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Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:31 PM

Most main line denominations are losing membership, and there are a lot of

opinions as to why and what can be done about this.

Has anyone ever seen a decent study asking people why they aren't active church members?

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Reply Most main line denominations are losing membership, and there are a lot of (Original post)
hedgehog Jan 2013 OP
Lydia Leftcoast Jan 2013 #1
hedgehog Jan 2013 #2
arely staircase May 2013 #11
Lydia Leftcoast May 2013 #13
GreenPartyVoter Jan 2013 #3
hedgehog Jan 2013 #4
GreenPartyVoter Jan 2013 #6
GreenPartyVoter Jan 2013 #5
arely staircase May 2013 #12
Stopbiblebullies May 2013 #7
47of74 May 2013 #8
arely staircase May 2013 #10
refrescanos Jul 2013 #14
arely staircase May 2013 #9

Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 02:59 PM

1. My impression is that people were bored out of church

You no longer have to have a religious affiliation to be socially acceptable in most parts of the country.

Way too many mainline churches are just going through the motions. I don't mean "not having contemporary liturgies with praise bands." I mean that there is nothing positive to ATTRACT people, because some pretty traditional Episcopal churches are growing and others are not.

If you're a member of a mainline church, and you are urged to "invite a friend," and you can't think of any positive things to say to any of your friends about why this might be a good experience, then your parish is in trouble.

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #1)

Mon Jan 14, 2013, 04:50 PM

2. I am ambivalent about whether it is a good thing that church going

is not required to be socially acceptable. The church may be smaller and purer, but I'm not sure that's the goal. At the same time, people who are there are there out of belief, not out of following the crowd.

Church is supposed to be for those who need healing, not for the perfect. We're still discussing what we think is going on, rather than working from actual data, but do you think that church has a slight reputation for snobbishness?

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Response to Lydia Leftcoast (Reply #1)

Sat May 25, 2013, 05:24 PM

11. good point

my episcopal parish lost some members over gay unions, but we are still a vibrant, fun and loving church. we have some members who disagree with the Church's position on gay unions but stayed. a dozen adults, including myself were confirmed on mother's day so although we lost some members we are still gaining others. it is still a net loss, but as our bishop said, Episcopalians are never going to be in agreement on everything, but the glue that holds us together is our desire to live like Christ and to treat the least among us as we would Our Lord Himself. we raised a good bit of money with our car wash this weekend to fund a youth mission to help the elderly poor in Houston fix up their homes and clean up their yards.

we don't proselytize except through our actions - setting a Christ like example. we don't go around calling others sinners and condemning them, as such would be blasphemous to us.

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Response to arely staircase (Reply #11)

Sat May 25, 2013, 05:45 PM

13. There were some losses in my parish due to a very polarizing priest and then due to his

essentially being asked to retire, but we have a very good interim who is leading the vestry in working out differences, and slowly but surely, we're growing again.

Yes, some people have left, probably never to return, but others who had left previously have come back, and we take in new members quarterly.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:20 PM

3. I think a lot of people are unchurched because they are drifting from those

specific religious beliefs. I know I have found myself moving along those lines, anyway.

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Response to GreenPartyVoter (Reply #3)

Tue Jan 15, 2013, 01:48 PM

4. Would you expand on that? What type of specific beliefs?

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Response to hedgehog (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:58 PM

6. oops...see post 5

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Response to GreenPartyVoter (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 09:57 PM

5. Well, for myself I no longer believe in Hell or the Virgin birth and so forth. I still go

to church because I still find use in it (sermons, fellowship) but I think if they stopped having any meaning for me I would stop going.

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Response to GreenPartyVoter (Reply #5)

Sat May 25, 2013, 05:41 PM

12. as a rational person i do not take literally the virgin birth or hell as a place of eternal torment

but I do in my own way believe these things, as I interpret them through my God-given reason. If they meant nothing to me I would not say them every Sunday during (Anglican) Mass. The fact is, the author of the earliest Gospel (Mark) never mentions a virgin birth. St. Paul, whose epistles are even older than the Gospels never mentions it either. But I do believe God was uniquely in Jesus, and it makes no difference how he got there. So I recite the Nicene Creed, with its born of a virgin part because it is important theologically and spiritually, not literally and historically as a testimony to Our Lord's uniqueness.

Hell: I don't know what happens when we die. But I believe God is with me now and will be wherever I go when I die - even if that is to decompose into the fertilizer that perpetuates his creation.

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sun May 12, 2013, 01:56 PM

7. Christians are losing out because they are not Christ-like

Growing up in a fundamentalist Baptist family in the deep South, I learned early on that there was an ugly side to the religion. It happened one day when, at the age of 7, I stopped into my usual ice-cream store and, with childhood innocence, asked the young girl scooping the ice-cream why she was always so sad. She replied, "Because my dad's a Catholic and he's going to hell."

In the 2012 election, I saw such hatred and ignorance spewing from the mouths of talking head fundamentalists that I wrote Bible Bullies: How Fundamentalists Got The Good Book So Wrong to expose the hate-filled tactics of people who use the Bible as a weapon for the groups that they want to attack.

Whether it be women's issues, social service programs, sexual diversity, separation of church and state, or a number of other issues that I visited, there is always a hate-filled fundamentalist willing to quote Bible verses to damn his or her enemies.

Christians have to distance themselves from this sort of very un-Christlike behavior and return to following the message of peace and love that Jesus taught. They also have to stop condemning others, which is what Jesus taught.

Until Christians can stop bullying others, they will continue to lose their following.

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Response to Stopbiblebullies (Reply #7)

Sun May 19, 2013, 04:10 PM

8. I left the Catholic church last year

A lot of it was due to the behavior of the leadership and right wing Catholics in the election year. I felt that their claims of religious persecution over political differences with the President cheapened the very real sacrifice countless individuals have made over the past two thousand years for the Christian faith. I stopped going last year in January and a short time later started going to the local Episcopal church. Never looked back - it felt much better of a fit than the Catholic church did. I just wish I had come to the Episcopal Church earlier in life, I might have saved myself a lot of pain.

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Response to Stopbiblebullies (Reply #7)

Sat May 25, 2013, 05:13 PM

10. this nt

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Response to Stopbiblebullies (Reply #7)

Sat Jul 6, 2013, 02:49 PM

14. Amen

I recently saw in responses to general news where Repugs wonder if there are any Democrats that are Xtian.

To bad I can't get your book at my local Christian book store... I have a coupon for 33% off
:-D

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Response to hedgehog (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2013, 05:11 PM

9. I was just confirmed in the Episcopal Church at age 40 something

I was raised in the Southern Baptist church but left it when I reached the age of reason (to lift a line from Carlin.) I suppose, unfortunately, it is more attractive to many to belong to a group that defines itself as being against things than one that is for things. I live in the Bible Belt where anti-gay sermons are preached every Sunday from the pulpit despite the fact Our Lord never mentioned homosexuality during his entire ministry.

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