Monday, July 18, 2005

Jesus in the Marketplace

The Weekly Standard has an article in a long line that I've been following regarding the steady but dramatic decline in attendance at mainline liberal protestant churches. This one is about the United Church of Christ (UCC). I discuss others in The Pure Investor.

While attendance is dropping, the church's leaders are embracing homosexual marriage, anti-Israel initatives and a few other fun things.

This is somewhat timely because The Divine Mrs. M spent the weekend prepping for Vacation Bible School this week at our church. Our church does this in conjunction with a UCC church in Bellevue. This one. Their pastor is gay (lives up the block from us) and their attendance is dropping. Our churches do several activities together and from what I can tell (I haven't been rude enough to ask) much of the congregation is now homosexual. Do I care? Not really. They all seem nice. They help out.

But I'm wondering. Why are these people leaving the UCC? Is it because they hate gays? I don't think so. The UCC tv commercial that plays in the link above would make it seem so. I think people leave because they don't feel comfortable at the church anymore. It's not the gays but the overt political and obnoxius attitude that they seem to have. I find that commerical extremely insulting and probably so do many of their long-time parishioners.

Imagine you're a long-time UCC'er. You may be a moderate East-coast republican who wrote checks to the NAACP in the 60s and 70s, but you just can't bring yourself to embrace gay marriage. You don't really have a problem with homosexuals per se, but...marriage? Now they seem to be forcing it down your throat (te-he) Also, you don't see what Israel is doing wrong. You don't follow it closely but building a wall to stop bomber doesn't sound evil and definitely not in comparison with other things going on in the world. This makes you like most Americans. And anyway, you don't come to church for politics do you?

What do you do? Do you fight and go to the Synod meetings and rally an insurection of other like minded parishioners agains the church leadership? Or do you just go down the street to the Methodist church? (better parking) or the Prysbeterians (closer to the diner)? Or maybe you just stop going to church? (free Sundays). There's a marketplace for Jesus. Look around, every church in town is offering a slightly different version. Take your pick.

Stay You.
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