Sunday, August 21, 2011

Someone Warn Rick and Michele: Church Attendance Is Declining

Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Oh, I just love getting my news from the radio! It's easier for me to avoid having to link!

Driving around a bit this morning, a Sunday, not much going on in the news. A report comes on that says church attendance is declining. I don't know if church attendance is declining just in the Delaware Valley (where I live), or everywhere across the nation. That's the thing about radio. It can be nebulous.

What interested me about this report was the speculation offered as to these declining numbers. The reporter said that people are probably avoiding Christian churches because of the emphasis on nuclear families (which most people don't have anymore).

I'm not sure I buy this. I've never personally seen a single mother, or a teen mother, showered with disdain or disrespect in a church. Usually they are welcomed with open arms -- especially by the single men who go to church in search of companionship.

Here's why I think church attendance is declining:

1. Politicians who mix church and state turn people off. When all you have left in the churches are the people who want the U.S.A. to be run on biblical precepts, you're gonna have some big, empty pews.

2. Churches always ask you for money. I just wrote a post about this last week. If you don't have enough cash to fix your own leaky roof, are you going to submit yourself to a stewardship sermon requesting tithe money to fix the church's leaky roof?

3. Our society is changing. When I was a kid, church was the only game in town on Sunday. Everything else was closed. Now you've got appealing brunch options, soccer games, open shopping malls, and the wonderful laundromat, bustling with busy sinners like me!

4. Church attendance, at least in big cities, has never been all that impressive. I guess in small towns, where everyone you know goes to church, you're more inclined to do it yourself. Where I live, it's just as easy to go to a museum ... and less expensive.

If there's a cautionary aspect to this sermon, it's just this: The harder the fringe Christians press their agenda, the more people they'll alienate. Loud fringe groups who have outsized influence on politics are always met by a backlash. If you want to know why we even have to deal with the Dominionists and the Moral Majority and all these fools, just go back to 1968 and ask yourself what the hippies wrought.

I think I'll keep listening to news radio on Sunday. If I hear that church attendance is growing by leaps and bounds, I'll be concerned about the future of America. Checks and balances are good things, in government and society at large.

E pluribus unum.


Kathy said...

Actually they do treat single mothers with a lesser regard. Sure, they "welcome" you in with open arms but nearly every event is "family" oriented and without that husband as the head of the household, you're not made to feel a part of the group.

If you're even invited to the group. Plus the wives tend to view you as a threat to the sanctity of their marriage. And single men? Hardly any except for maybe the 40 year olds who still live with their mothers.

While I agree with all your other points, being a single mother is definitely one of them. Or even women whose husbands won't go to church with them. I have been both a single mother and a solo mother and was never made fully welcome in any evangelical church I ever was a member of.

Anne Johnson said...

Kathy, thank you for your input!

Woodland Chapel said...

Could you elaborate on 1968?

MaidenCreatrix said...

@Kathy: I think it may differ from church to church... the Episcopalian church of my childhood is very welcoming to people traditionally not accepted (or reluctantly accepted) by most Christian denominations-- my divorced mom for one, our gay leader of the hospitality committee for another. I do not consider myself Christian (or, at the very least, primarily Christian) anymore, but I still think very highly of the people there.

However, they might be in the minority (unfortunately). Sorry your experiences have been bad.