Tag Archives: Methodists

Change and Decay 1: USA

extract from “Proud Atheist”

Posted by Waleed Al-Husseini on Friday, March 21, 2014

Sometime last year, the US quietly passed a milestone demographers had long been predicting: for the first time in its history, this country is no longer majority Protestant. Fewer than 50 percent of Americans now identify as Protestant Christians of any denomination.

This change has come on surprisingly recently, and from a historical perspective, with breathtaking speed. As recently as 1993, almost two-thirds of Americans identified as Protestants, a number that had remained stable for the several preceding decades. But sometime in the 1990s, the ground started to shift, and it’s been sliding ever since.

Whether it’s the “mainline” Protestant denominations like Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans or Presbyterians, or the independent evangelical, charismatic and fundamentalist sects, the decline is happening across the board. The rise of so-called megachurches, like Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church in California or Mark Driscoll’s Mars Hill in Seattle, represents not growth, but consolidation.
What’s happening to these vanishing Protestants? For the most part, they’re not converting to any other religion, but rather are walking away from religion entirely. They’re becoming “nones,” as the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life puts it. It seems likely that this is the same secularizing trend being observed in Europe, as people of advanced, peaceful democracies find religion increasingly irrelevant to their daily lives.
The spokespeople of the religious right have noticed this trend as well, but it’s clear they have very little idea what to do about it. In a column from 2005, Albert Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared that “theological liberalism” is at fault for Christianity’s decline, and that the only thing they need to do to reverse it is to make “a bold commitment to biblical authority.”

Far from it, the evidence is clear that churches clinging to antiquated dogma are part of the problem, as young people turn away from their strident decrees about gays and women.

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a tour of heaven

A man died and went to the hereafter.

Saint Peter met him at the pearly gates and gave  him a tour of heaven.
“In this room you can see all your loved ones who passed away before you.” stated Saint Peter.
” This room is the Lords library.” said Peter “In here you will find every great novel ever written by all the greatest authors.”
“This is the kitchen, in here you can feast on everything your heart desires.” he remarked.
“The next room is our gym. Here you can excel in any sport you wish to play.” Saint Peter said.
Then quietly sneaking by the next room Peter whispers, “Be very quiet when you pass by this room.”
“Why’s that?” asked the new arrival, “Are the angels sleeping in there?”
“No.” replied Saint Peter, “In this room are the Wee Frees, and they think they are the only ones here.”
–ooOOoo–
I heard this originally as this:
A man dies and goes to heaven. At the gates, St. Peter offers him a tour on his way to his quarters. St. Peter takes the man down a beautiful road paved with gold bricks.
They pass a beautiful, tall, Cathedral-like building. It’s huge, with stained glass windows and angels carved into the stonework. People are quietly filing into the front door as music from a beautiful pipe organ emanates from within.”Wow!” exclaims the man. “What a beautiful building! Who are those people?””Them? Those are all the Catholics. They’re getting ready to have high mass.” St. Peter replies.

“Oh.” says the man, as they continue walking down the street.

Next they approach a large grassy area with a modest red brick building that has a tall white steeple at the top. There are huge tables all over the lawn covered with dishes of  salad, fried chicken wings, and every casserole imaginable. People are eating to their heart’s content and laughing, talking and socializing as their children run around playing in the grass.

“St. Peter, who are all those people?” the man asks.

“Oh those people? Those are the Methodists. They’re having another one of their picnics or something.” The man nods in understanding.

They then hear unaccompanied psalm singing coming from a plain-looking, no frills building

“Ah, the Wee Frees,” says the man and Peter nods his head in agreement.

A school next – no children but the raucous noise of drums, guitars and keyboards and cries of “Hallujah! Praise the Lord! Amen!”

Peter explains that this is an Pentecostal group who hire this building for worship.

They then look through the door of an ordinary looking church building with pealing paint, crumbling stonework, a leaking roof, no heating and half a dozen old ladies (some of whom have dozed off) – yes, The Church of Scotland!

Soon St. Peter and the man start walking into and area with lots of trees. It looks like their nearing the woods. As they walk deeper into the trees, the man notices a clearing into the distance. There’s a small village of stone buildings, streams of white smoke puffing from the chimney tops, and beautiful flower and vegetable gardens around the homes. People are quietly milling around and talking.

“St. Peter, who are those people?” the man asks.

“Shhh!” shushes St. Peter with his finger to his mouth. “Those are the Jehovah’s Witnesses. They think they’re the only ones up here.”

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How many Christians does it take to change a lightbulb?

Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air.

 

Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

 

Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

 

Roman Catholic: None. Candles only.

 

Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

 

Episcopalians: Three. One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.

 

Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Church wide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.

 

Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

 

Lutherans: None. Lutherans don’t believe in change.

 

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Three. One to screw in the bulb, and two to knock on your door and ask you if you’ve seen the light!

 

Mormons: Just one, after his wives have gotten on the school bus.

 

Amish: What’s a light bulb?

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