I’ve chronicled the drop in church membership and how it is greatest among lower income Americans. Related to this must surely be income and housing patterns. As with all social change, one change feeds another.
A while back, I asked in a blog if it was possible to be middle class and live in a car. I wrote about people who do just that. Those middle class people in cars and vans call their experience a “movement.” In the April 24, 2017, The New Yorker is an article about them.
Those living permanently in cars and vans, “the movement”, like to refer to it in ideological terms. It is anti materialism and pro environmentalism. The real driving force, however, is economics. “We heard all these promises about what will happen after you go to college and get a degree…all that turned out to be … bullshit” said a young man who lives with his girlfriend in a van. Young people today have larger student loans and less home ownership than previous cohorts. Not paying rent is an attractive option.
The internet made it possible to advertise and sell things while living in a van. The couple in the link have a million subscribers to their network. They get paid to use and endorse products. There are hundreds of van dwelling posts of YouTube everyday.
Thomas Wolf’s 1940 novel, You Can’t Go Home Again, is a powerful title when your home is a van. Finding one’s way back to church appears to be just as difficult.