Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Evangelical Protestantism decling, liberal protestantism in "freefall"

Religion in US changing
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The Economist reports on the state of Christianity in the US. The old made new and thoughts about commitment:
Religion in [the U.S.] is clearly changing, but it can be difficult to fathom where it is going. While Evangelical Protestantism is declining and Liberal Protestantism is in freefall, some groups which demand a deep commitment—from the Mormons to the Pentecostalists—are still gaining members. Yet the fastest-growing category seems to be that of the "spiritual but not religious"–people who have a sense of connection with a higher power and want to share it with others, without signing up to formal rules or beliefs. Generally, religion seems to do best at the extremes: either rigorously conservative or free and easy.
In Seattle, one of America's least "churched" cities, academics are impressed by the success of a religious phenomenon that appeals to both extremes at once. Compline, as old-fashioned Christians know, is the last service in the daily cycle of monastic prayer. Every Sunday evening, an 18-strong male choir performs that service at Saint Mark's Episcopal Cathedral.... They attract an enormous crowd. Some 600 people, mostly young and bohemian, pack the building and thousands more listen on the radio or a podcast. The atmosphere is come-as-you-are. The pews and concrete floors are packed with worshippers who sit or lie down; some bring blankets and close their eyes, while others meditate or cuddle up with partners.
Last week the Daily Episcopalian essay was on the topic of commitment. Maybe Episcopalians can offer both - good ancient liturgy made new and a place for commitment?
Read the article: what are your thoughts?

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