Have we so intertwined the American Dream with Christianity until they have become one and the same, and to lose one is to lose the other?
Are you tired of hearing about the Pew Research Center’s demographic study outlining the decline of Christianity in America? It was earth-shattering news for the few people who read it, but energized others who were tired of traditional mainline Protestantism. The panic that it produced was interesting to read, hear and watch. The research only confirmed what we religious types already knew — there are fewer people in our pews.
The “Nones” do not come and really never have. The “Dones” do not come because they are pretty tired of whatever it is that they are tired of. Opinion pieces not unlike this column have poured serious time and energy into culturally diagnosing the perceived problem from a religious perspective. “We need to (fill in the blank).” Responses to this study have been a cornucopia of “You’re Doing It All Wrong” YouTube videos about church. The Pew Research Center probably didn’t realize that it was creating even more fuel for the fire of apocalypticism in popular culture. Maybe that’s what it is! The Zombie Apocalypse is really hurting church attendance.
All jokes aside, we are facing the same old new problems of every generation, but this happens to be our generation and church attendance is declining. Another major demographic that has been on the decline in the United States approximately over the same time period is the middle class. According to a New York Times article (let the name calling begin) earlier this year, middle income families in the United States have declined by 10 percent since 1967 — that’s the overall numbers for our whole country.
The good news is that some of the decline of the middle class is because a few of them moved into the upper-middle class. The bad news is that many of them fell into the lower income bracket. I think most Americans would agree that the middle class is the backbone of the United States. And a healthy middle class is a healthy America. A recent article from The Brookings Institution highlighted some of the possible dangers in the “slide” from middle class to upper-middle class in relation to self-preservation. This fascinating piece attempts to show that this upwardly movement tends to be characterized by self-interest rather than social-interest, which has decidedly economic and political implications.
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SOURCE: Baptist News Global