Friday, April 20, 2007

Should I Stay or Should I Go


The Darn News typically avoids discussions theological, excepting those juicy moments when we all get a laugh at some awful gaffe by a pompous cross-wielding jackass. The latest, however, isn't another episode of Pat Robertson blessing assassination or Jerry Falwell breaking up interracial couples. Its Protestantism slowly slipping from relevance.

Theological divides among Presbyterians were notoriously violent from John Knox through the Civil War, when Presbyterians traded in their whiskey stills for Steel Mills and Banking Charters. Theological debates in the ensuing 200 years generally revolved around applying WWJD principles to Hedge Fund management. Then came gay marriage... What a friggin bore.

Just as globalization has rocked the third world, modernity has rocked this Judeo-Christian democracy bequeathed to us by our strict, illiberal forefathers. As mainline denominations alternatively break off into radicalized evangelicals or universalist liberals, they'll continue to bleed membership faster than the disillusioned flee radicalized politics. Afterall, just as a citizen can avoid the polls on Election Tuesday, it's not hard to hit the snooze on Sunday morning.

If our world finds itself stressed by globalized competition in markets and jobs, its buffeted culturally by ideas and immigration. People might be stressed out by a more complicated work/life/world/whatever, but the means by which we come to terms are likewise more varied. Drugs/yoga/schuezetq2skyii/whatever demand precious little in terms of anger or intellectual rigor. So don't be surprised when your neighborhood church is converted into a bar. No one goes to the bar to get angry.

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