Patheos response by Bruce Epperly
Huffpo Response by Dianne Butler Bass
John Suk: “Anything Goes but Nobody Shows”
William Briggs has some interesting graphs created by the data on church attenders, number of churches, number of ministers.
A voice inside the Episcopal Church which once again demonstrates that it doesn’t take a big name to be a terrific and insightful writer. This is a passionate statement of faith.
Yet having admitted this, I must also insist: the judgment is not new; and because long-standing, its force is now as much transformative as depleting. We have been living under its power for some time, swept along by its current in ways that have touched us all and rightly so. No Rubicon has been crossed at the General Convention of 2012. Rather, one awakes and discovers that time, God’s shaping hand of justice and mercy, has changed us all in ways we had not realized, and that this strange work of providence has been going on far longer than the sharp incision of our disappointments might suggest. What exactly has been happening? In short, another culture, alien and hostile, has now clearly overtaken the church, deep, sweeping, and overwhelming. We are not who we thought we were, Christians leading the way nor even a faithful remnant resisting from behind. The distinctions are no more.
A focus on membership statistics is not entirely out of order, of course, as a chronically empty building with stained-glass windows can hardly be said to be a church by anyone’s definition. Nevertheless, an ecclesiastical populism that simply panders to the crowd scarcely makes for satisfactory church life either. It seems to me that both conservative and liberal churches are caught up in similar games, even if their strategies are quite different.
and David Koyzis responding to RHE and a quote from his:
“However, something about the tone of Evans’ piece bothers me. If she were arguing that her own position were somehow more biblically faithful or more obedient to God’s expressed word than those of evangelicals and mainliners, then what she says might be worth hearing and weighing in the balance. But I don’t hear her making such a case. What I do hear is: “I enjoy. . .”, “I like. . .”, “I’m tired. . .”, “I want. . .” (this last one four times). I don’t quite understand “I’m totally down with. . .”, but I think it means she approves! In other words, Evans appears to be presenting a checklist of personal preferences which together make up something idiosyncratic at best. I could come up with a similar checklist, but all it would add up to is something that might as well be called “Koyzism,” a religious “tradition” with, to put it mildly, precious few adherents. It would be presumptuous of me to stand in judgement on various Christian communities for not conforming to my checklist.”