If Christians want to rebuild and bring the “nones” back to church, then perhaps it’s time to try something beyond feel-good sermons and feminized emotional appeals. Perhaps it’s time for churches to go back to the roots of their own religion and reject today’s trendy, effeminate Christianity.
Sitting in a pew last summer, waiting for a small funeral service to start, I saw a young woman walk to the podium and begin to speak. To my surprise, she introduced herself as the minister who would be conducting the service, and then she began to lead those gathered to remember the departed through the songs, prayers, and eulogizing typical of funerals.
While the presence of this female minister initially came as a surprise, further consideration led me to realize that her presence was simply a natural consequence of the women’s liberation movement and the heightened emphasis on empathetic feelings in today’s society. Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that Christianity is a soft, nurturing religion. By those standards, the presence of a woman in the pulpit seems the most natural thing in the world.
Yet is such a course really working for the Christian church? A recent article from Christianity Today suggests otherwise.
Citing the steady rise of religious “nones”—those individuals who claim no affiliation with any religion—author Ryan Burge claims that individuals without a religious affiliation have risen from roughly 5 percent in the early 1970s, to almost 25 percent in recent years. Burge posits that these numbers are not as dire as they seem. Many of the “nones” should really be labeled “somes,” for they attend church occasionally and still entertain religious thoughts, such as belief in God.
Burge closes his article by quoting Wheaton College professor Ed Stetzer, who summarized the “nones’” problem by saying “’It would… be a mistake to think church as usual will appeal to the nones.’”
“Of course!” many would say. “This is exactly why church needs to become fresh, new, and original! Stop being so hard on sin! Become more nurturing!”