Decline of Church, Increase of Politics

On this Super Tuesday (did we even have such names when I was a boy?), this is a reminder to not let your civic duty eclipse your true allegiance. Go vote at the poll, but save your worship for the pew.

A Pew Research survey last fall again detailed the steady decline of Christianity and worship attendance. My professor Scot McKnight wants to know “why”? Here is his theory from his Jesus Creed blog. I tend to agree, which is why I have beat this drum steadily the past few years with my congregation. McKnight writes:

Humans are worshipers. Humans are designed (by God) to find meaning in something. They will, somehow. It’s as instinctive as ducks migrating from the north into the warmer climes. Humans will find something to give themselves to because we are born with the instinct to worship.

The de-centralization of churches in America, which can only mean the decline in worshiping God, correlates with American Christians – exvangelicals, ex-Christians, ex-church goers – giving themselves to politics, to belief in voting and agitation for policies and changes by trusting in government.

It is not unfair to say that this idolatry.

Social media seems to draw everyone into a comment about everything political, but overexposure to such discussions eventually turns us into politically-obsessed people. Which is another term for idolatry.

Long ago I read a study that documented the correlation of one’s more progressive political orientation to/with attendance in a more progressive denomination. The result of that study was that the closer one’s politics was to one’s church’s politics the less likely that person would go to church. The study was about the mainlines, with the stunning result that church attendance and participation declined as America became more and more like mainline social visions. Why go to church if it is no different than what one got daily in the NYTimes?

Why go to church if one’s FB friends and one’s church people are the same? or if one’s FB banter is the same as the preacher’s banter?

Indeed, Why?

This makes me wonder if the politicization of the church in America deconstructs the church of America. Maybe the decline of the church is correlated with increasing politicization. I think so.

What do you think?

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