I have noted with some interest during our recent election cycle that the Christian Church (at least in the United States) has effectively disappeared.
All of the issues that in the past have motivated the Church to play a role - typically moral issues - have not been discussed almost at all in this current incarnation. It is almost as if (in the most abhorrent phrase I can think of in the English language) "the science is settled" and everything has moved on.
Think about it - the Church (at least from what I can see) has simply become another interest group to lure into one's orbit. Churches have become places to stage things, votes to be courted - not (minimally) the conscience of society, calling it to a higher and better life.
Segue to a second conversation this past Sunday between two friends about their congregations (both the same mainline denomination). The first, a parishioner, asks the second, who is a pastor, where he has landed.
"Oh a church down on X street. Small church, really struggling. How is your church doing?"
(First): "Oh, fine. We just called a fourth pastor."
(Second): "What is the membership there?"
(First): "Well, for years they held at 650, but we seem to be losing people now."
(Second): "Can they afford four pastors?"
Which, when added in with the first comment, starts to make sense - after all, in an era of declining membership (and most of the mainline denominations are declining), why waste time and energy and money appealing to shrinking power base? From the world's point of view, makes perfect sense.
It seems that the more and more the Church has come to reflect the society around it rather than calling others to a higher standard, the less and less effective that it has been at making an impact. I would suspect that in any churches, stripping away the differences in songs, you could find yourself just as likely to be immersed in a self-help seminar or motivational meeting with virtually no difference. And if people can have that - and feel good about themselves to boot - why would they even bother with church? (The subject on a whole separate posting on what the Church teaches, I suspect).
Short of an revival (an actual revival, not the silliness I hear spoken of so often with no basis in fact) I fear the Church (at least in the US) will continue to dwindle in effectiveness and impact. Perhaps that is okay for political life, but inexcusable for the spiritual.