Wednesday, January 04, 2006

happy new year

it's that time. reflections and projections.
this article by Rabbi Gellman is an interesting summary of religious trends in 2005 (mostly sourced in Barna's research - barna.org).
he lists his 5 major trends...here are the two that stuck out for me.

3. The energizing of the evangelicals. Although only 7 percent of adults are evangelicals, their voice is the loudest and their energy, charity, Bible study, and prayer life is the greatest. They give away more than three times as much money as other Americans. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it was the evangelical volunteers who came in the greatest numbers and stayed for the longest time. I hope that even people who are suspicious of their motives for America can admire the power of their good works when America needed good works the most. Even if they wanted to evangelize the storm-tossed remnants after giving them food, shelter and clothing—who cares? They were there, and most other religious groups were not there in anything like their numbers or sacrificial kindness. People who cannot appreciate the energy of evangelicals for good after the experience of their posthurricane mobilization have eyes, but they do not see. Most pious people flee from the culture and its needs. Evangelicals are engaging the culture and producing the most constant and cogent critique of cultural crud that we are seeing from any religious group in our time.

5. Revolutionaries. Barna labels as “Christian revolutionaries” the more than 20 million people who are pursuing their Christian faith outside the box. They meet in homes or at work. I even knew some New York Knicks who had a prayer and Bible-study group, but perhaps to see members of the Knicks turning to deep prayer may be motivated more by necessity than by faith. Anyway, these revolutionaries, as Barna labels them, are really passionate Christians who have no patience for the moribund bureaucracy of organized church life. The havurah movement in Judaism is fed by the same spiritual energy. For many people faith comes from a fire within, not a cup of coffee and a Danish after services in the social hall. And let us say, amen.

1 comment:

Jeremy Porter said...

Geoff,

Great post and highly encouraging to see that these trends span the distance from evangelicalism to "church outside the box."