My grandfather left his first church when the pastorate joined the KKK. My grandfather believed that racism was evil.
He left his second church when he discovered the building fund was being diverted to the communist party. He didn’t like Stalinist communists either (he was a cultural attaché in the Diplomatic Corp).
His final encounter with religion was in Brazil where he served in the US Army while he was drafted to build US Air Force Bases. He was a guest of an Arch Bishop and ate on gold plate while people starved during WWII.
He came back after the war convinced that God was real but that Churches existed to to stand between God and man and filter the money out.
Too often it seems religious groups spend more time pulling in money rather than serving their congregations.
There also rise questions of how much pastoral and other care a religion provides.
In the ancient world religions provided butcher services (ever wonder why sacrifices gave God the smoke and a few things but the bulk of the meat went to the congregant?).
Modern religions often provide pastoral services and community services. Daycares and more, especially professionally curated youth programs —the one thing Boy Scouts offered.
The LDS Church used to provide social events, community meals, sports leagues, arts festivals and more.
These days with the change in community that has all gone by the wayside.
One result is that the Church fails to engage the youth and there are record numbers finding the church irrelevant.
Most congregations in the LDS Church seem to run on less than 10% of the funds they generate.
Many of adults in the Church have as their identity a political party or ideology rather than membership in the Church. The loss of community has made the community no longer important or significant to them so another identity has replaced their identity as “Mormons.”
I don’t know the solution. But it is an interesting development.
What do you think?
- Is community important to a church?
- What value does a church offer if it does not create community or provide pastoral care?
- What sorts of changes have you seen in the place the Church has in your life the last twenty years?
- What do you see as how money relates to a church?
- What is a Church and what are we now that we are no longer the “Mormon People” or an ethnic group anyone could join?