It’s 1500 all over again, this time with ipods

I’m currently reading a book penned by Washington Times religion Julia Duin called Quitting Church: Why The Faithful Are Fleeing and What To Do About It. It’s a very well-written book with a surprisingly personal spin, given Duin’s journalist credentials. It doesn’t break any new ground, but pulls together stats, trends, and bits of her own story in a winsome, readable manner.

Though I haven’t finished it, here’s what I discovered in what I’ve perused so far: I’ve read almost every single book, study and article Duin references in this volume. I’ve got a kind of ongoing literary lament going on the subject of the church.

And I always circle back to the same sad reality. The church is alienating more people than she’s embracing. There are so many people who’ve exited the church, never to return. They love Jesus, and they are the “big C” Church/Bride of Christ…but are weary of what the institutional church offers and demands of them. I am, too.

There is a need for a new reformation, but it won’t be anything like the Big Reformations that rocked the church 1500-1000-500 years ago. I wonder what will come of this current tired and shallow unsettled practice in the western church, and what this new reformation will look like.

Any thoughts?
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About Michelle Van Loon
  • Michelle Gregory

    my 2 cents…
    God made us for relationship with him. I think the church has reduced the relationship to a set of rules and expectations. Plus, I think there’s very little grace and, as you said, more people are being alienated.

    Jesus ate at the home of sinners (which in his culture meant “I want to have a relationship with you.”) I wonder what “church” people would do with Jesus?

  • Michelle Van Loon

    I have wondered that myself. Frequently.

    Can you imagine what it would be like if Jesus visited some of the churches you or I have attended?

    And yet, the truth is…He has. He is. Even if we don’t always recognize or notice Him.

  • Pastor D

    A young boy insisted on wearing sandals to church to the protestations of his mother. After loosing every conceivable argument the boy declared “Jesus wore sandals” to which his mother replied, “well Jesus doesn’t attend our church!”

  • Mar

    Michelle–

    This question is very much what is on my mind, and I am not alone. I sense a movement of the Spirit in making us weary, even nauseated, with the American version of church and I wonder what Jesus’ Revelation 2-3 equivalent would be for us. I am looking forward to seeing what the Spirit shapes in our midst… and I am frequently discouraged in the waiting. I am tempted to run, but choose instead to plant more deeply and persevere for now …

  • Michelle Van Loon

    Pastor D’s tongue-in-cheek story, and Mar’s ponderings both ask if Jesus is in church.

    He is, of course. But He is most likely active not in the places we think of looking first.


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