Thursday, March 12, 2009

Americans becoming less religious, study shows


what we know intuitively, and what the pew study opened to us, has now been confirmed and creased more deeply in a rather quiet and unobtrusive way. according to a major national survey released monday, americans are becoming less religious.

go here to download & go here for summary. I share a few of the highlights:
  • # of people claiming no religious identity has risen 15% since 1990...
  • while a few groups have grown the overall drop is significant...
  • mainline denominations have been hardest hit...
  • some groups have grown by offering emotional and personalized experiences...
  • there is growing a greater tolerance for diversity while eschewing respect for authority...
  • 27% of Americans do not expect to have a religious funeral...
this is just more evidence of what i call the great christendom crack-up (go here and here and here)there are serious questions facing the western church, questions we must ask ourselves -- and answer -- if we are are to come out of the great crack-up alive.  here are a few that i am currently asking myself and our church:
  • Does the church have an identity or value apart from the kingdom?
  • Is God concerned about the world or just my personal soul and the souls of my family?
  • How do we connect with our City?
  • What is God up to in our City, and what does God want to do here?
  • Is being a good Christian measured by how many times we walk into a building?
  • Are we just as much church when we are sent into the world as when we gather?
  • If we really are the body of Christ, then how can we live in that reality? How can we live out that truth in our city, so that the city sees this truth?