Fascinating article from Episcopal Life online, looking at the decline of the mainline "brand"
But a little humility on our part might make it possible to see that it is possible they are better at answering the needs of seekers who otherwise might dare to enter our doors.
Yes, they spend less time talking about issues of the temporal world, issues of justice and equality – issues important to us. But they devote more time to talking about things we seem to be much less interested in, at least to those thirsty newcomers – sin and forgiveness, how to engage the Bible at a deeper level, how to raise a Christian family, how to find joy (joy!) in Christian faith.
Can any of us seriously wonder why someone just beginning a journey of faith would find that a more welcoming place?
Is the ship sinking? Is it still seaworthy? Here's a more difficult and more pressing question: Is it time to move on from the age of ocean liners? Are we more devoted to our institutions, to our way of being church, than to our gospel?
The gospel is the message. The church is only the medium. There is a deep, eternal truth to that message that will find a way to be communicated. If our medium can't adapt to carry that message, then it will be passed by – no matter how many ships we build.
Talk amongst yourselves...