Tag Archive | Sunday

Is liberal theology really killing the church?

First Church of OtagoThis is an old favourite. It’s a regular occurrence that some survey or other, possibly carefully designed to produce this result, appears to show that conservative churches are doing better in numerical terms than liberal ones. It may be that they’re growing while liberal churches are shrinking, or more likely that liberal churches tend to be losing members while conservatives are holding steady or shrinking at a slower rate, but this is used as clear evidence that liberals are killing the church. So are they?

Any survey of this type faces huge methodological challenges in getting a meaningful picture at all, given the proliferation of different churches, different ways of counting membership and attendance, and particularly the question of how a church is identified as liberal or conservative, in the absence of an objective scale. And then there’s a good chance that a narrow survey for one purpose will be picked up and abused as evidence for something entirely different. Read More…

How I found myself enforcing church attendance

Uh-oh, this looks like trouble!

I suppose it had to happen eventually. I thought I would have a bit longer to prepare for it, but it’s rolled around pretty quickly – last Sunday, elder son decided that he wanted to stay at home with Daddy.

This is where everything goes Bizarro World, through the looking glass and into the Twilight Zone, to mix a few metaphors. My wife doesn’t want to end up dragging him off to church when he doesn’t want to go, and she was prepared to let him stay with me. One week off, if he was feeling like it, wouldn’t be the end of the world, and was less of a risk than turning Sunday mornings into a battleground. Read More…

Do Christians actually want people to celebrate Christmas?

The Church of England is making a special effort to promote the Christian message of Christmas this year, with a bizarre campaign to live-tweet their Christmas sermons. It’s not clear what this is meant to achieve, although it appears that evangelism is a part of it.

The significance of the occasion is being asserted (or possibly assumed) with the cumbersome hashtag #ChristmasStartsWithChrist. Whether or not this is the intention, it’s reminiscent of claims that “Jesus is the reason for the season” or some such, looking like the latest salvo in the ongoing battle to plant a cross in the middle of a significant date and claim it for the church. Apparently, the day gets its name from Jesus, so it’s a solely Christian occasion.

This is a dangerous line of argument for the church to adopt, as Sunday starts with Sun, from which the day gets its name. So by the same reasoning, the church should recognise that Sundays are pagan occasions and stop imposing their own weekly celebrations on someone else’s day. Read More…

Daddy, why aren’t you coming?

It’s a few months now since I walked away from the church, and it’s generally been quite an easy time. I’ve found that I’m more relaxed at weekends, because I’m not dreading Sunday mornings, and we’ve settled into a routine that works pretty well. But my boys aren’t prepared to make it all that easy.

Initially, they didn’t seem to be bothered that I was staying at home when they went to church, and for quite a while, they were surprisingly unquestioning of it. That suited me, as I wasn’t really sure how I wanted to explain it to them. That changed recently. First it was “Daddy, are you coming to church this week?” Then it was “You never come with us any more!” Finally, it was “Please come with us, please!” I couldn’t put it off any longer. Read More…

Diary of an Exile

Thanks to various events, today was the first time that my self-imposed exile from church required me to stay at home while my family went off without me. It’s a very strange feeling.

The first (and hardest) question was what to tell the boys about why Daddy isn’t coming with them. I wanted to say that I wasn’t enjoying church at the moment (which is simple and accurate), but that would invite the response that they don’t enjoy it, so they don’t want to go either. I’m not sure how I feel about them going to church to be taught things I don’t believe, but nor do I want to be responsible for them not going. At least, not like that. So we just told them I was busy doing things at home. We’ll need to come up with something better soon. Read More…

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