The Decade of Christian Decline

2000-2010 can best be labeled as a decade of decline for American Christianity.  David Roozen's recent piece in the Christian Century provides an important look at just how rapid the decline was for conservative/evangelical Protestants, mainline/oldline Protestants, and Roman Catholics.  As a percentage, the declines were oldline/mainline: 13% Catholic: 5% conservative/evangelical: 1% So What? After decades of progressive Christianity, it should not be surprising to see the Read More …

North American Christianity is Broken

New York Times best selling author Frank Schaeffer, recently wrote a strong critique of both the evangelical and progressive forms of Protestant Christianity in North America in which he claims that "The problem with North American Christianity is not the window-dressing– it’s the whole package." So What? Like Schaeffer, I believe the current trend of decline among Protestants in North America signals that Protestant Christianity as we have known it for the last hundred years has major Read More …

Christian Mega-University

Liberty University was founded in 1971 by Jerry Falwell.  While the school was well known and grew considerably under his direction, significant growth has occurred in the nearly six years since his death.  Over that period of time, the school has doubled its enrollment not once but twice.  Nick Anderson's recent Washington Post article explores this reality in-depth while also placing the school's current size in context.    Notably: Current enrollment of 74,000 (including 62,000 online Read More …

Church Renewal – Join the Conversation

A week ago today Chaplain Mike, one of the principal bloggers on the popular Evangelical/post-Evangelical Internet Monk site, shared his summary of my thoughts on the future of the church as expressed in a series of blog posts written last year.  In addition to framing my series as a "perspective on the future of the American church from a younger leader in the mainline Protestant world," Chaplain Mike shared his take on how my thoughts relate to what others are saying now and having been saying Read More …

Shifts in Young Adult Protestantism

The graph at right illustrates the shifts in young adult (ages 23-35) Protestant affiliation between 1972 and 2010 as compiled by Lifeway Research using data from the General Social Survey.  Overall, during the "last 30 years, mainline protestantism is dying, black protestantism is steady, and evangelicalism is growing."  More specifically, among young adults: Mainline Protestantism declined dramatically: identification dropped from 24% to 6% while worship attendance was cut in half moving Read More …

Review of Red Letter Revolution

Meet the Authors Shane Claiborne is a founder of The Simple Way, a New Monastic community in inner city Philadelphia that has helped to birth and connect radical faith communities around the world.  He "writes and travels extensively speaking about peacemaking, social justice, and Jesus."  Claiborne is the co-author of several previous books, including The Irresistible Revolution (2006 with Jim Wallis), Jesus for President (2008 with Chris Haw) and Common Prayer (2010 with Jonathan Read More …

Review of When God Talks Back

Meet the Author T. M. Luhrmann is a psychological anthropologist and the Watkins University Professor in the Stanford Anthropology Department.  Her books include Persuasions of the Witch’s Craft (1989), The Good Parsi (1996), Of Two Minds (2000), and When God Talks Back (2012). Luhrmann was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2003) and awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship (2007). Book Basics T. M. Luhrmann grew up in an environment that birthed religious Read More …

Review of Adventures in Churchland

Meet the Author Dan Kimball is a pastor who oversees "Sunday gatherings and teaching as well as the missional aspects of the church" at Vintage Faith Church in Santa Cruz, CA.  He is an adjunct professor at George Fox University.  Kimball is the author or co-author of multiple books on church leadership and culture, including They Like Jesus but Not the Church: Insights from Emerging Generations (2007). Book Basics Adventures in Churchland is the story of the American evangelical Read More …

Religion in Your County

I was pleasantly surprised to learn the Association of Religion Data Archives offers free and easily searchable county-level information on religion (a big thanks to Jerry Park for mentioning it a few days ago).  A few seconds after clicking through to the site I was viewing data on my current county of residence.  The bar graph appears below, but the actual data produced by the county search includes the 2010 report broken down by religious bodies and the ability to see previous reports (2000, Read More …

Are You An In Between Christian?

In a recent blog post, Rachel Held Evans included a bit of self-disclosure that warrants consideration by all who seek to lead the church into the future.  After mentioning the recent article by Ross Douthat and response by Diana Butler Bass (something I have written about recently as well), she shares the disheartening reality that many with differing theological perspectives choose to attack the other's position rather than collaborate to craft a brighter future for the church. Notably, she Read More …