An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
One thing that struck me was the number of Roman Catholics who left their church because of "dissatisfaction with Catholic teachings on abortion and homosexuality." The report says 60% of those who left Catholicism cited this as the reason. That pretty astonishing to me.
In general though I find the whole survey to be revealing of numerous things.
First I note a complete and easy disconnect from the faith into which we were born. We rather take this for granted don't we? That children will at least go through a period of rebellion against the "faith of their fathers" as it were? But why must this be so? I at least have some vague notion that other cultures do not necessarily suffer this, do they? Maybe?
Multiple changes in religious affiliation reminds me of the fast food and one trillion channel satellite TV generation that we live amidst today. Truly the "me" generation which has to no small degree given birth to much of the po-mo church movement. "What works for me" is the mantra of popular religious belief today. There's precious little sense of commitment, perseverance, endurance, permanence, or tradition in people today.
"it's an indictment of organized Christianity."
I don't think so at all. Have you seen DIS-organized Christianity? Yep...that's what you see in the midst of people wandering about to and fro looking for the right sized shoe. For you see, the American religious "marketplace" looks like the shoe isle at Walmart after the employees have been on strike for a few months. The floor is littered and people are meandering about like zombies (hmmm) trying to find the other matching half of a cheap pair of bitchin' looking leather sandles. This is far more an indictment of our culture than anything else and the fact that the article is written in such a way as if to give advice to religious institutions is extremely telling.
You see for many, a study such as this is a useful tool. It's as if the Pew Research group just did a free "focus group" for churches. NOW....AT LAST...WE have a better idea of how to market and package our salvific product! Have you veer been to a product focus group? I've done them for Microsoft many times and they are great fun. You get to blab and blab your incredibly important opinion about video games and the people there diligently take notes. And then you get a nice little prize...because, after all, your opinion is SO important.
But here's a newsflash: You opinions about religion aren't important. Religion isn't the newest XBOX game for you to "consume." We are warned in our pre-communion prayers to be extremely careful because that which you are about to consume is FIRE!
No, the indictment here is that we think religion is a product. Churches are businesses. And they are largely interchangeable - whatever fits *MY* needs.
How we managed this attitude is the bigger question. I've not the time to ponder this at the moment...but will. For now I just wanted to get this little incoherent rant out the proverbial door.
As a side...even MY religious opinions don't matter! Shocking, but true.
Yeah, interesting article as well as the original Pew survey. The internet and explosion of 'net devices and various media channels are allowing advertisers to slice and dice consumers into ever smaller segments. It seems to me that a byproduct of this will be pressure for more segmentation amongst various religious factions and traditions. Orthodoxy in this country isn't immune from this. It would be interesting to see some data on how much flitting around occurs between Russian, OCA, Greek, and so on church goers, particularly amongst those not born and indoctrinated into a particular religious expression.