We covered two chapters in Future Faith is this Session 5. The first was called "Belonging vs. Believing". As you may ascertain, although it is a complex argument - it refers to the lens through most of us interpret things, and that varies across the global religious front.
An interpretation of these two lenses might be that for some of believing is our preferred way of living and discerning our faith, and at another extreme belonging is much more important to others.
And as you may also ascertain from what we have learned so far, Western Christianity has for the last few centuries leaned toward believing, but as we have heard in the previous sessions in Non-Western Christianity the leaning is decidedly toward community, or belonging.
But if you have been paying attention as the world keeps getting smaller and more culturally mixed, this perspective has been changing, particularly in American Christianity.
The author of this book describes what he has learned as he has studied the precipitous decline of participation American churches by millennials (and those even younger) in the church today, the word he hears most often is “indifference.” Surveys show that it’s not a case of these people becoming atheists, rejecting any notion of God or spiritual reality. Rather, they have become callously indifferent to the presence of the church.
What this younger generation that is disregarding Americas's 350,000 congregations seems to be saying is that they reject churches who reject others.
They are turned off by self-righteous judgment. They don’t see deeds that match words. They smell marketing strategies rather than authentic relationships. The don’t find loving communities among those who preach about loving their neighbors. And they fail to see a spiritually rooted vision of personal and social transformation.
Heavy stuff. Al and Stacy led us through a very interesting discussion on all of this. You can follow what they presented in the Zoom Recording below!