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22 Responses

  1. JoelG says:

    The “Unchurching” article is interesting. I’m still a “homeless” Christian wandering the wilderness looking for a place to settle. I like the idea of small or house churches. Frederick Buechner once compared the ideal church to an AA meeting where everyone was open and vulnerable with each other. But would such a thing work without a Pastor? Who would administer the Sacraments and give absolution in such a small setting? Who would “shepherd” the flock?

    Thank you for the links and good discussions to fill the extra time these days. 🙂

  2. Michael says:


    I’ve pastored a home church for over 25 years…it can work, but it’s a different format.

  3. JoelG says:

    They are blessed to have you as their Pastor, Michael. It sounds ideal.

    The closest thing I have to church is helping at a bible study in downtown Portland run by a local Evangelical Pastor. To the residents who come it is as much “church” as they will every know. Perhaps it should be for me, as well.

  4. Em says:

    A church is a non essential business… A business? 😳
    That should be a wake up call to every Christian… Pastor, is your church model a business? If so, who is doing the defining? The IRS? Your unbelieving comminity?
    Had to wonder a bit about pastors who declared that they would hold services, no matter what. That is not standing, IMV.
    What constitutes compromise? Seems to me it should be doctrines, not public health issues…. dunno, though, do i….. 🙆

  5. Michael says:

    That sounds like church to me!

  6. JoelG says:

    “Had to wonder a bit about pastors who declared that they would hold services, no matter what.”

    It’s crazy and irresponsible of these “Shepherds”, Em. Good grief.

  7. pstrmike says:

    From the Barna report:

    “The largest drop was among those attending Pentecostal or charismatic Protestant churches (down 27 points).”

    Perhaps Pentecostalism has oversold the charisma? Too many of its leaders are not faithful to the faith? Or their spouse? All this at time when Bethel is still going great guns? Much to consider here.

  8. ex-Pentecostal that I am there can be a number of variables at work in the measured decline
    1) Pentecostalism in the U.S. has historically embraced or endorsed some form of premillenial futurist eschatology and after forty years of Rapture Ready with no observable Rapture the panic button approach to Christian formation has failed
    2) as Pentecostalism grew globally it also veered into varieties of prosperity teachings with teachers whose lives were significantly below basic standards of common decency, whether a Swaggart in the US or a Bentley in Canada
    3) Pentecostalism, as some writers have been noting, has become closer to the beltways of power. At the risk of being pedantic, a few too many journalists collapse what have really been pentecostal and charismatic groups into the generic term “evangelical” which doesn’t necessarily always overlap. Thirty years ago it would have been hard to find anyone who would say that, say, Paula White, qualified as evangelical.

    I’m not the kind of ex-Pentecostal or anti-Pentecostal who says none of them are Christians at all (there are still Baptists and Reformed out there who insist on that point). In more old school Pentecostal practice the holiness part was important and as more leaders with interests in public power turn out to have little success in the holiness part the double standards can seem more egregious in any variant of a neo-Keswick approach to sanctification, maybe?

  9. pstrmike says:


    Those are some great observations. As with every camp within the church, there is wheat and chaff mixed together. Pentecostals are a courageous bunch, willing to go out on the limb, even if some have been red-faced by past false predictions and assertions of a theology that is tenuous.

    It seems that Pentecostalism has enough in common with non-pentecostal evangelical theology that categorizing them as Evangelicals make sense. The double standards that you mentioned always provides the critics an easy target. Adding to that, is, at least from a mainline evangelical view, the extremism that seems to be the norm.

  10. EricL says:

    Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians? Oh my, Mr. Barna is creating whole new categories of believers. Of course, he must have that wonderful acronym of SAGE. I never realized that “Governance Engaged” was one of the fundamental traits of the faithful. Does that mean you have to be a politician to be saved? The fiance of a governor? What does this gobbledygook even mean?

  11. Theocratic minded?

    The Barna survey is sobering. It looks like we’re not far behind Europe in being post-Christian.

  12. Michael says:


    I was shocked that the Barna link didn’t get any traction.
    I think it points out that people are thinking politically rather than theologically these days…

  13. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Lately I wonder if what often passes for thinking “theologically” is really thinking politically in U.S. contexts.

  14. Babylon's Dread says:

    I had a lot to say but got tired saying it.

    The bogeyman of culture is the church. “Now the serpent was more subtle…”

  15. Michael says:


    I don’t think so…but I also think that all the churches wounds are self inflicted while the devil relaxes…

  16. Duane Arnold says:

    I think the Barna survey needs to be read alongside the most recent PEW Religious Landscape Survey. Oddly, I think we are going the way of France in the 19th and 20th centuries. The RC Church continually aligned itself with the most conservative political movements (monarchists, Petainists, Gaullists, etc.) to the point that they were inseparable in popular thinking. As the population moved toward more centrist and leftist parties, the church was largely left behind. Additionally, the church implicitly backed conspiracy theories, many anti-Semitic such as the Dreyfus Affair, and as a result simply lost credibility. There are real parallels…

  17. bob1 says:

    Spiritually Active Governance Engaged Conservative Christians

    Isn’t thjs code for the New Apostolic types? That’s what it looks like to me.

    Also, I don’t believe Barna is to be trusted. They have an agenda.

    They speak with forked tongue.

  18. bob1 says:

    Here’s a better alternative (along with Pew and perhaps some others)

  19. bob1 says:


    I had a similar reflection. There’s a piece in the National Catholic Reporter about the Church hierarchy basically already completely
    capitulating to Trump.

    What’s interesting, IMHO, is that historically, the laity in churches tend to be more conservative in their outlook than church leaders. But in this case, it looks the opposite is true. I’ll bet the ‘average’ RC layperson (if there is such a thing!) is more liberal than the hierarchy, or at least than Cardinal Dolan. the 2020 election.

  20. Heather Rotondi says:

    The article about single women leaving the church really resonated with me. I have been subjected to all kinds of discrimination in the church as someone who chooses to be single and focused on my career. Thanks for sharing – it’s nice to know there are some people actually paying attention to this.

  21. Em says:

    Single women also leave the church because insecure women believing their hubbys are at risk can be witches

  22. Em says:

    I think Complex Me hits the mail on the head… Nothing is recorded in the four gospel records of Our Lords dealing with humanity that even hints that He didn’t respect their unique personalities, nothing says He was shaping robots…..

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