We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
...let me post a provocative thesis on the wall: If virtually the entire regional and national staff of every mainline denomination were to be called home to heaven overnight in a mainline version of the Rapture, leaving only the equivalent of Bishop Baker and his secretary in their place, I am sure that someone somewhere would notice a difference, but the effect on either the spiritual state of American Christians or the health and well being of local congregations throughout the United States would be hard to detect with the naked eye.
There is truth in that some born, raised, taught, or otherwise indoctrinated as "insiders" will ever (never?) see. The rot from within is the hardest to discern.... and the hardest to cure. I have long given up trying to rationally discuss this with my wife, a "PK" (Preachers Kid for those not in the know), for even mentioning that there might be a problem with the direction, I am suddenly a heretic and attacked as undermining the church. Attack the messenger is now the norm, 180 away from Christ's teaching of attacking the message.
Good article. I go to a small Lutheran church, which is vibrant and healthy and spiritual and I love it.
We have a wonderful pastor who is far more liberal/PC than the congregation. Every so often he lets this come through in a sermon. I always go to him and tell him very politicely that he makes me feel as if I don't belong in the church when he goes political. He then preaches spiritual sermons, for about six months. Then the pc comes out again, and I tell him (not just me, I know some other members of the congregation do too), and he is good for six more months.
Bottom line: pastors need a lot of support, and deserve it from their congregations, but you can also tell them when you are made to feel excluded by their pc preaching. The average pastor is far to the left of the average congregation in the mainstream Protestant churches, but you can work this out if you are all people of good will.
And no, I have no interest whatsoever in the denominational structure. I like my church, my congregation and my pastor.
Amen. I have been a Lutheran and a Covenanter, happy with both at the congregational level but quite disappointed by the publications and programs that come from denominational headquarters. Amateur sociology, amateur psychology, spirit-of-the-age literature, 60's liberalism, all given a Jesus wash.
Before Obama ran, it was conventional wisdom that the Religious Left didn't exist and the Religious Right was all the problem. People who said that never spent much time with denominational leadership.
Assistant Village Idiot
Mead leans too hard, I think, on the irrelevance of the formal training that rectors receive. As the Chesterton quotation below says: "A Catholic Church is the only thing that saves a man from the degrading slavery of being a child of his age." There's value in a rector who's received training in the entire history of the Church. It keeps us all grounded and buffers the current PC storms a bit.