Which is more important?

Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
edited May 3 in Purgatory
Should the church be teaching morality or showing radical hospitality?

Before you say this is a false dichotomy, here me out.

Whenever I look at polls asking why young people are leaving the church in the United States, a common thread is they feel the church has become too legalistic. Fundamentalists continue to condemn same-sex partnerships and yet most young adults now know of several same-sex couples. Moreover, young people really do not feel welcomed in established churches. There is now a report that the US Council of Bishops (Roman Catholic) are thinking of asking Biden to refrain from communing at Mass because he is pro-choice, meaning he feels it is up to the woman to make reproductive choices. What does it say to the women who have made a choice contrary to what the church teaches? Even on this site, there has been an ongoing discussion about the Anglican Church welcoming everyone except small (r)epublicans.

Off hand, I can think of several stories in the Bible that indicate we should be showing radical hospitality.

There is the story we know as the Good Samaritan. The lawyer and the priest were no doubt fine respectable people who took pride in their morals and used them as an excuse to pass by Luke 10: 25-37 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Lk+10:25–37&version=NIV

There is the story of the sheep being separated from the goat that argues for radical hospitality. Matthew 25: 31-46 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew 25:31-46&version=NIV

And, then there is the example of the first churchwide council in Jerusalem where a group of people argued that in order for Gentiles to become Christian, they must submit to Jewish law Acts 15 1-35 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts 15&version=NIV

Do you suppose if the church started practicing radical hospitality over being the moral compass more young people would feel comfortable returning to church? Discuss.

Comments

  • I think young people might be more comfortable with the church if the church didn't appear to be actively immoral, both in relation to its treatment of LGBT people and people of colour and in covering up sexual and spiritual abuse by the clergy. The problem is not with the church being a moral compass it's that the compass is pointing due Pharisee.
  • I think young people might be more comfortable with the church if the church didn't appear to be actively immoral, both in relation to its treatment of LGBT people and people of colour and in covering up sexual and spiritual abuse by the clergy. The problem is not with the church being a moral compass it's that the compass is pointing due Pharisee.

    This.

    With the usual caveat that not all young people think the same way.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    I may be out of line here but I think that churches shopuld just preach the gospel
  • You're not out of line at all, but what gospel should they preach?

    Some preach what might be termed a gospel of hate against BAME/LGBT+ people, for instance, whereas the example showed by Jesus is a gospel of radical inclusiveness...
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited May 3
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    There is now a report that the US Council of Bishops (Roman Catholic) are thinking of asking Biden to refrain from communing at Mass because he is pro-choice, meaning he feels it is up to the woman to make reproductive choices. What does it say to the women who have made a choice contrary to what the church teaches?

    AIUI, the position of the Catholic Church is that abortion is a grave sin because it involves deliberately killing an unborn child. There are many other "reproductive choices" that a person or a couple might make (such as, for example, the choice to use contraception) which are contrary to the official teaching of the Catholic Church, but do not incur automatic excommunication.

    I understand that what the Catholic Church says to women who have made "a choice contrary to what the church teaches" (by which you mean "had an abortion") is "you have committed a grave sin, and by doing so have separated yourself from the Church; you must repent of your sin, and forgiveness and reconciliation with the Church are available to you."

    If you accept the premise, I don't think there's much else that you can do. For those of us that don't accept the premise, I think it's the premise that we disagree with, rather than the chain of logic that flows from it.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    You're not out of line at all, but what gospel should they preach?

    Some preach what might be termed a gospel of hate against BAME/LGBT+ people, for instance, whereas the example showed by Jesus is a gospel of radical inclusiveness...

    I have never found anything in any of the gospels which refers to BAME/LGBT+ people. On the very odd occasion I have heard a visiting preacher mention bit's of Paul's letters which we all know about but I have just ignored them.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    It’s not a false dichotomy, exactly. It’s more like a faulty premise—that one is “more important” than the other. It’s like asking, “which is more important, breathing in or breathing out?”

    You seem to be taking a constricted view of “teaching morality” and equating it with a particular form of legalism and things like condemning same-sex relationships. I would say the church is teaching morality and acting as a moral compass when it condemns all forms of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia or oppression. I would say the church is teaching morality and acting as a moral compass when it teaches love of neighbor and care for “the least” among us, and when it teaches the importance of values like truth or kindness.

    Practicing the radical hospitality of which you speak is itself acting as a moral compass. It is teaching by example rather than by word, per se, but it is still teaching morality.

    The issue is not teaching morality vs. being hospitable. The problem is when Christians who claim to follow Jesus expound a morality, or a form of welcome, at odds with Jesus.

    I’m with @Telford; the important thing is that churches preach the Gospel by word and by deed. Acting as a moral compass and showing hospitality flow from that.

  • PowderkegPowderkeg Shipmate Posts: 41
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.
  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    Yeah, false dichotomy. It isn't hospitality we're talking that's needed, it's love. And I'll venture to say that it's not even about getting everything "correct," whichever side of whichever social issues you stand on. It's about do you love those people (meaning: the ones you hope will be coming in the door)? Do you show that love in real, clear, obvious ways? Do you go on showing that love regardless of what they do or say? If you end up in conflict, can you still go on loving them in such a way that even they admit that you do?
    People will come to that kind of love. People will flee from a place/group that shows no love, no matter how perfectly their ideology/philosophy/theology/whatsit jives with their own. People will stay in places where they have definite conflicts so long as the love is there. That's been my experience in roughly 40 years of ministry of various types, to people of all types.
    Want evidence? In my current congregation, by no doing of my own, the leadership has long since added all the official "enemies" of our church (read: those who tossed the lot of us out the door of our old parish and excommunicated us en masse) to the Sunday prayers of the people, by name, and NOT simply that they would repent or some such, but rather for their wellbeing. And one of our former antagonists from 2012 or so has come "home again" after running himself into a wall for the fourth time (third time was in our congregation, fourth was in a schismatic kind of thingy that destroyed itself amid scandal). He's back, and nobody's shitting him, and he is shitting nobody AFAIK. It's been over a year now. Miracles still happen. And we aren't bleeding people, even with the pandemic.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Very well said, @Lamb Chopped. “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, . . . .”

  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.

    I suspect that similar objections account for why more than a few young people leave theologically conservative churches, before you even get into the dead-horse issues.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.
    So what are you left with?

  • Telford wrote: »
    You're not out of line at all, but what gospel should they preach?

    Some preach what might be termed a gospel of hate against BAME/LGBT+ people, for instance, whereas the example showed by Jesus is a gospel of radical inclusiveness...

    I have never found anything in any of the gospels which refers to BAME/LGBT+ people. On the very odd occasion I have heard a visiting preacher mention bit's of Paul's letters which we all know about but I have just ignored them.

    Yes, fair enough.

    I used the example of hate against BAME/LGBT+ simply as a *for instance*, but others have made, more effectually than I, the point that the church(es) should preach a gospel of love, by word and by deed.

    I guess this is what you also were meaning?

  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    I can't speak for the UMC, but I would argue in the case of the ELCA a great part of the hemorrhaging is that we are also resistant to the expectations of young people as well. Sure we have a more open policy regarding sexuality and reproductive rights, but within congregations, there are strong differences: some congregations resist changing the style of worship; many rural congregations are really politically conservative in spite of the fact all ordained people agree to speak for social justice. Older generations (of which I am one) resist creative ideas presented by younger generations--the "we have never done it that way before" syndrome.

    When my congregation first became open and affirming we took a serious look at how we were doing hospitality. We made a number of improvements and we are still looking at making other changes. It certainly has helped. Are we perfect? No, but we are better than we were.
  • CaissaCaissa Shipmate
    The Church should teach radical hospitality and that should be the basis of their morality.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    You're not out of line at all, but what gospel should they preach?

    Some preach what might be termed a gospel of hate against BAME/LGBT+ people, for instance, whereas the example showed by Jesus is a gospel of radical inclusiveness...

    I have never found anything in any of the gospels which refers to BAME/LGBT+ people. On the very odd occasion I have heard a visiting preacher mention bit's of Paul's letters which we all know about but I have just ignored them.

    Yes, fair enough.

    I used the example of hate against BAME/LGBT+ simply as a *for instance*, but others have made, more effectually than I, the point that the church(es) should preach a gospel of love, by word and by deed.

    I guess this is what you also were meaning?

    Yes I was.
  • amyboamybo Shipmate
    Exactly what @Lamb Chopped and @Caissa said.

    Speaking as a kinda young person raising a little person, I can say that we see the "morality" in the OP as amoral. It's a big part of why I left the church screaming. But when I tried to come back, my childhood congregation was too careful to get the right sorts of people to make room for my little family. We stumbled in the doors of another church who welcomed us and all our supposed flaws (very loud crying baby, unchurched redneck dad, bisexual mom) with love and grace. THAT will get young people back.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    I can't speak for the UMC...

    I am a Methodist and am unable to recognize @Powderkeg 's characterization of the denomination as "progressive" on LGBT relationships. The UMC forbids gay marriage in its Book of Discipline and has been unable to change that at General Conference. The denomination was expecting to split into two denominations over the issue before the pandemic hit. I rather doubt that the Lord has softened anyone's heart during the lockdown, but I could be wrong. One argument people advance for changing the rule is that young people are leaving the denomination in droves because of its bigotry on such matters. I seriously doubt that the hemorrhaging would stop no matter which policy was adopted -- my sense is that @stetson 's point about young people applies to the Church in general, not just theologically conservative denominations. Surprisingly few young people seek out the numinal via traditional churches these days.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    I take it that by "the Church" you mean its leaders and not the Church.
    I have no problem with the Church leaders teaching ethics, providing its teachings are held in balance.
    Do those bishops who would deny communion to pro-choice people also deny it to people who advocate capital punishment, or denying life-saving health care to the poor, or to those who would see millions die in a climate catastrophe or deny covid jabs to poor countries.
    Of course they don't. Their battle grounds are not based on ethics, they are based on personal preferences and should be treated as such.
  • AnteaterAnteater Shipmate
    Gramps:
    Should the church be teaching morality or showing radical hospitality? Before you say this is a false dichotomy, here me out.
    Well I tried but still see it as a false dichotomy. What is the point of the Church if, in order to get bums on seats, it abandons any of it's ethical norms which may conflict with what people want to do, so as to make sure that, God forbid, their lifestyle is never challenged.

    Plus, I do not go along with the idea that one sector of the population should dictate the Church's priorities. And my experience endorses what others have said, that the form of Church that attracts the young in large numbers tends to be hard line and often 100% fundamentalist. My own Church with zero youth membership has an openly gay Curate, for example.

    Nor is it true that fundies cannot practice radical hospitality as well as progressives, but with this clear proviso: showing hospitality does not imply that any lifestyle is affirmed. In many cases, hospitality will be unashamedly a means to the end of conversion. Even when it is not it is not the same as acceptance as part of the Body of Christ. Bringing in the halt blind and lame does not mean that it's fine to be halt blind and lame.

    None of this denies the difficulties in getting our ethics properly lined up with the true message of Christianity, and I for one would not cross the threshold of a hard line fundamentalist church. The scene seems to be mainly concerned with sexual and reproductive ethics, although I might include some areas of biological science. Historically I would have thought relations to the State, including military service have been the most intractable. Like most people what you probably mean is that the Church should not preach ethical standards you disapprove of (like homosexual sex is wrong) but should sound a clear clarion call on anything dear to your heart. Most of us are like that, or at least I can speak for myself here.

    As an aside, I am currently reading The Nazareth Manifesto by Sam Wells who I hugely admire. He does seem to go along your lines, and as yet I am a bit unsure how far I would go. Maybe when I've finished it I may try a thread on it, although I don't know how well threads based on a specific book fare.

  • HugalHugal Shipmate
    Anteater wrote: »
    Gramps:
    Should the church be teaching morality or showing radical hospitality? Before you say this is a false dichotomy, here me out.
    Well I tried but still see it as a false dichotomy. What is the point of the Church if, in order to get bums on seats, it abandons any of it's ethical norms which may conflict with what people want to do, so as to make sure that, God forbid, their lifestyle is never challenged.

    Plus, I do not go along with the idea that one sector of the population should dictate the Church's priorities. And my experience endorses what others have said, that the form of Church that attracts the young in large numbers tends to be hard line and often 100% fundamentalist. My own Church with zero youth membership has an openly gay Curate, for example.

    Nor is it true that fundies cannot practice radical hospitality as well as progressives, but with this clear proviso: showing hospitality does not imply that any lifestyle is affirmed. In many cases, hospitality will be unashamedly a means to the end of conversion. Even when it is not it is not the same as acceptance as part of the Body of Christ. Bringing in the halt blind and lame does not mean that it's fine to be halt blind and lame.

    None of this denies the difficulties in getting our ethics properly lined up with the true message of Christianity, and I for one would not cross the threshold of a hard line fundamentalist church. The scene seems to be mainly concerned with sexual and reproductive ethics, although I might include some areas of biological science. Historically I would have thought relations to the State, including military service have been the most intractable. Like most people what you probably mean is that the Church should not preach ethical standards you disapprove of (like homosexual sex is wrong) but should sound a clear clarion call on anything dear to your heart. Most of us are like that, or at least I can speak for myself here.

    As an aside, I am currently reading The Nazareth Manifesto by Sam Wells who I hugely admire. He does seem to go along your lines, and as yet I am a bit unsure how far I would go. Maybe when I've finished it I may try a thread on it, although I don't know how well threads based on a specific book fare.

    We have been through this ground before. Your view of Fundamentalists is off kilter, and just plain wrong in places. Many young people go to these churches because they are more attracted to contemporaryish worship and not the traditional hymn/prayer prayer book service.
    I will grant you that what you say is true of some churches but not all as you generslised
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Hugal wrote: »
    We have been through this ground before. Your view of Fundamentalists is off kilter, and just plain wrong in places. Many young people go to these churches because they are more attracted to contemporaryish worship and not the traditional hymn/prayer prayer book service.
    I will grant you that what you say is true of some churches but not all as you generslised
    That generalization is the problem with the premise of this thread, it seems to me. It appears to be based on the idea of “if we just did this instead of that, people would come to church.” I think that’s a very simplistic view.

    There is no one reason people—young or otherwise—leave one church for another, or leave church for no-church. There are many reasons.

    And there certainly is no single thing that if we just did it, people would come back or not leave. It’s much more complicated than that.

  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    “Should the church be teaching morality or showing radical hospitality?“

    Both, of course. These two are in no way exclusive.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Should the church be teaching morality or showing radical hospitality?

    Before you say this is a false dichotomy, here me out.

    Whenever I look at polls asking why young people are leaving the church in the United States, a common thread is they feel the church has become too legalistic. Fundamentalists continue to condemn same-sex partnerships and yet most young adults now know of several same-sex couples. Moreover, young people really do not feel welcomed in established churches. There is now a report that the US Council of Bishops (Roman Catholic) are thinking of asking Biden to refrain from communing at Mass because he is pro-choice, meaning he feels it is up to the woman to make reproductive choices. What does it say to the women who have made a choice contrary to what the church teaches? Even on this site, there has been an ongoing discussion about the Anglican Church welcoming everyone except small (r)epublicans.

    Off hand, I can think of several stories in the Bible that indicate we should be showing radical hospitality.

    ...

    Do you suppose if the church started practicing radical hospitality over being the moral compass more young people would feel comfortable returning to church? Discuss.

    This is a false dichotomy. The Church has utterly failed in teaching Jesus' transcendent morality of radical hospitality with rare exceptions. Where it chooses to declare a moral high ground almost never is or liberals have occupied it for years. As in I can't think of one. Ever. War? Slavery? Sexism? Homophobia? The existing Church cannot become inclusive. And is being replaced online, in-house and by conferences and festivals. The only services I attend are 120 miles away in Waterloo, S. London. I volunteer with a local church, but would never attend again as it's a stage I (simplicity)-II (complexity) church where no stage III (perplexity) questions can be asked. We won't going back to our most recent one (and all moves have been due to moving) as although it's more stage II than the other, it stopped doing any radical hospitality - stage IV (harmony).
  • I think I know which S London church @Martin54 refers to, and why.

    If I were able, I'd go there, too (it's only about 30 miles from here).
    :wink:
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    Attended the online service an hour ago.
  • Martin54Martin54 Shipmate
    And to answer the OP, nothing is more important than expressing faith in, as love.
  • edited May 9
    As well posted above, love. With the note that kindness is love in action.

    We can certainly wonder how morality is almostbcertainly about sex and individual lives when churches get interested in it. With a relative neglect on the exploitation of others, whether in the past re slavery, colonization, and presently re 21st century versions of the same things.

    Perhaps when a religion becomes allied with financial and political power, it can't help itself?
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Sorry, just noticed this now...
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.
    So what are you left with?

    Well, I was left with very little to keep me tethered to the RCC. Hence, as I stated, I decided to leave it.

  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Sorry, just noticed this now...
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.
    So what are you left with?

    Well, I was left with very little to keep me tethered to the RCC. Hence, as I stated, I decided to leave it.

    Where are you now ?
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Sorry, just noticed this now...
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.
    So what are you left with?

    Well, I was left with very little to keep me tethered to the RCC. Hence, as I stated, I decided to leave it.

    Where are you now ?

    Unitarian Universalism. Not an entirely comfortable fit, but there it is.
  • TelfordTelford Shipmate
    stetson wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Sorry, just noticed this now...
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.
    So what are you left with?

    Well, I was left with very little to keep me tethered to the RCC. Hence, as I stated, I decided to leave it.

    Where are you now ?

    Unitarian Universalism. Not an entirely comfortable fit, but there it is.

    Thanks for that
  • ThunderBunkThunderBunk Shipmate
    edited May 10
    stetson wrote: »
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Sorry, just noticed this now...
    Telford wrote: »
    stetson wrote: »
    Powderkeg wrote: »
    My impression (from the USA) is that the churches that are very progressive in terms of issues such as LGBT relationships and reproductive rights -- the UMC and ELCA, for example -- are hemorrhaging young people (and older people) as fast as anyone else.

    Personally, while I disagree with the Catholic church on LGBT issues and reproductive rights, that's not the main reason I left. Basically, I just could no longer accept the supernatural aspects of the faith.
    So what are you left with?

    Well, I was left with very little to keep me tethered to the RCC. Hence, as I stated, I decided to leave it.

    Where are you now ?

    Unitarian Universalism. Not an entirely comfortable fit, but there it is.

    I may be on a similar path out of the Church of England, depending in part on how the Living in Love and Faith process and the coming Lambeth Conference go.

    It is vital to remember that, for every person who joins or stays in the church, there are nearly always two or three who are repelled or slip quietly away. Their voices are never heard in this debate; only the loud handwaving and hectoring is heard.
  • Ah yes - the *Revolving Door*!

    One of Our Place's volunteer organists is a UU, and was, until recently, involved with a local Unitarian congregation (now, I think, either moribund or defunct). She often sends me the texts of liturgies she has compiled, and used in the past, and I find them refreshing and helpful.

    Maybe I'm on my way out of the genitalia-obsessed C of E, too - but O how I would miss the music and the hymns!
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    @Bishops Finger

    Are the liturgies your Unitarian organist sends you focused on overtly Christian themes? My impression for a while has been that UK Unitarians still retain a lot of Christian content, even if most of them don't accept the divinity of Christ as generally understood.

  • stetson wrote: »
    @Bishops Finger

    Are the liturgies your Unitarian organist sends you focused on overtly Christian themes? My impression for a while has been that UK Unitarians still retain a lot of Christian content, even if most of them don't accept the divinity of Christ as generally understood.

    No, they're not overtly Christian, but I can't see anything in them which a *normal* Christian (if there is such a thing!) would see as antipathetic.

    The lady herself believes in God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit, but has difficulty in believing that Jesus is more than an inspirational human being...so, much in line with your impression, I guess.
  • stetsonstetson Shipmate
    @Bishops Finger

    Thanks. I think my theological views would be quite similar to your organist's, though I might have a different view on the Holy Spirit.
  • Perhaps I should have said that she believes in a *holy spirit*, IYSWIM.
  • GarethMoonGarethMoon Shipmate
    edited May 11
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Should the church be teaching morality or showing radical hospitality?

    Before you say this is a false dichotomy, here me out.

    Whenever I look at polls asking why young people are leaving the church in the United States, a common thread is they feel the church has become too legalistic.

    People are awful at explaining why the do/don't do things. Partly they don't know. Partly they want to look good or unconsciously feel good about themselves.

    Why do people eat junk food rather than in a healthy way? Most polls in the UK suggest that the responders believe it's because "healthy" food is more expensive than McDonalds or grabbing food for lunch from a coffee shop. I'm told this may be true in certain areas in the US, it's certainly not in the UK.

    Why are people overweight? Most polls suggest that either exercise is too complicated- it's not. You do something that makes you out of breath. Walking or running or pushups etc- or that they have a thyroid problem. People do have thyroid problems but not nearly as many as the polls would suggest.

    Why do so many people not vote (UK)? The polls suggest it's because all the candidates are the same and their vote makes no difference. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the majority who answer this way have not read even a newspaper report on the actual policy implications of the major 3 parties where they live, checked the voting record (easy to do online- they work for you) of the sitting MP, and checked the website of the candidates to see if they differ in any way from their party as many sometimes do on a few points.

    Why don't you go to church?
    Um, they don't like gay people, it's legalistic and they like trump (USA)/they try and restrict women's rights.

    Sounds a lot better than, it's boring (if they've ever gone), and I've not thought about if God is real for a hell of a long time, if ever, and would rather not think about it any more than I might want to think about whether Quantum Physics is actually true, is a "good enough" metaphor that makes society work or is actually false but helped civilization get as far as it did while being a force for evil with the Nuclear bomb.

    Imagine if the newspapers/popular imagination also thought that Quantum Physics Societies were legalistic, homophobic, pro-trump & wouldn't let women in leadership?

    And then they ask you why you don't go to the Quantum Physics Society? It's not surprising you get the poll results you do regarding church.

    And making the Quantum Physics Society less legalistic and more inclusive isn't going to dramatically increase attendance whatever the polls say about why people aren't attending the Quantum Physics Society!

    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Do you suppose if the church started practicing radical hospitality over being the moral compass more young people would feel comfortable returning to church? Discuss.

    I'm glad you said "return" and assume you mean people who grew up in church? I imagine there must be a lot more in the US than the UK?

    I don't think it would for two reasons.

    First practicing "radical hospitality" doesn't mean just being accepting to nice middle class gay and trans people, letting women in leadership, and being fine with all stripes of religious belief and unbelief.

    It means being just as open to the Trump Qanon supporter, the 'hell & brimstone' lifelong bachelor whose annoyed that he's never been able to find a wife even though he believes in headship theology and chats to all the ladies in their early 20s a bit too keenly, the drug addicts & alcoholics some of whom smell and steal things, the adolescent with severe learning difficulties who can't understand why they can't whip their erection out/dry hump people, both the opera singer and the person who insists on singing loudly out of tune, the radical vegan and the "my vegetable portion is the gherkin in my big Mac" person etc etc etc

    It's difficult being really hospitable to those you don't like or get on with. It's a lot, lot easier not to and I don't believe for a second that the majority of those who say that the reason they don't go to church is because of legalism would want to be around people who challenge them, think differently from them, grate, annoy them and are possibly very, very wrong in what they think and how they act!
  • GarethMoon wrote: »
    Why do people eat junk food rather than in a healthy way? Most polls in the UK suggest that the responders believe it's because "healthy" food is more expensive than McDonalds or grabbing food for lunch from a coffee shop.

    Really? Junk food is fast, and reliable. You don't have to worry about whether you'll have to wait for your McDonald's, or whether it will be good: it will be exactly the same as it always is.
    GarethMoon wrote: »
    And making the Quantum Physics Society less legalistic and more inclusive isn't going to dramatically increase attendance whatever the polls say about why people aren't attending the Quantum Physics Society!

    This is a good point. It's not sufficient just to not turn people away. We sometimes act as though churchgoing is the default behaviour, and if we're not actively scaring people away, they will come. And if we're filling our pews by harvesting disgruntled parishioners from the next-door denomination by being a little bit nicer to gay couples, or a little bit nastier to them, how exactly does this serve the Kingdom of God?

    If someone's more comfortable in my church than in the church down the street, then great - but the people we need to be reaching are the large number of people that aren't comfortable in any church, and don't see the point in it.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited May 11
    I asked some folk what they thought about church.

    “ It’s just seriously weird “



    If that is someone’s starting point, then why Would they even consider church? Unless God nudges them or someone invites them?

    And if they Do roll up one Sunday, teaching morality is hardly going to cut it. Neither is that the role of a church.

    Why not just leave that to the Holy Spirit and be hospitable.
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