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Last Wednesday, I caught a bit of Glenn Beck’s show while driving across town. The subject kept me from turning the dial, even though I don’t usually listen to him. The subject? How Christianity is losing the culture.
In an interview with Jonathan Bock, they went over some Pew Research and Gallup poll numbers that show alarming statistics for church attendance, Bible reading habits, and tithing.
Just know as I go on that I am quite bad at all three. We do not tithe 10 percent, though I do try to give what I promise. We have been irregular attendees and my Bible reading is sporadic (though improving). Basically, I’m the 70-80 percent of Christians who don’t go to church.
In my attempt last year to attend more regularly, we found a new church. It leaves much to be desired, but I am getting over those details just to be in community with other Christians.
The last four weeks have reminded me why I have a difficult time going to church. And it does not appear Bock tackled those issues. There is an assumption in Bock’s analysis that the Word of God is what is being preached from the Sunday pulpit. Three out of four of the last sermons (every sermon given by one priest) had allusions to the “right” response to the Broward County shooting. Hint: it isn’t more security or increasing the age from 18 to 21. “Guns are the problem!”
Policy and politics should not be preached from the pulpit unless there is a theologically sound reason to side on one side over the other. There is no such case for guns unless your theology is pacifism, but even many pacifists (for theological reasons) don’t view pacifism as something to force on others.
But to preach politics puts those who disagree with your politics outside the church. Why would you do that but not teach about sexual morality?
Bock never goes into one of the possibilities for lower attendance: the proliferation of politics in the church. Instead, he notes that out of those who remain, their tithing and Bible reading are abysmal.
But he never offers up numbers on Bible reading and prayer among those who no longer attend.
It may be that a good many devout Christians have abandoned a church that doesn’t teach the word of God, but instead preaches the words of politicians and activists.
I will still attend, but I don’t know how much longer I can stomach the politics.