It’s Nice to Be Nice But It Isn’t Enough

 

This is like, Article # 3,477,899 on the topic of “Point: Churches Need to Liberalize to Stop Losing Members/ Counterpoint: The Most Liberal Churches Are Losing Members Fastest.” This particular argument has been going back and forth since membership in mainline Protestant denominations started nosediving back in the 70’s; around about the time the leftists began skinning the mainline protestant churches – wearing their hides and demanding respect – come to think of it.

Buried deep in the article is an interesting data point: Not even gay people like gay-friendly churches.

Research conducted jointly at Columbia University and the University of California at Los Angeles by scholars who are not shy about supporting gay politics found that gay- and lesbian-identified people are 2.5 times more likely to attend churches that took a more conservative view on Christianity (including homosexuality) than the so-called “welcoming and affirming” congregations that celebrate it.

Well… yeah. I mean, first of all, “welcoming and affirming” churches aren’t designed so much to welcome and affirm as they are for liberals to virtue signal about how welcoming and affirming they are. But the thing is, a lot of churches have abandoned any other message other than “We welcome and affirm you no matter what you are (Also, we have daycare)” and that lesson wears thin rather quickly.

There’s nothing wrong with the message “It’s nice to be nice to people,” it’s just that if that is the only message a church has, then the church isn’t really necessary. You can get that message from almost anywhere. (Anywhere except HBO, where literally every program is about people being horrible to each other.)

Spiritually-oriented people aren’t content with a banal message of “It’s Nice to Be Nice” endlessly repeated until it becomes a tiresome weekly lecture. They want to be challenged to be better than they are. They want to have a purposeful life. And they want to have a better understanding of the Great Mysteries. It’s very counterintuitive to liberals, whose instincts are to smooth away all the rough edges, wrap everything in padding, and make everything *easier* (because they want, at all costs, to avoid badfeelz); but religious seekers want to be challenged. It’s kind of the whole point.

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  1. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    A church is either empowered by the Holy Spirit and alive or empowered by the culture and is no longer the church.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spirte of Truth and a gentleman. Start preaching lies and He will vacate. You now have a club.

    • #1
  2. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spirte of Truth and a gentleman. Start preaching lies and He will vacate. You now have a club.

    You mean a daycare center in a building with a steeple. 

     

    • #2
  3. Amy Schley Moderator
    Amy Schley
    @AmySchley

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    A church is either empowered by the Holy Spirit and alive or empowered by the culture and is no longer the church.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spirte of Truth and a gentleman. Start preaching lies and He will vacate. You now have a club.

     And it turns out most people aren’t interested in getting up on Sunday mornings for a social justice club. 

    • #3
  4. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    A church is either empowered by the Holy Spirit and alive or empowered by the culture and is no longer the church.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spirte of Truth and a gentleman. Start preaching lies and He will vacate. You now have a club.

    And it turns out most people aren’t interested in getting up on Sunday mornings for a social justice club.

    Then they’ll just have to preach the SJW message with increasing ardor.

    That’ll fix it.

    • #4
  5. EODmom Coolidge
    EODmom
    @EODmom

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    A church is either empowered by the Holy Spirit and alive or empowered by the culture and is no longer the church.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spite of Truth and a gentleman. Start preaching lies and He will vacate. You now have a club.

    Worship is not a Rotary meeting with hymns. In our experience congregations started losing parishioners when the “National Church” started being unclear about what the fundamental tenets of faith are. Or began hiding – not so cleverly, actually – the very secular agenda they were really promoting. When the people you purport to lead and guide don’t know what you stand for, they will not follow.  And they for sure won’t give money to you. The congregations which are empowered by and act with the security of the Holy Spirit are thriving, particularly with younger adults. Faithful people want to worship with other people who worship God – not secular celebrities and ideologies. They know that the service is not about them…….

    • #5
  6. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    IMHO the blight seems to begin at the top with the churches. The ordinary members feel that the church has left them long before they leave the church. Perhaps that is why the contents of Revelation chapters 2 and 3 were addressed to the Messenger (also translated Angel) of each church.

    • #6
  7. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    My late wife started out Methodist but converted to Orthodox Christianity as an adult. More than that she opted for the most demanding strain of Orthodoxy: an Old Calendar Russian Church Abroad congregation. Why? Because Methodism offered no spiritual challenge. (We had my father-in-law’s funeral at the Methodist to which he belonged last December. It struck me as a service from The Church of the Feel Good.)

    Why did she convert? Not because I was Orthodox. (I would never press someone to do that. They have to want to convert from belief.) Because she wanted to, because she viewed Orthodoxy as a challenge to meet.

    • #7
  8. Kevin Schulte Member
    Kevin Schulte
    @KevinSchulte

    If a believer is living a homosexual life style or struggling with it. He/she knows their battle is with sin. 

    Also if they are a believer, they will know lies when they hear it. The club will become corrosive to their spirit.

    • #8
  9. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Why did she convert? Not because I was Orthodox. (I would never press someone to do that. They have to want to convert from belief.) Because she wanted to, because she viewed Orthodoxy as a challenge to meet.

    I am very intrigued by the Christian Orthodox faith, but there is not an Orthodox Church closer than 30 Miles of my house. Which is also a church. 

     

    • #9
  10. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):
    I am very intrigued by the Christian Orthodox faith, but there is not an Orthodox Church closer than 30 Miles of my house. Which is also a church. 

    I hear you. When my wife converted we were in Palestine, TX and the nearest Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia church was in Dallas, 100 miles away. We went once a month.

    When we moved back to Houston the nearest ROCOR was about 35 miles away. It was only after ROCOR and the Russian Orthodox Church reunited and went back in communion with the Greek Orthodox Church we started going to a Greek Orthodox Church in Webster, TX 2.5 miles from my house.

    • #10
  11. 9thDistrictNeighbor Member
    9thDistrictNeighbor
    @9thDistrictNeighbor

    Victor Tango Kilo: …banal message of “It’s Nice to Be Nice”

    Which, of course, made me think of good ol’ Frank Burns.

     

     

    • #11
  12. Victor Tango Kilo Member
    Victor Tango Kilo
    @VtheK

    9thDistrictNeighbor (View Comment):

    Victor Tango Kilo: …banal message of “It’s Nice to Be Nice”

    Which, of course, made me think of good ol’ Frank Burns.

    I actually had in mind Neelix from Star Trek Voyager (the Jar-Jar Binks of Star Trek), but, yeah, Frank Burns works too. 

     

    • #12
  13. Vance Richards Member
    Vance Richards
    @VanceRichards

    If the Gospel isn’t life-changing then of what value is it? Withholding truth from people isn’t nice, it is kind of mean and has eternal consequences. 

    Sometimes I see liberal Republicans and they lose because Democrats can do Leftism better than they can. Liberal churches have the same problem, the world can offer what they are selling better than they can.

    • #13
  14. Misthiocracy secretly Member
    Misthiocracy secretly
    @Misthiocracy

    “Forget about being nice. It doesn’t work. Be gentlemen. Be kind. But forget nice. As learned Latinists, you no doubt know that the word comes from nescius, which means ignorant. It came, early in modern languages, to mean foolish.” – Robert Royal

    • #14
  15. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Misthiocracy secretly (View Comment):

    “Forget about being nice. It doesn’t work. Be gentlemen. Be kind. But forget nice. As learned Latinists, you no doubt know that the word comes from nescius, which means ignorant. It came, early in modern languages, to mean foolish.” – Robert Royal

    That’s nice.

    • #15
  16. Mark Camp Member
    Mark Camp
    @MarkCamp

     

    Victor Tango Kilo: back in the 70’s; around about the time the leftists began skinning the mainline protestant churches and wearing their hides, come to think of it. 

    They did start back in the 70’s, assuming that human history began the day you were born :-)

     

    • #16
  17. Eridemus Coolidge
    Eridemus
    @Eridemus

    Sorry, digression here. The 80’s or so was also the beginning of promoting “praise and worship” music. Some of the modern artists on radio have very good material, but in churches it was aimed roughly at the baby boomers, to get them back from having wandered off (assuming they had postwar exposure as children). Well, time has moved on and it isn’t actually capturing subsequent generations, who want more folksy coffee-shop bands and surroundings. I’ve even read in comments on blogs where a new convert or two (age undisclosed) had started in a traditional church, then relocated, and were put off by the modern styles because they had originally fallen in love with old hymns. Music does change by incorporating creative compositions provided by inspiration but it still has to rise to some standard of quality and have broad enough appeal to not become an issue of contention between age groups. And there’s nothing wrong with including more instruments, but a bad attempt at a band may drive people off more than by exposing them to the totality of the heritage available for accomplished talent on traditional instruments.

    • #17
  18. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator
    @TheReticulator

    Amy Schley (View Comment):

    Kevin Schulte (View Comment):

    A church is either empowered by the Holy Spirit and alive or empowered by the culture and is no longer the church.

    The Holy Spirit is also the Spirte of Truth and a gentleman. Start preaching lies and He will vacate. You now have a club.

    And it turns out most people aren’t interested in getting up on Sunday mornings for a social justice club.

    Or to respond to the inspired Word of the New York Times. 

    • #18
  19. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    Eridemus (View Comment):

    Sorry, digression here. The 80’s or so was also the beginning of promoting “praise and worship” music. Some of the modern artists on radio have very good material, but in churches it was aimed roughly at the baby boomers, to get them back from having wandered off (assuming they had postwar exposure as children). Well, time has moved on and it isn’t actually capturing subsequent generations, who want more folksy coffee-shop bands and surroundings. I’ve even read in comments on blogs where a new convert or two (age undisclosed) had started in a traditional church, then relocated, and were put off by the modern styles because they had originally fallen in love with old hymns. Music does change by incorporating creative compositions provided by inspiration but it still has to rise to some standard of quality and have broad enough appeal to not become an issue of contention between age groups. And there’s nothing wrong with including more instruments, but a bad attempt at a band may drive people off more than by exposing them to the totality of the heritage available for accomplished talent on traditional instruments.

    I hated the old hymns that I grew up singing as a child. Today, as an adult, I’ve made a total about face. Comparing a Biblical worship song written in the 19th to early 20th century to ones written today are like comparing a Calvin Coolidge speech to one by Barack Obama. I’m so tired of singing about my own feelings!

    Now, if I could just have a similar about face regarding eating my veggies.

    • #19
  20. RyanFalcone Member
    RyanFalcone
    @RyanFalcone

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

     

    Victor Tango Kilo: back in the 70’s; around about the time the leftists began skinning the mainline protestant churches and wearing their hides, come to think of it.

    They did start back in the 70’s, assuming that human history began the day you were born :-)

     

    The mainlines were actually infiltrated in the last decade of the 1800’s. From what I’ve been able to research so far, the innerency of scripture was the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent. Most northeastern seminaries were corrupt by 1910. Today, seminaries have student bodies where at least 20% do not even believe in God but see ministry as a noble profession for helping others. We are now learning that Catholic seminaries may have been a safe landing place for homosexuals since the early 60’s. We now know the long term effects of that.

    • #20
  21. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):
    I hated the old hymns that I grew up singing as a child. Today, as an adult, I’ve made a total about face. Comparing a Biblical worship song written in the 19th to early 20th century to ones written today are like comparing a Calvin Coolidge speech to one by Barack Obama. I’m so tired of singing about my own feelings!

    I mostly agree with this sentiment, but we shouldn’t too greatly romanticize the older hymns – some of them are theologically questionable in their own way, or a bit hung up on feelings too.  Don’t get me wrong, they can be beautiful songs and full of praise for the almighty, but, well:

    1. When I survey the wond’rous Cross
    On which the Prince of Glory dy’d,
    My richest Gain I count but Loss,
    And pour Contempt on all my Pride.

    2. Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
    Save in the Death of Christ my God:
    All the vain Things that charm me most,
    I sacrifice them to his Blood.

    3. See from his Head, his Hands, his Feet,
    Sorrow and Love flow mingled down!
    Did e’er such Love and Sorrow meet?
    Or Thorns compose so rich a Crown?

    4. His dying Crimson, like a Robe,
    Spreads o’er his Body on the Tree;
    Then am I dead to all the Globe,
    And all the Globe is dead to me.

    5. Were the whole Realm of Nature mine,
    That were a Present far too small;
    Love so amazing, so divine,
    Demands my Soul, my Life, my All.

    Lots of “Me” and “I” references in there too (though with a different sort of usage).

    I would say that the bigger problems with modern praise music stem not so much from the lyrics (some are good, some are ghastly), but from their design and their use, which too often is more like a performance.

    • #21
  22. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    RyanFalcone (View Comment):
    From what I’ve been able to research so far, the innerency of scripture was the proverbial camel’s nose under the tent.

    Could you expand on that?  

    • #22
  23. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    Victor Tango Kilo (View Comment):

    Seawriter (View Comment):

    Why did she convert? Not because I was Orthodox. (I would never press someone to do that. They have to want to convert from belief.) Because she wanted to, because she viewed Orthodoxy as a challenge to meet.

    I am very intrigued by the Christian Orthodox faith, but there is not an Orthodox Church closer than 30 Miles of my house. Which is also a church.

     

    Quite a number of Orthodox inquirers are in the same predicament.  But thanks to the Internet there are a number of great ways to learn and experience (within certain limits of course), even when getting to a church is tough.  Of course, as with all things internet you have to be careful – you’ll find everything from hardline zealots to dangerous heretics – but there are some good places to start.  http://www.ancientfaith.com is a great starting point for blogs on a variety of topics, as well as regular podcasts.  They also have a publishing arm.

    Several churches also make live-streams of their liturgies available on youtube, so you can get a flavor for how such services go.

    • #23
  24. Henry Castaigne Member
    Henry Castaigne
    @HenryCastaigne

    • #24

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