The faithful are not coming, at least not the way they once did. Churches and Synagogues are seeing declining weekly attendance as America becomes a devoted secular nation. The winds of change have not been kind to the spiritual even as the Christmas season is upon us once again.
Much of the diminishment of religion comes from the media which often marginalizes people of faith, portraying them as zealots who intrude on the “rights” of others. For example, while LGBT progress is met with parades, those who promote biblical beliefs are accused of bigotry and shunned by some.
And on the subject of abortion, if you stand to protect innocent life, then you are a hater of women, not worthy of being taken seriously.
Tough to fight that so millions of folks don’t even try. And some of them are supposed to be religious leaders.
Centuries of Irish-Catholic tradition compel me to attend weekly mass even though it is not always a rewarding experience. Yes, the hour honors the creator and that is always a positive, but the application of Christian theology to a complicated world is almost non-existent in many churches. Simply put, 90 percent of the Catholic sermons I hear are boring. And I have heard them all over the world.
Having researched a bestselling book called “Killing Jesus,” I know the Nazarene was anything but dull. In fact, his sermons were so provocative and meaningful that they frightened the Roman Governor Pilate who ordered Jesus executed on grounds of alleged sedition about which no evidence was produced.
It was the words of the Nazarene that got him executed.
But today, the men in charge of channeling the words of Jesus to believers are largely timid and detached from the every day struggles that people of faith face. I suspect it is similar in Jewish houses of worship.
Instead of hearing for the six thousandth time about how the mustard seed fell on fallow ground, I’d like to hear something about confronting hatred. What should a Christian actually do when malice appears – as it so often does in our lives.
I’d like a sermon on how to cope with hand-held devices that can instantly access evil.
How about bearing false witness against your neighbor which is epidemic in America. How should we deal with people who do that? Turn the other cheek? Or slap them down?
I have thousands of sermon suggestions that I know I will never hear because of clergy apathy.
Organized religion is dying in America. Not because of scandal, although that has hurt. No, the churches have immediate seating because the environment they foster is often irrelevant to our lives.
His stand-ins are tired.