House of the Dead? – The New York Review of Books

House of the Dead? – The New York Review of Books

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Down Time by Barbara Brown Taylor

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Bruised Widow Pleads For Peace

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The Crisis and How to Deal with It – The New York Review of Books

The Crisis and How to Deal with It – The New York Review of Books

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White Mainline Church

I know that the ELCA is trying to do everything it cans to change its image, but it is hard to see the potential for change when one considers the simple fact that the largest ELCA church has been solely white since 2001 (cf.http://archive.elca.org/ScriptLib/RE/Trendnet/cdsTrendNet.asp?Id=B8DFD4C392BADAA1DCC9C1B2B58ED3E091C3B5DDC0CE87E3BBA89AD5B7A0AF90C0A7C8A39DE09C8D). Now to be fair, the make-up of this particular zip code area is largerly white. However, it does not excuse the lack of any minority in this church. Furthermore, this church is located near the two largest cities in MN. Well, at least this church can claim to have achieve 100% homogeneity. That is a good thing, isn’t it?

Rev. John Yockey Solution to Failing Church Attendance

Rev. John Yockey Solution to Failing Church Attendance
Rev. John Yockey of St. Jerome Parish in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
by Susanne Jones
Rev. John Yockey of St. Jerome Parish in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, made the decision to offer a discount on the Parish’s school tuition, if the parents agree to attend church on at least seven of every ten Sundays. Before this move, being a member of the church was sufficient to receive the discount. More and more churches with schools associated to them offer discounts to active and participating members of the church, making an increase in church attendance a primary goal in this effort.
In a recent article in ‘The State-Journal’ by Sara Gividen, a Frankfort, KY, Baptist minister was described as expressing disapproval about the fact that the young athletes in his congregation had to choose between attending church or playing sports. He requested from local youth sport organizer to schedule games and practices at other times than Wednesday evenings and Sundays. It appears he felt compelled to enlist the media in his quest to ensure something is done to allow those athletes to attend church.
Why does a minister feel forced to take such a step? Attendance in churches across the country has been decreasing for decades with only a brief increase after 9/11. Furthermore, those members, who stick around and regularly attend church, are usually older and in the second half of their expected lifespan. Therefore, churches increasingly struggle to attract new members, especially those from the younger population.
There are several reasons why church attendance is down. First and foremost, with the scientific progress, and a possible scientific explanation for anything and everything, it is difficult to believe in the existence of God. God just does not appear to be so all-powerful anymore.
Secondly, there have been many scandals surrounding the churches in recent years, especially the Catholic Church. The trust in the ministers and priests has diminished. Their worldliness has become too obvious. Can such a person really give me good spiritual advice? What does a catholic priest know about marriage and parenthood, if he himself has never experienced it? Shouldn’t the person leading the congregation be closer to God? Sort of have a direct line to God? Be a perfect human being the way God wants us to be? The questionable behavior of some of the ministers and priests has made it more difficult for others to ‘herd their sheep’.
Thirdly, and most importantly, our lives have become incredibly busy. Who has time for God anymore? We have more important things to do. Sunday is not the day of rest anymore for many of us. Stores are open; factories don’t stop their assembly lines. Many of us have to work. While maybe fifty years ago it might have been frowned upon to run your lawnmower on Sundays or do any visible to the neighbor work around the house, this is not the case anymore. With our schedules full throughout the week, the weekend is left to keep up with the chores around the house and/or shopping and relaxing. And yes, there is sporting events to attend and other commitments, especially if you have children. And most importantly, even if we have nothing else to do, the weekend is our only chance to sleep in. The day of rest does not include getting up early to attend church.
And then there is the entertainment point. Most churches have a certain structure to their church service. They rarely deviate from their traditional forms of worship. It is the same pretty much every Sunday. Though some churches attempt to make changes and to perk up a few things, they often do so half-hazardly, because they don’t want to offend or lose their traditional members. To top it off, some ministers love to hear themselves speak, going on and on and on in their sermons. Unfortunately, nowadays, with TV, Internet, and many more distractions, our attention span is diminished. We want to be entertained and have fun. Thus, going to church can be a boring endeavor.
Therefore, keeping all this in mind, is it really so surprising that God is not important to us anymore? We have other more important things to do. Or do we?
It is obvious, churches have to change and adapt to more modern times to make church and faith more attractive. It is doubtful forced attendance is the way to go, nor should outsiders be pressured into accommodating a church’s schedule. In the latter case, this would pose quite a dilemma. What if another church with a different schedule and requirements for their members makes a request? Besides, it’s doubtful attendance will increase, even if we make Sunday the day of rest again by closing all stores and factories and canceling all sport events.
Churches should not look to the outside to achieve higher membership and worship attendance. Pressure and force will just scare members away. Churches should look to themselves and what changes they can make. They need to present themselves differently to attract members and to spread the faith. It is up to the minister to properly ‘heard’ and guide his or her ‘sheep’. If it is not impressed upon the member that church is more important than worldly matters, than the minister is not doing his or her job. The church has to find a gentle way to make church more important than all the other commitments a member might have. If there is a choice between mowing the lawn and church, or sport and church, reasonable arguments should be made as to why church is more important and how the member will benefit from the community of the church and the spiritual well being which can be achieved through regular church attendance.
More resources:
2009 © Associated Content, All rights reserved. 
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use
Rev. John Yockey of St. Jerome Parish in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
by Susanne Jones
Rev. John Yockey of St. Jerome Parish in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, made the decision to offer a discount on the Parish’s school tuition, if the parents agree to attend church on at least seven of every ten Sundays. Before this move, being a member of the church was sufficient to receive the discount. More and more churches with schools associated to them offer discounts to active and participating members of the church, making an increase in church attendance a primary goal in this effort.
In a recent article in ‘The State-Journal’ by Sara Gividen, a Frankfort, KY, Baptist minister was described as expressing disapproval about the fact that the young athletes in his congregation had to choose between attending church or playing sports. He requested from local youth sport organizer to schedule games and practices at other times than Wednesday evenings and Sundays. It appears he felt compelled to enlist the media in his quest to ensure something is done to allow those athletes to attend church.
Why does a minister feel forced to take such a step? Attendance in churches across the country has been decreasing for decades with only a brief increase after 9/11. Furthermore, those members, who stick around and regularly attend church, are usually older and in the second half of their expected lifespan. Therefore, churches increasingly struggle to attract new members, especially those from the younger population.
There are several reasons why church attendance is down. First and foremost, with the scientific progress, and a possible scientific explanation for anything and everything, it is difficult to believe in the existence of God. God just does not appear to be so all-powerful anymore.
Secondly, there have been many scandals surrounding the churches in recent years, especially the Catholic Church. The trust in the ministers and priests has diminished. Their worldliness has become too obvious. Can such a person really give me good spiritual advice? What does a catholic priest know about marriage and parenthood, if he himself has never experienced it? Shouldn’t the person leading the congregation be closer to God? Sort of have a direct line to God? Be a perfect human being the way God wants us to be? The questionable behavior of some of the ministers and priests has made it more difficult for others to ‘herd their sheep’.
Thirdly, and most importantly, our lives have become incredibly busy. Who has time for God anymore? We have more important things to do. Sunday is not the day of rest anymore for many of us. Stores are open; factories don’t stop their assembly lines. Many of us have to work. While maybe fifty years ago it might have been frowned upon to run your lawnmower on Sundays or do any visible to the neighbor work around the house, this is not the case anymore. With our schedules full throughout the week, the weekend is left to keep up with the chores around the house and/or shopping and relaxing. And yes, there is sporting events to attend and other commitments, especially if you have children. And most importantly, even if we have nothing else to do, the weekend is our only chance to sleep in. The day of rest does not include getting up early to attend church.
And then there is the entertainment point. Most churches have a certain structure to their church service. They rarely deviate from their traditional forms of worship. It is the same pretty much every Sunday. Though some churches attempt to make changes and to perk up a few things, they often do so half-hazardly, because they don’t want to offend or lose their traditional members. To top it off, some ministers love to hear themselves speak, going on and on and on in their sermons. Unfortunately, nowadays, with TV, Internet, and many more distractions, our attention span is diminished. We want to be entertained and have fun. Thus, going to church can be a boring endeavor.
Therefore, keeping all this in mind, is it really so surprising that God is not important to us anymore? We have other more important things to do. Or do we?
It is obvious, churches have to change and adapt to more modern times to make church and faith more attractive. It is doubtful forced attendance is the way to go, nor should outsiders be pressured into accommodating a church’s schedule. In the latter case, this would pose quite a dilemma. What if another church with a different schedule and requirements for their members makes a request? Besides, it’s doubtful attendance will increase, even if we make Sunday the day of rest again by closing all stores and factories and canceling all sport events.
Churches should not look to the outside to achieve higher membership and worship attendance. Pressure and force will just scare members away. Churches should look to themselves and what changes they can make. They need to present themselves differently to attract members and to spread the faith. It is up to the minister to properly ‘heard’ and guide his or her ‘sheep’. If it is not impressed upon the member that church is more important than worldly matters, than the minister is not doing his or her job. The church has to find a gentle way to make church more important than all the other commitments a member might have. If there is a choice between mowing the lawn and church, or sport and church, reasonable arguments should be made as to why church is more important and how the member will benefit from the community of the church and the spiritual well being which can be achieved through regular church attendance.
More resources:
2009 © Associated Content, All rights reserved. 
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use

New England Egg Farm Investigation