I Have 120 Channels on my TV. In Church, There’s Only One.

I live near a large entertainment venue, the Fargodome.  Everytime there is a big star there, I count the vehicles in the entourage.  It’s usually about 14 semi trucks and 10 buses.

All this equipment and staff makes it possible for the star of do things like fly over the heads of the audience and other gimmicks.  Every show has to have something new and different.

All of us change TV channels a lot.  We want variety.  Church has little.

That’s why I think religious leaders who watch declines in church membership and attendance are doing wishful thinking when they say, “People are still spiritual.  They aren’t becoming atheists.  They will return.”

The problem with this thinking is spirituality allows the imagination to soar.  Since its source is the mind, religion can be choosen the way one chooses among 175 TV channels.

An then there is the ever present feed back where people have come to expect to participate. “Your view counts,” they are told constantly.  They can respond on their computers to every news story and everything they buy.

Church, on the other hand, is a venue where the preacher preaches and you listen.  Things are done differently everywhere else.

Here is a suggestion for churches.  Change the service format to include 30 minutes of open mike time called, “Here’s what I’m thinking today.”

Churches might turn this thing around.

http://www.abpnews.com/ministry/congregations/item/28326-ministers-weigh-options-amidst-major-religious-decline

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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12 Responses to I Have 120 Channels on my TV. In Church, There’s Only One.

  1. entech says:

    Reading the piece it appears that the greater the decline the greater the confidence the preachers have that it is temporary, that they are not losing believers, that they just need to attracted back. The way to attract them back is to NOT accommodate their ideas but tell them what is what, tell them what their spiritual needs are.

    Looks good from my point of view, keeping dishing out more of the same, drive more away. At least some of those that leave will not return, at least some will also lose any faith they may have had left. Keep up the good work.

    It is a bit like an inverse cosmology:
    as they find more about the expanding universe they find the rate of expansion is increasing.
    ss they finding out more about the shrinking religion they find the rate of shrinkage is increasing.

    Cosmology is related to astronomy.
    Religion to astrology :lol:

  2. Doubtful says:

    I don’t think I have ever seen such a clear demonstration of your ignorance of religion.

    • entech says:

      Instead of popping up now and then with a brief derogatory remark why not try and engage in a discussion we might all learn something.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Doubtful 9:35 “I don’t think I have ever seen such a clear demonstration of your ignoracne of religion.”

      What I have knowledge of is data that shows 1.) church membership and attendance is falling and 2.) the direction of American mores, values and interests. The latter is moving away from the former. Churches need to jump into the direction of Amerian culture.

      They have done this in the past, with Sunday openings of stores, alcohol consumption and a raft of other issues. The church can do it again. Following trends, like social media where people express to others what is on their mind, looks to be a place to start.

      I know my idea of an open mic at Sunday morning services is contrary to current practices. Your resistance reminds me of the very early Scandinavian residents of Greenland. Remaining artifacts reveal what happened. They set up shop there with the animals, farming practices and religion they had at home. Apparently, they looked down on the Inuit way of making a living and their diets, all centered around fihsing. Eventually, the Scandiavians disappeared, the Inuits who had been there before the Scandinavians remained and thrived.

      • StanB says:

        Greenland…Iceland is still inhabited and is the oldest democracy in the world. Latest archeological finds on Greenland shows that quite possibly a change in temperature at the end of the Midevil warm period caused crop failures and the loss of livestock.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Stan 9:40 You are correct, Greenland. The Inuits were living there before the Scandinavians arrived. Inuits were still there after the Scandinavians had disappeared. It’s the old story of “when in Rome….”

  3. Wanna B Sure says:

    “discipline” has been mentioned. This word is often misapplied and misused. Both written and read out of context. Quite often, a sentence or two of explanation at the time of application would prevent confusion. Interesting to note that “disciple” is a related word.

  4. Simple says:

    I come across these types of articles once in a while on why people (particularly young ones) are leaving the church. The answer is always the same, particularly in the comments – we need to be more hardcore. We need more church, more bible, more prayer, more political involvement, and more hatred of abortion, gays, liberals, and birth control.

    Kids growing up in the evangelical world have had church, bible study, more church, mission trips, more church, youth groups, pro-life rallies, and more church. Yet, somehow the church believes that more of the above will fix their problems.

    Their lack of critical thinking is showing.

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