incorrect.
He was projecting.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Rooster » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:29 pm

Onyx wrote:
Rooster wrote:
hogleg wrote:
FredS wrote:My Pastor, this morning: "The the god you think you know, the god you imagine, can never change a thing. That god can't create the universe and he can't save you." In other words, you can't think your way to God. God is so much bigger, and so far away from space and time, and light and dark, that there's no way we should expect to see evidence of Him. Thinking this through, it seems arrogant to think we should ever expect to find 'proof' of the Creator that He does no specifically reveal to us. To think that, even today with the amazingly powerful technology we possess, we should be able to prove a God who has no need to prove Himself is the height of hubris. If seeing a beautiful sunrise is not enough to hint at God, then why do you think we should see Him by looking back millions of years through space or by looking at atoms and quarks. The Creator is surely smart enough to stay out of sight of the created if He chooses to do so.
Paul told the Romans at the beginning of his letter to them that we all see GOD's divinity and power in creation itself.
Paul was obviously incorrect.
He was projecting.
Indeed.

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Thunktank » Wed Aug 31, 2016 5:34 pm

Rooster wrote:
Onyx wrote:
Rooster wrote:
hogleg wrote:
FredS wrote:My Pastor, this morning: "The the god you think you know, the god you imagine, can never change a thing. That god can't create the universe and he can't save you." In other words, you can't think your way to God. God is so much bigger, and so far away from space and time, and light and dark, that there's no way we should expect to see evidence of Him. Thinking this through, it seems arrogant to think we should ever expect to find 'proof' of the Creator that He does no specifically reveal to us. To think that, even today with the amazingly powerful technology we possess, we should be able to prove a God who has no need to prove Himself is the height of hubris. If seeing a beautiful sunrise is not enough to hint at God, then why do you think we should see Him by looking back millions of years through space or by looking at atoms and quarks. The Creator is surely smart enough to stay out of sight of the created if He chooses to do so.
Paul told the Romans at the beginning of his letter to them that we all see GOD's divinity and power in creation itself.
Paul was obviously incorrect.
He was projecting.
Indeed.
He would be right if he means that the creative powers of the Universe are "God."
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Wed Aug 31, 2016 7:18 pm

"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:43 am

Son had 36 bruises. Mom quoted the Bible as defense.
An Indianapolis woman who beat her 7-year-old son with a coat hanger is citing Indiana's religious freedom law as a defense against felony child abuse charges, saying her choice of discipline comes straight from her evangelical Christian beliefs.

The woman quoted biblical Scripture in court documents. She said that a parent who "spares the rod, spoils the child," and: "Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you strike him with a rod, he will not die. If you strike him with the rod, you will save his soul from Sheol."
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Tue Sep 06, 2016 2:16 pm

This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
"One man's theology is another man's belly laugh." - Robert A. Heinlein

"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Onyx » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:27 pm

UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Tue Sep 06, 2016 3:40 pm

Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
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"Many of the points here, taken to their logical conclusions, don't hold up to logic; they're simply Godded-up ways of saying "I don't like that." - Skip

"You guys are weird." - Mrs. FredS

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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by Thunktank » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:22 pm

UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
Which makes me wonder. The churches that are experiencing growth around here are the non denomination churches with a large venue of activities, entertainment and cool public speakers. They must earn the dollars from interested members and visitors. It's the economic system of this day. My kids occasionally go to church with the neighbor kids. They spend most of the time playing basket ball with Christian band music playing in the background.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by infidel » Tue Sep 06, 2016 4:59 pm

This is a really timely, and to some probably shocking, series from Andy Stanley: http://whoneedsgod.com/

Gives me hope.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by hugodrax » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:17 pm

UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
Again, I think you're right on. Evangelism has become a corporate slogan, part of the church mission statement. A church, to an extent, will always be a bit of a business because it needs to be financially secure. But the cure of souls isn't business. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but a church shouldn't merely be about butts in pews and tithing and collection plates. I've seen parishes that are all about this, and I've seen parishes that were all about raising happy families and coming together to make sure people were OK and as happy as possible in this valley of tears, full of fish frys and donut Sundays and youth programs. Guess where I felt home?

A church, in my mind, is a lot like the old mutual aid societies. Members should know each other, take care of each other, come together to play and to pray and to work. It drives me a little nuts to see people approach evangelism as a business. As a Catholic, I won't know if my soul is saved until I'm standing judgment. But I know where I was evangelized. It was where people just loved each other and I got a sense of we are all in this together and the kidsecond and the old ladies played with my children.

That's also why I stink as an evangelizer.
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by UncleBob » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:41 pm

hugodrax wrote:
UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
Again, I think you're right on. Evangelism has become a corporate slogan, part of the church mission statement. A church, to an extent, will always be a bit of a business because it needs to be financially secure. But the cure of souls isn't business. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but a church shouldn't merely be about butts in pews and tithing and collection plates. I've seen parishes that are all about this, and I've seen parishes that were all about raising happy families and coming together to make sure people were OK and as happy as possible in this valley of tears, full of fish frys and donut Sundays and youth programs. Guess where I felt home?

A church, in my mind, is a lot like the old mutual aid societies. Members should know each other, take care of each other, come together to play and to pray and to work. It drives me a little nuts to see people approach evangelism as a business. As a Catholic, I won't know if my soul is saved until I'm standing judgment. But I know where I was evangelized. It was where people just loved each other and I got a sense of we are all in this together and the kidsecond and the old ladies played with my children.

That's also why I stink as an evangelizer.
Here is the problem for me: how do we fix it? I guess one could start with more prayerful, social activities but (and this is what started all this for me) how do we surmount the idea of money in evangelism and in church? I have no possible solution to offer--yet. :) I'm still thinking it through and looking for trends that may have some legs. There seems to be a few folks that are trying to downplay the money aspect but it always seems to come back to it.

I was talking with some preachers today and they seem to think they are "due" a certain amount. Both preachers are in the African-American churches and I was surprised to learn that they often collect tithes and a "love offering" for each preacher in the same service. Church services often go four-five hours with multiple preachers. 8O
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Re: A Serious Problem

Post by hugodrax » Tue Sep 06, 2016 5:57 pm

UncleBob wrote:
hugodrax wrote:
UncleBob wrote:
Onyx wrote:
UncleBob wrote:This author proposes 10 reasons for the decline of Christianity in 'Merica: http://religionnews.com/2016/09/06/why- ... declining/
  • Prosperity and affluence distract people from regular church attendance and reduce a strong sense of need to be in church, gradually eroding not just church attendance but Christian identity.
  • The pre-modern claims of traditional Christian faith appear increasingly incredible to postmodern Americans. It has been a very long time since a majority of cultural elites found Christianity’s supernatural claims, for example, to be credible. These elites dominate our culture.
  • Hypocrisies and conflicts in church, when they (inevitably) erupt, don’t just drive people to other churches, as in the past, but sometimes take them out of Christianity altogether.
  • The fading of cultural Christianity means that fewer and fewer Americans feel any cultural or familial expectation to be in church or practice Christianity. “It was good enough for grandpa” just doesn’t cut it anymore.
  • American Christianity is not producing many compelling leaders, and thus the average church (as well as the Church writ large) is not especially inspiring or visionary. Many ministers play it safe in order to keep their jobs, or are simply not that talented.
  • The collapse of any protection of Sunday from recreation and work, together with the gig economy, means many people are working or otherwise engaged on Sunday.
  • It is harder for parents to pass the faith onto their children in a wired world in which parental influence is in decline.
  • Evangelism is dead. No one really knows how to “share the Christian faith” any more in a way that connects with people, and many Christians have stopped trying.
Just a comment on that last one... "Evangelism is dead". I don't know if it's dead, but for a long time I dragged it around like a corpse. The thing I noticed about evangelism is that those most excited about it were the leaders sending out the begrudging pew-sitters. It's a pain in the neck, it's a constant gnawing guilty obligation, it's a embarrassing, it contaminates every interaction with an ulterior motive, and it results in friendships being dependent upon the subjects of evangelism being credulous or at least long-suffering enough to endure a continual implied or overt prodding.

To be fair, there were a few months where my excitement overrode all those negatives. But for the next 20 years, the reverse was true. And all the self-inflicted propaganda we used to feed ourselves was glossy nonsense. "They need it more than we do." "It's not our responsibility to make people believe, only to hold forth the truth." "It's a joy to speak for Him." "If you had the cure for cancer, you wouldn't keep it to yourself." Oh lord, how I'm glad to be free of that.

</rant>
I hear you. I think evangelism was meant to be organic--rising out of an actual/meaningful relationship over time--but with the institutionalization of Christianity it became something else. Frankly, it seems to follow the various economic models over the ages in which the Church found itself. It seems to parrot the neoliberal capitalism model we find ourselves in now. This is just my opinion.
Again, I think you're right on. Evangelism has become a corporate slogan, part of the church mission statement. A church, to an extent, will always be a bit of a business because it needs to be financially secure. But the cure of souls isn't business. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but a church shouldn't merely be about butts in pews and tithing and collection plates. I've seen parishes that are all about this, and I've seen parishes that were all about raising happy families and coming together to make sure people were OK and as happy as possible in this valley of tears, full of fish frys and donut Sundays and youth programs. Guess where I felt home?

A church, in my mind, is a lot like the old mutual aid societies. Members should know each other, take care of each other, come together to play and to pray and to work. It drives me a little nuts to see people approach evangelism as a business. As a Catholic, I won't know if my soul is saved until I'm standing judgment. But I know where I was evangelized. It was where people just loved each other and I got a sense of we are all in this together and the kidsecond and the old ladies played with my children.

That's also why I stink as an evangelizer.
Here is the problem for me: how do we fix it? I guess one could start with more prayerful, social activities but (and this is what started all this for me) how do we surmount the idea of money in evangelism and in church? I have no possible solution to offer--yet. :) I'm still thinking it through and looking for trends that may have some legs. There seems to be a few folks that are trying to downplay the money aspect but it always seems to come back to it.

I was talking with some preachers today and they seem to think they are "due" a certain amount. Both preachers are in the African-American churches and I was surprised to learn that they often collect tithes and a "love offering" for each preacher in the same service. Church services often go four-five hours with multiple preachers. 8O
Yeah, I'm not saying I have the answer. I have a deficiency in love of my fellow man. Oh, I generally like him in principle, but I'd rather not be bothered by him unless it's convenient. You ever meet a man that loves? That's the guy that builds churches. That's the guy people come to see.

Problem is, that's the kind of man that makes a fortune in sales, too. The question as I see it, isn't that we need to change the model so much as figure out a way to get that man back into the priesthood.
Etiam mihi opinio anserem perirent.

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