On my way into the Catholic Church, I stopped by the Episcopal church. That lasted about a day. It didn’t take me long to see that, despite Bishop Robinson’s lofty prediction, the Episcopals were on a downward spiral.
Oddly enough, the priest at my wife’s Orthodox church was once Episcopalian. Which is why he’s now Orthodox. Fr. Longenecker mentions a story that helps explain. Reading the Koran in a Christian service, especially from texts that repudiate central Christian doctrine, makes Christian doctrines seem about as binding as the ingredients labels on processed food.
That ties into another story by the Washington Post. Once again, Ross Douthat’s observation, that whenever a Western religious tradition attempts to compromise with modern liberalism it ends up dying, continues to be demonstrated.
Why? Don’t know. If I did I’d do shaving cream commercials. It’s probably the result of several factors. One, at least to my way of thinking, is that if you water down the faith enough, who cares? If you make the faith accommodate all of the modern sensitivities, then why not add “and you get to sleep in late on Sundays, too”?
Plus, even as a non-believer, I had this notion that religion should be ‘other.’ That is, of course, the definition of Holy. Not super-swell, but other. Something set aside, put aside from the profane, If the religion tries to be the opposite, taking the ‘other’ and putting it back into the secular and profane, what of it?I used to work with ecumenical organizations in my ministry days. I got to know many liberal pastors. Some of them dear friends. But in all the years I listened to them; in all the times I visited their churches, heard their messages, listened to their lectures, I never heard them call out the modern liberal.
When I listened to services from decidedly progressive leaders, I never heard them call out the LGBT movement, or the pro-choice movement, or feminism, or socialism, or anything associated with modern, progressive ideals. I shouldn’t say never. A friend who pastored an American Baptist Church, one that was ‘welcoming and affirming’ to the LGBT community, called on his congregation to understand opponents of LGBT issues. He lost about a dozen members that day.
But on the whole, nope. And I wonder if, deep down, people assume that somehow, somewhere, religion and the latest shouldn’t walk in lockstep together. Somehow, things should be at least slightly different. Dunno. Just throwing that out there. There has to be some reason. Since, as the WP says, it isn’t as if all traditions are dying. Some decidedly conservative traditions are going strong. It’s always the ones that attempt to accommodate the modern, progressive mindset that add to the ‘dying’ numbers.