Cultural Captivity in the American UMC, Part 1



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Excellent analysis

United Methodism was synonymous with middle class status at the time of the MC-EUB merger (1969?). Since the middle class has been proliterianized through supply side economics, corporate downsizing, and the like, these factors' effects on our decline of membership is much more plausible than the right-wing fairy tale that it is because their cohort left due to our liberalism to join The Church of What's Happening Now. Of course the actual number of United Methodists leaving UMC churches to join right-wing churches directly had to have numbered in the few dozens, but most attrition was due to deaths and lack of replacement because those who fit our ethos were reduced. The same is so for Catholics and others - organized religion is an attraction for a small minority, hence rebranding efforts like naming a church something like "Spring Hills Church" with "United Methodist" in four point type below like a legal disclaimer. The same dynamic has affected the Freemasons and the Elks, the political parties, the PTAs, etc. "Joiners" are a rare breed today. In great part this is due to our increasingly perilous economic viability. It is decidedly NOT due to our liberalism. And the megachurches operate on a boom and bust cycle, building rapidly but becoming ghost towns when the charismatic sermonizers fall to scandal. Our survival is due to a plucky few with commitment, not due to our unwillingness to follow Pied Pipers in the form of slick preachers on the political make.

George Nixon Shuler more than 5 years ago

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