|RE: Can Liberal Churches save Christianity? Diana Butler Bass responds to Ross Douthat|
|Written by P.W. Gregory|
|Monday, 23 July 2012 12:14|
The real question is not so much will "liberal, conservative or middle-way Christianity" survive, but 'should' it. The great, general receding of the American Protestant tide has exposed the institutional, structural and systemic rot of how religious denominations of all stripes and flavors continue to operate and choose to resource, fund themselves. Simply put ; love or hate the PCUSA, ELCA, ECUSA, SBC, AOG, COG, will not survive in their current form and structure going forward. Power-bases, influence, and effectiveness will change, and nothing will change that. There are many institutional behaviors, practices, ways of doing things, and assumptions that will not survive the "re-boot" of the church which is to come. Church "membership" concepts and assessments based upon will change. Clergy career patterns and expectations will change, the Board of Pension will hit a demographic wall and implode. No amount of money or happy-speak from Philadelphia will change that. Paid staff at national, regional, local denominational levels will decrease as will over-all head count. Mission, organization and identity will shift back from the old industrial, monolithic structure to smaller and more local based structures. Churches, denominations will merge, some go away, others collapse upon themselves. But out of the rubble a new and more vibrant, more relevant and more faithful communities will emerge. It has happened, is happening now, and will continue to do so, with or without the permission of the elites and denominational betters, of all stripes and ways, left, right, center.