3648 – Monday, May 6, 2019

I am not a very religious person.  Some would say the same but say that they are spiritual.  Frankly, I don’t think I qualify for that epithet either.  Particularly since I don’t know what being spiritual means.  I don’t believe in ghosts, angels, gods, demons, fairies, gremlins, goblins, devils or any kind of enlightened or unenlightened presence in the universe.  I am not sure I even believe in the universe.  I see stars and a sun out there but perhaps it is a conspiracy by right-wing nut cases to make us think there is a universe out there.  Maybe they are projections from some giant movie camera maintained to keep us working and striving and fighting so that we can get to that great nirvana in the sky called Heaven.   I think many may go to the other place which we might call an anti-nirvana or Hell.

Anyway, enough of the two-bit philosophy.  I was going to comment on going to church with my spouse yesterday.  Despite all my negativity, pessimism, cynicism and disbelief she still believes in Jesus, God and to a lesser degree Lutheranism.  I refrain from bringing up some dirt on Luther less in the interest of marital harmony and more in respect for Karen’s beliefs.  She does not tell me that I am full of shit and that my beliefs are idiotic, and I do the same for her beliefs.  Yesterday was one of those days when I accompanied her to church.  Perhaps every few months, I will go to church with her.  Sermons can be very uplifting, and I think one can always learn from hearing someone talk about morality and ethics and whatever else a particular church pastor might have to say.

Karen goes to Pilgrim Lutheran Church and was actually baptized there.  When we moved to Frederic in 2010 (A city founded by Karen’s ancestors among several other families), Karen was excited about being able to attend this church.  We found an older congregation which was very welcoming.  At the time, there was a woman pastor.  She left a few years later and was replaced by a Pastor who supported Bernie Sanders.  He was there several years and left for greener pastures.  They are again being ministered by an older retired pastor who will be a stand-in until they get a new “energized” younger pastor.  Sadly, knowing how long it takes for a church to do a “calling” and knowing the average age of this church population, I might be the only one left to greet the new pastor. 😊

That is my main point.  Statistics all over the US show that church participation and membership in traditional religions is declining.  Young people are either going to hip mega-churches or not going to church at all.  Lutherans, Baptists, Presbyterians, Methodists, Catholics, and Episcopalians are all seeing declines in their memberships.  The number of vacant churches in the USA is staggering.

But statistics are one thing.  It is another thing when you grew up going to church and suddenly you notice that at 72 you might be the youngest member of the congregation.  It does not take a genius to realize that in twenty or so years, the church will be empty (baring some divine intervention or miracle) which to me seems highly unlikely.

Even to my heathen soul, I feel a sadness at the evident change happening.  Just like the decline in family farms, a way of life is becoming obsolete.  I don’t know what will replace the community that is often so evident in these churches.  I have been warmly greeted in Baptist churches, African Episcopal Methodist churches, Baha’i temples and many other places of worship.  While I may not belong to a particular denomination or go to any one church regularly, I still shed a tear in watching a way of life that I grew up with pass into memory.

“I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit.” —  Khalil Gibran

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jeanine
    May 06, 2019 @ 13:41:16

    Your blog speaks the truth in reference to the church and the dwindling congregations. I see so many churches in RI alone that have closed their doors from lack of support and they cannot thrive.
    There is surely a lack of priests in the Catholic religion and it does not take a genius to figure out why.
    Very sad and I thought that it was very nice that you felt the same way.
    I still believe in God and the Holy Trinity etc. but not everything that was pushed down my throat during the period I attended a parochial school. I wonder if we will ever see a resurgence. I think Jesus might have to come again….after all, did He not promises a second coming? It might be closer than we think. Okay, I will admit, I have some reservations about the second coming, I guess I should read the bible more. The children I teach catechism to always ask me who I think put God up there. I have to resort to the old answer that God always was and always will be. I ponder Genesis a good deal, and there are surely alot of questions that come out of reading the first few chapters. Like if there were only two people in the beginning, and they had two sons, how in the world did that fill the world up with so many different ethnicities? Also, there had to be incest in the beginning, but isnt that supposed to be a sin. Yep, I am a little confused, but my faith is still solid enough to believe that all these mysteries will be revealed to us at the end. ….but is that the end of my life, or the world? If so, we are all going to be waiting a long time, or short..

    Reply

  2. johnpersico
    May 06, 2019 @ 13:55:12

    Wow, you really got into my blog Jeanine. I laughed when you said the standard reply. Once I was told “God always was and etc.”, I started figuring that most church teaching was BS and that most really really religious people were brainwashed. If they had eyes and opened them, maybe they could really see and really find the truth, but I doubt it. Anyway, the big question I have always wrestled with was “do organized religions do more good or harm?” I think that is a really mixed question or question with mixed answers. John

    Reply

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