We’ve had an extra long summer break this year, but now we’re back and ready for another season of conversation and discussion. While we’ll probably spend a little more time in our icebreakers, just so we can reconnect after the long layoff, we do have a meaty topic on the agenda.
Back toward the end of July, The Atlantic ran a story with the provocative headline: “The Misunderstood Reason Millions of Americans Stopped Going to Church.” Here’s a link to the article, though it may be protected behind a paywall. Fundamentally, the author’s argument is that 21st century American life is to blame. It’s what’s driving people out. Here’s the thesis:
“The defining problem driving people out is … just how American life works in the 21st century. Contemporary America simply isn’t set up to promote mutuality, care, or common life. Rather, it is designed to maximize individual accomplishment as defined by professional and financial success. Such a system leaves precious little time or energy for forms of community that don’t contribute to one’s own professional life. Workism reigns in America, and because of it, community in America, religious community included, is a math problem that doesn’t add up.”
Does this explanation add up to you? Think about the people that you know who have drifted away from church over the last few years. How many of those folks do you think this accounts for? Is there really something unique about the century Americans are living in now compared to the 20th? In short, if the above explanation misses the mark, what do you think is the cause?
Join us as we pick up the conversation tomorrow evening, Sept. 12, beginning at 7pm at Casa Real in downtown Oxford.