Liberal protestant churches continue to decline

Clergy puzzled

Here are two fictional dialogues that might clear things up. In the first, a woman goes to her preacher for guidance.

Christian: “Pastor Rachel, is it a sin to cheat on my husband?”

Preacher: “Does it feel like a sin to you?”

C: “That’s what I’m trying to understand.”

P: “How does it make you feel?”

“Confused; that’s why I’ve come to you, to find out if my affair is sinful; if I should break it off. Isn’t it adultery or something?”

“What is adultery?”

“That’s what I’m asking you.”

“What I’m hearing you say is you’re confused.”

“I’m asking if it’s a sin to have sex with another man; not my husband.”

“What do you think?”

“Well, there are the children…”

“My own divorce was difficult, but I got through it with the help of my life partner.”

“Divorce? But isn’t there some hope of reconciling?”

“We can arrange some counseling first. What do you think?”

“I think I’m going down the road to the Evangelical Mega-church.”

In this one, a man approaches his pastor:

Christian: “Preacher, I wanted to ask…”

Preacher: “Is that a Bush bumper sticker on your car?”

“Um, yes.”

“You’ll go to Hell for that.”


“That’s was the sin of Sodom. They were voting Republican, and God destroyed them.”

“Really? Are you sure?”

“The widows, the orphans, the undocumented workers; they all cry out against their oppressor. Many scholars today translate the Hebrew word for ‘Oppressor’ as ‘Republican.'”

“Huh. So, I wanted to ask…”

“By displaying that sticker you’re living in sin, and leading others astray.”

“Well, I guess I could scrape it off. Do you have a razor blade scraper?”

“What’s that, some kind of tool?”

“Yes, a retractable blade in a metal housing.”

“Um, maybe over at the Baptist church.”

“Good idea, I’ll head right over there.”

He had only wanted to ask if anyone was running a Bible study over the summer. He’ll discover the Baptists have both an Old Testament group and a New Testament group. They don’t have a group devoted to the collected works of Thich Nhat Hanh,* so he’ll have to do without that. And he will.

*Not that there’s anything wrong with reading Thich Nhat Hanh; the problem is neglecting Saint Paul and Isaiah.


2 Replies to “Liberal protestant churches continue to decline”

  1. So that is where my officers were going to church!
    (My first division officer ever responded about the same as if he’d found out I was the squadron hooker and had 15 former husbands when he realized the car with the Bush sticker on it was mine; “But you’re such a nice girl….”)

    1. Twenty-five years ago I was a big liberal too. I haven’t changed my views very much. What was liberal then is conservative now. There was (hopefully still is) also a strong ethic to take care of your people. This very easily morphs into paternalism. At the company level many officers were conservative. The higher up the chain you went, the more liberals there were.

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