Partisans in America's scuffle over religion are either celebrating or panicking, with the fans of Richard Dawkins blowing party horns while clergymen bite their nails. It seems our nation's faith is drowning in a sea of "nones." I admit it. The math initially looks grim.
Even in secular contexts, people of faith can work together to encourage or discourage warfare. As violence has escalated in Israel and Gaza, an international campaign for peace has been launched, involving Jews, Muslims, and Christians.
I counsel church leaders within every denomination in America, having crisscrossed this country for nearly two decades counseling congregations as small as two hundred in attendance to churches averaging nearly 20,000 in weekly attendance.
Survive and advance is one mantra of teams in the NCAA basketball tournament culminating in the Final Four. One strategy for churches struggling in a sports-obsessed culture may be a similar strategy: Adapt and advance.
I'm 23, recite the Creed without crossing my fingers, and think seriously and critically about my faith. Furthermore, not only am I in seminary to be an ordained minister, but -- GASP! -- I'm also doing so in a mainline denomination. How can this be? It defies all logic!
With a beer in one hand and lyrics to old hymns in the other, we let go of all of the trappings of what people think, how they are dressed and a myriad of other completely useless measurements of faith.
Why am I not going to church? Because a great deal of the people with whom I'd like to figure out how to be in ministry don't. They're not heathen. They're -- well, just like me, except they have Sundays off.
Large numbers of Americans are hankering for experiential faith whereby they can connect with God, the divine, or wonder as well as with their neighbors and that lead to a more profound sense of meaning in the world.