The Liberal Wing of Christianity is Winning the Long Race.

With so much being said about “nones”, the rapidly growing group who do not affiliate with any branch of the faith, there is not much information about them.  Attached is an informative article.

While numbers from large branches of the faith, Catholics, Southern Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians are declining in membership, those identified as “nones” continues to grow.  They are worshipping somewhere else or not at all.

Atheist and agnostic numbers have been growing, but not as much as the group called “spiritual but not religious”.  This latter group still ponders the mysteries, but they do not ponder them in church.

They read books, more religious books are sold each year.  They take classes, seminars, yoga classes and study on line.

As an example of what is going on, Barnes and Noble no longer separates the “Religous” shelf from the “Self Help” shelf.  They have become one and the same.

While liberal denominations are being hit hard by this exodus to “spirituality”, the “spirituality” is an extension of liberal religious ideas, not conservative ones.

We know the neighborhood church is being replaced by the mega church with its flashy presentations and gourmet coffee.  But, that sense of community is being replaced, in turn,  by the Internet where people discuss ideas and ideals.  It is still popular to regard one’s self as “Christian”.

There have always been many “truths” in Christianity.  Now, the liberal wing is expanding the number faster than ever.

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/politics/6547/a_history_of_the_unaffiliated%3A_how_the_%E2%80%9Cspiritual_not_religious%E2%80%9D_gospel_has_spread/

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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34 Responses to The Liberal Wing of Christianity is Winning the Long Race.

  1. Henry says:

    Jon:“The Liberal Wing of Christianity is Winning the Long Race.”

    I know a number of churches who are on the “liberal” side. Their numbers can barely keep the doors open after the liberal issues are embraced. Paralleling this problem is the two remaining multi-millionare 10,000 acre farmers who toss their $20 per sunday into the offering plate, precisely to a fault following in their father’s footsteps. What worked for their father’s church when they farmed only 400 acres when money was worth something isn’t working now for these particular institutions. Priorities…… Maybe Jon is right for the moment. This ebbs and flows throughout history.

    Then every once in a while one happens onto a small town or country church that is thriving. The congregants are being fed, disciplined, guided, and not wasting energy on the liberal issues. And harmony and unity are more or less happening.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Henry 1:56 Liberal denominations are falling. So are very conservative ones, Southren Baptists. Something has changed.

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “Something has changed.”

        Perhaps it has. Maybe you could help change things back to the way you were accustomed to if you are that concerned. You may even be welcomed back with celebration with a gold ring and a meal of prime rib upon your return.

    • Stan says:

      Like this too.

    • Avatar of Mac Mac says:

      October 30, 2012. The day I pretty much totally agree with Henry! What you described is an organization that is tuned into it’s member’s needs and meeting those needs.

      I saw EXACTLY what you described growing up in a small town where the farms got larger and the populations smaller, and often a thought process that “what had always been just fine, was still just fine.” Including the $20 in the collection plate, and the $10 in the free will plate for mom, dad and the kids at the Fall Turkey Dinner.

      • Henry says:

        I know of one particular small town church. They invested in their youth program 30 years ago with some amount of expense and time commitment (weekly meetings+). They are a “mainline” denomination. They are a thriving church body today. The “seeds” planted in the 80′s, when everyone was concerned about keeping every dime in their pocket, paid dividends. Other adjacent communities reduced their pastor’s salaries during this time period and pushed their pastors far past retirement. These particular churches closed their doors in about 10-20 years when the pastor couldn’t physically conduct the service any longer due to health reasons. Now these communities have youth that are being raised without a church. Priorities…..

  2. Wanna B Sure says:

    Jon; Your; “There have always been many “truths” in Christianity. Now , the liberal wing is expanding the number faster than ever”. This is a fair assessment. Yet at the same time, in “the liberal wing”, these “truths” have become more irrelevant” faster than ever”. At the end of the “Long Race”, they, themselves , too will be irrelevant, even to the point of regarding one’s self as “Christian”.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Wanna 2:24 “they themselves too will be irrelevant, even to the point of regarding one’s self as ‘Christian.’”

      Here, we’re back to the problem in Christianity. What is it? I know those who post here, like youself, are very confident you know what it is, and know what it is not.

      I suppose the person who bought a self help book on “Get Promoted in You Job with Positive Christian Thinking” feels the same.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Jon; looks like you have somethings to ponder, unless you too think” you know what is is, and know what it is not.” If that’s the case, it’s a wash.

        Your last paragraph; “I suppose the person who bought a self help book on “”Get Promoted in Your Job with Positive Christian Thinking” feels the same”; Has nothing to do with “what is it”, (Christianity),- – - only the result of one approach to living the faith. (works).

  3. Stan says:

    Jon, the only thing we can depend on is death, taxes and change. But not all change and the roots will always be there. I recently read a book on the ancient mass of the Christian Church. Except for not understanding Greek, Latin, or Aramaic it looked like I would feel at home there. Nice to have a place to come home to.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Stan “ancient mass of the Christian Church.”

      Isn’t that the Orthodox Church which says its current mass was celebrated in the time of Jesus? Our friend, Father Herbel, who comments here occasionally pastors one here in Fargo.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Definitions

      • Stan says:

        I haven’t been to an orthodox mass so I really can’t say. I do recognize the framework of the Catholic Mass and even in the writings of Paul he describes well the format.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        The “ancient Mass of the Christian Church” was centuries before the East/West Schism, (1054). What was to become the division between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox had not yet happened.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        Virtually all Liturgical Churches have the same form and order of worship, which also includes the Lectionary, (the readings). Pretty much all of which was contained in Temple Worship in Judaism. Only in recent history have non-liturgical, non-Creedal Churches departed from the tradition.

  4. Michael Ross says:

    Jon says: “The Liberal Wing of Christianity is Winning the Long Race.”

    God says the biblical wing of Christianity will win the long race:
    “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the Word of our God stands forever”(Isaiah 40:8)

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 4:37 “the word of our God stands forever.”

      I agree it will be around for a long time. What it means will change.

      • Wanna B Sure says:

        “What it means will change”. Back to Bill Clinton? “What is- is?”

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Wanna 12:10 “Back to Bill Clinton? What is-is?”

          Exactly. Bill Clinton’s first version of the Monica story is like interpretations of what the Bible means. And, like Clinton, the Bible remains popular.

        • Wanna B Sure says:

          So you changed is to it. Changes much. Very subtle. Eliminate the evidence, and move on. Was it a typo, or intentional?
          Back to your revised 11:52; “What (it) means will change.” Is not new news. What “it” is has been in dispute within various circles since the very start. Most of WHAT “it” is , however is largly about “how”, NOT WHAT. Those who wish to change the “WHAT it is” have and are free to do that, as they are also free to change the HOW. One must distinguish the WHAT

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Oops, pushed wrong key. To continue—One must distinguish the WHAT from the HOW. Most of the emphasis of the debate is on the HOW, not the WHAT, and is rather unimportant. The WHAT is another matter, and that is what escapes you, and will continue to do so. Yet you champion change in something you yet don’t understand.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 1:42 I’m afraid you will have to explain the “whats” and “hows” to us–like give an example.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            No !! I won’t help you. You are left to your own devices.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Wanna 5:01 Ah yes. A pattern repeated often here. Write something obtuse, then make light of my attempts to understand it. And, that’s OK. I’m here for the entertainment of readers.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Obtuse? Not hardly. Your feigned attempts at “understanding” are familiar. You are just looking for an opportunity for deception. That is obtuse. You have consistantly shown a resistance to “understanding”. It is of your own making, and device.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            Jon; Other terms that fit your methodology are; Shrewd / crafty / subtle / clever / deceptive.

          • Henry says:

            Wanna: “Other terms….”

            Jon should consider going back to his old congregation. Not only does he have the ability to effect change back to the way things were (he is concerned with how the church membership is in decline), but he can also brush up on his honesty in his methodology a little. It is a win-win.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            All these words have a certain familiar context, and connection. Hmmmm. Thinking. Trying to recall. Mmmmmm.

          • Henry says:

            Makes me think of the early chapters in Genesis. Maybe some of the chapters in Revelation.

            I think Jon needs to get himself back to his church, pronto.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            He can’t. It is impossible. I’m afraid it’s too late.

          • Henry says:

            I think you are right. Anything initiated now would be on only his efforts. These would likely be inadequate.

          • Henry says:

            I never realized prior to reading this blog how serious and real the “unpardonable sin” is.

          • Wanna B Sure says:

            He is incapable of even the effort. It is beyond him.

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