It’s titled “Mary Listens”
It’s titled “Mary Listens”
More than half (57 percent) of Protestant churchgoers under 50 say they prefer to go to church with people who share their political views. And few adult Protestant churchgoers say they attend services with people of a different political persuasion
Via LifeWay Research
The reason why we experience reality as a movie when it’s only a collection of pictures can be at least partially explained by our rhythms of attention. About four times every second, the brain stops taking snapshots of individual points of focus — like your friend on the corner in Times Square — and collects background information about the environment. Without you knowing it, the brain absorbs the sound of the crowd, the feeling of the freezing December air — which it later uses to stitch together a narrative of the complete Times Square Experience.
In the story, Catwoman leaves Batman, whose secret identity is billionaire Bruce Wayne, at the altar. This leaves Wayne in a questioning state, where he explores his life and reflects on his theological background — he had been raised as a Christian by his father, Thomas.In one exchange with another character, Wayne is asked, “Do you believe in God?” to which he replies, “I used to.”
I always identified more with Batman than Superman as a kid and a teen exploring my own faith and thoughts because of the ongoing tensions between his faith and practicality, his morality and his violence, his sense of duty and his wanting to retreat to a cave full of computers…
Hyperbole aside, this is ridiculous. It’s called the gospel. Marketing is not a negative phrase or concept that churches or religious orgs should shy away from. “Navel-gazing” and “not spreading the word,” however, are according to the Gospels.
The marketing of the church is an invention of the Antichrist. If you have to ‘sell’ your Church, it isn’t a Church that you’re selling and you are a pagan pretending to be a Christian.
Maybe it’s the values of hierarchy, authority, and tradition that churches instill. Maybe religion builds habits and networks that help people better weather national traumas, and thus retain their faith that the system works. For whatever reason, secularization isn’t easing political conflict. It’s making American politics even more convulsive and zero-sum.
This piece does a good job in summarizing the overall tilt towards secularism in America and its effects across the political spectrum. I agree with the above sentiment that the decline in church membership is helping to steer our country towards an atmosphere of conflict and zero-sum games.
However, there’s a good deal to unpack here. For one, there are all sorts of overlooked privileges incorporated with projecting that “things were better when we all went to church.” Second, conflating complicated movements like Trumpism, Bernieism, and Black Lives Matter into causations based on church attendance is problematic at best. Third, we can’t overlook the very real damage that many churches and associated hierarchies have done to children and adults over the last century, from misogyny to blatant racism and sexism to sexual abuse of children and young people.
My main pushback, however, would be the first sentence in the snippet above. Hierarchy, authority, and tradition are certainly values that some churches instill in their congregants. But, as someone from the Baptist tradition, I bristle at such overarching statements about what values churches instill. Our tradition emphasizes religious freedom over hierarchy, soul competency of each believer over authority, and congregational determinism over tradition. Of course, that has led to a whole host of problems for us in Baptist life, but it’s a reality that doesn’t get expressed when all of American Christendom is pitched into one descriptive bucket.
I would have ended this piece in a way that framed church as an opportunity to experience a different reality (I’m coming at this from someone who is ordained in a faith tradition, of course) and how it’s good for each of us to hear that we aren’t the center of the universe, we should be kind to each other no matter what, we should consider the lilies more often, and the ability to love others as themselves is the ultimate measure of a person. Those are things we Americans need to hear more often.
Oh, and wear a good suit at least once a week.