The Greatest Least Surprising Story Ever Told Ignored

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The Greatest Least Surprising Story Ever Told Ignored

Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very lit­tle dif­fer­ence what kind of worldly end he is pur­su­ing. Pro­vided that meet­ings, pam­phlets, poli­cies, move­ments, causes, and cru­sades, mat­ter more to him than prayers and sacra­ments and char­ity, he is ours

C.S. Lewis, The Screw­tape Let­ters VII (Glas­gow: Collins, 1942)

As the Car­di­nals of the Roman Catholic Church pre­pare for the Papal Con­clave and the media admits that the odds of the Church turn­ing left on Abor­tion and Gay Mar­riage are about equal to me being signed as a non-​roster player by the Yan­kees as insur­ance, at a blog called Juicy Ecu­meni­cism we a story that would have been unthink­able 50 years ago:

The once pres­ti­gious and now nearly bank­rupt National Coun­cil of Churches is quit­ting its famous New York head­quar­ters built with largesse from John D. Rock­e­feller, Jr. and whose cor­ner­stone was laid by Pres­i­dent Dwight Eisen­hower. Down to a hand­ful of staffers, the NCC will con­sol­i­date into the United Methodist Build­ing on Capi­tol Hill in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

This was to be the jewel of main­line protes­tant answer to the Vat­i­can but more wor­ried about col­lec­tive action than doc­trine. The great and pow­er­ful embraced them but there were warn­ings at the time

At the Inter­church Center’s 1960 ded­i­ca­tion, a Ger­man Lutheran bishop pre­sciently warned against the “insti­tu­tion­al­iza­tion” of churches, not­ing that a beau­ti­ful build­ing and orga­ni­za­tion were of “no avail with­out true faith.”

And sure enough it was the begin­ning of the end:

Iron­i­cally, nearly all the Main­line denom­i­na­tions housed there would begin their nearly 50-​year mem­ber­ship decline just a few years later. A san­i­tized Protes­tantism with­out doc­trine or dis­tinc­tions sim­ply became too bor­ing to sus­tain. In the early 1960s, about one of every six Amer­i­cans belonged to the seven largest Main­line denom­i­na­tions. Today, it’s one out of every 15.

When you take away Christ as the cen­ter of Chris­tian­ity you have to sub­sti­tute some­thing else, guess what they found?

The main­stream, Main­line Protes­tantism that Ike, him­self a Pres­by­ter­ian, embod­ied began its decline into rad­i­cal­ism in the mid 1960s, mostly in reac­tion to the Viet­nam War. No longer moored to a firm the­ol­ogy, groups like the NCC were eas­ily sus­cep­ti­ble to take-​over by rad­i­cal activists. And hav­ing tied them­selves to Amer­i­can cul­ture and mod­ern sec­u­lar­ism, they were ever anx­ious to stay abreast of the lat­est social and polit­i­cal fad, pri­mar­ily from the per­spec­tive of New York-​based elites.

with the loss of believ­ers came the loss of clout and with the loss of clout came the loss of peo­ple inter­ested in those who have clout and the move to smaller more quiet quar­ters in DC.

There is a rea­son why “main­line” protes­tant churches rarely make the news and the Catholic Church does when peo­ple want to hear opin­ions about faith in the US The Church Remained ortho­dox on Abor­tion, birth con­trol, Homo­sex­u­al­ity and Divorce all things main­line protes­tants once objected to. Now the eyes of those who report on fol­low­ers of Christ are turned to Rome and news orga­ni­za­tion fight for the chance to cover it, the once rich and pow­er­ful sym­bol of Protes­tantism in the US slowly walks away from its HQ in the largest city in the nation.

The real ques­tion is will any­one notice?

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[olimome­ter id=3]

For the first time since I went to my read­ers to get a pay­check I failed to reach my $300 weekly pay­check goal.

How­ever like a closer who blows a save you shake that off and begin again. It’s a new week and a new chance as we grow closer to my leav­ing for CPAC, to keep the mort­gage paid.

It only takes 15 read­ers kick­ing in $20 to pay the bills this week. Please con­sider being one of them.





Once you have made the World an end, and faith a means, you have almost won your man, and it makes very little difference what kind of worldly end he is pursuing. Provided that meetings, pamphlets, policies, movements, causes, and crusades, matter more to him than prayers and sacraments and charity, he is ours

C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters VII (Glasgow: Collins, 1942)

As the Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church prepare for the Papal Conclave and the media admits that the odds of the Church turning left on Abortion and Gay Marriage are about equal to me being signed as a non-roster player by the Yankees as insurance, at a blog called Juicy Ecumenicism we a story that would have been unthinkable 50 years ago:

The once prestigious and now nearly bankrupt National Council of Churches is quitting its famous New York headquarters built with largesse from John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and whose cornerstone was laid by President Dwight Eisenhower. Down to a handful of staffers, the NCC will consolidate into the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

This was to be the jewel of mainline protestant answer to the Vatican but more worried about collective action than doctrine. The great and powerful embraced them but there were warnings at the time

At the Interchurch Center’s 1960 dedication, a German Lutheran bishop presciently warned against the “institutionalization” of churches, noting that a beautiful building and organization were of “no avail without true faith.”

And sure enough it was the beginning of the end:

Ironically, nearly all the Mainline denominations housed there would begin their nearly 50-year membership decline just a few years later. A sanitized Protestantism without doctrine or distinctions simply became too boring to sustain. In the early 1960s, about one of every six Americans belonged to the seven largest Mainline denominations. Today, it’s one out of every 15.

When you take away Christ as the center of Christianity you have to substitute something else, guess what they found?

The mainstream, Mainline Protestantism that Ike, himself a Presbyterian, embodied began its decline into radicalism in the mid 1960s, mostly in reaction to the Vietnam War. No longer moored to a firm theology, groups like the NCC were easily susceptible to take-over by radical activists. And having tied themselves to American culture and modern secularism, they were ever anxious to stay abreast of the latest social and political fad, primarily from the perspective of New York-based elites.

with the loss of believers came the loss of clout and with the loss of clout came the loss of people interested in those who have clout and the move to smaller more quiet quarters in DC.

There is a reason why “mainline” protestant churches rarely make the news and the Catholic Church does when people want to hear opinions about faith in the US The Church Remained orthodox on Abortion, birth control, Homosexuality and Divorce all things mainline protestants once objected to. Now the eyes of those who report on followers of Christ are turned to Rome and news organization fight for the chance to cover it, the once rich and powerful symbol of Protestantism in the US slowly walks away from its HQ in the largest city in the nation.

The real question is will anyone notice?

*********************************************

Olimometer 2.52

For the first time since I went to my readers to get a paycheck I failed to reach my $300 weekly paycheck goal.

However like a closer who blows a save you shake that off and begin again. It’s a new week and a new chance as we grow closer to my leaving for CPAC, to keep the mortgage paid.

It only takes 15 readers kicking in $20 to pay the bills this week. Please consider being one of them.