American Religion is Changing and We Need a New Story
As a cradle Presbyhterian who id also a Black woman, I am curious if people like me are included in the white mainline Christian statistics.
Is the survey large enough to break it down by age groupings? I suspect that the trend is greater among those under 40 or 50(?).
For this retired UCC pastor your closing line "we need a new story" absolutely sums up where we are in the mainline church. More than worship styles, or where we are on social justice issues, or how we run our stewardship campaigns, we need a narrative, a story that taps into the deep spiritual hunger in our land. I am even wondering if the Biblical story is still the old wine skin that can hold the new wine--of whatever that new narrative might be. Metaphysics is not irrelevant at all. We need a vision, a narrative that is both irresistible AND is true: it adequately encompasses all of reality, including science, our humanity, and all of creation. By irresistible and compelling I mean the narrative is strong enough to rally the folks, to build the beloved community.
I am definitely sharing this with colleagues. Thank you for the analysis and for the inspirational quotes. I especially like the quote you picked by the theologian Diana Butler Bass. Seriously.
This a great piece of information. I should like to comment on percentage changes in White Christianity. A fairer comparison (based on the above chart) would be 6% decline in the White total pop; 29% decline in White evangelicalism; 12% in White mainline; 25% in White catholic between 2009 and 2019.
My own personal journey is a reflection of the overall trend of religious disaffiliation. For many years I was indoctrinated in a conservative fundamental Christian environment. As I grew spiritually, the discrepancies between what I was discovering and the message being presented became more and more obvious. My heart was expanding and wanted to breathe, increasingly uncomfortable with being forced into a narrow view. Sometimes the only way out is out. My personal leap of faith now includes all wisdom traditions in a vast rich tapestry that more accurately represents the diversity of perspectives in the great cosmic blend of oneness. The consequence is that although I am no longer a part of any individual church, the bonds of connection have now been established In a far reaching inclusive manner of acceptance, not limited by differences. This dwelling feels like the true Body of Christ.