The basis for my book is the answer I received when I ask people on the scene of a tragic loss, "Do you have a faith?" Response 90% of the time? Hundreds of times? "Well, we used to go to church?" Happened four times in the past few weeks. The way I figure it, hundreds of thousands of people around the region I live used to go to church. But what I also discovered is that in times of desperation they long to exercise faith in God in order to have some anchor of hope in the great sea of despair.
I write in my book, "The world is filled with church leavers–people who stop attending
church or are no longer actively involved in organized religion. Some of them abandon belief in God altogether, most pursue spirituality on different terms. There is a growing number of people who identify themselves as “spiritual but not religious” and also those who speak of a Christ-centered spirituality but who do not attend church."
A Gallup poll reveals that in the last 20 years church membership for Americans dropped from 70% to 50% with most of the decline in the last decade. The "used to go to church" people is growing. The Barna Research Group reports that church has become more and more irrelevant, especially with young people. But what is "church" anyway? Can we know God without church? Love God? Be loved by God? Be in fellowship with other lovers of God...followers of Jesus? Can we?
Someone asked me the other day if they lost their salvation because he fell in love and had sex outside of marriage. Guess it depends on what you learned in church. Love+Sex-Marriage=Hell.
Right now it is becoming more and more the case that our own government is becoming irrelevant, just like the church has become for so many. Maybe there is a correlation. Government/Church controlling lives....telling you what is right and wrong...punishing wrongdoers for even the slightest offense...rules, requirements, regulations. Always needing more money/taxes. Proclaiming a duty and benevolence in saving the lost/homeless. The Bible/Constitution is infallible but interpreted differently. Great emphasis on the President/Pastor. The elders/congress in conflict with the President/Pastor. Politics. How attractive is that?
What is "church"? You tell me.