I’m always happy that someone puts together a retrospective at the end of the year so we can reflect on who we are and maybe even help guide us to who we’d like to be. The Barna Group has polled everyone it seems in their 30 years on spiritual beliefs for all the big boys.
Same sex marriageFirst up, they find that a reduced number of practicing Christians are not in favor of same sex marriage legalization showing to me that we are drifting away from the belief that we are or should be a Christian nation. You are less tolerant of things like that when you rule by religious beliefs.
Political issuesMoney is what people worry about the most being the top political issue people want a presidential candidate to take a stand on. Then after being poor we’re worried about being sick. The lesser but significant concerns are about security. How to protect ourselves from others we don’t like becoming our neighbors, how to protect ourselves from other nations as a world power and how to protect ourselves from ourselves through gun control are all up there.
DiscipleshipChurch members and pastors do not communicate well it looks like. Pastors mostly think they don’t disciple their members. Half the flock thinks that’s just a good thing. We are sheep, you know. If you don’t tell us, we won’t know. Maybe we equate an improvement on personal spiritual progress with Church attendance, hope in healing prayer, and church tithing. Those are the main messages I think I’ve heard. Wait a minute, our political issues were about money, health, and national identity. That could be relevant.
The church isn't relevantThe data from Scottish census data showing a major decline in Christian belief over the last few decades reflects America’s decline also. Here’s an excerpt about our beliefs.
While the United States remains shaped by Christianity, the faith’s influence—particularly as a force in American politics and culture—is waning. An increasing number of religiously unaffiliated people, a steady drop in church attendance and the growing tensions over religious liberty all point to a larger secularizing trend sweeping the nation.
But I was interested in the spike of one survey question about people disagreeing with the church’s assertion that they are relevant to a person’s life. What the heck are you going to church for if it isn’t relevant? Oh, right, you aren’t trending towards going to church. So the message of money, health, and identifying as a church member isn’t important to you? Is there a relevant message out there? I know I'm not interested in a "relevant" Christian magazine discussing new technology.
No supportAnd getting downright personal, it’s probably easier for women to find emotional support from any another group than at church. The survey result that found over half the women don’t feel supported at church or their synagogue. (I fudged a little here because I think the 17% of women saying “Not too” were just being polite). Only one out of eight could say their church made them feel very supported.
Thank you Barna Group for letting us know who we are. May you Lord, help us find someone out there who can help us become fulfilled in You so we are happy about it.