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Posts Tagged ‘DisappearingChurch’

disappearing church

“The disappearance of a mode of church engagement characterized by commitment, resilience, and sacrifice among many Western believers. In its place a new mode of disengaged Christian faith and church interaction is emerging. This new mode is characterized by sporadic engagement, passivity, commitment phobia, and a consumerist framework.”

Mark Sayers, Disappearing Church: From Cultural Relevance to Gospel Resilience (Moody Publishers, 2016; Kindle Edition; p. 8).

Sayers astutely analyzes the subtle allure of the “beautiful culture” and “delicate beauty” that characterizes Western culture of the 21st century. Sadly, large segments of the Christian church have fallen captive to its appealing spell.

“Through the mythologies of advertising, media, the Internet, and the instructive example of celebrity, a vast mental world is daily constructed in our minds, painting the possibility of a godless utopia—a secular heaven on earth in which an individual life infused with pleasure, peace, and possibility is achievable this side of death.” (p. 11)

Such utopian fantasies are concomitant with “the enthroning of the self as the greatest authority” (p. 11), i.e., the same old gnostic illusions dressed up in modern garb. Having been infected by such a mindset, many Christians may pay lip service to the Bible, but “experience, desire, and preference” (p. 14) have become the hermeneutical lens through which they think and live.

In a world of instant messaging, emojis, and tweets, there is an aversion to think deeply and wrestle with ideas. In my two years since returning to church life, I have yet to find someone to engage with in serious theological conversation. Instead, at best, pious platitudes, cute cliches, superficial sentiments, and trite “truths” are the best that one can hope for.

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