Last week I copied the new Pew Forum survey about religion and public life to this blog. (See below.) The ‘landmark’ survey catches a lot of attention because it confirms the ‘diversity’ and ‘fluidity’ of current religious affiliation in the U.S. The survey catches my attention because, I too am one of the ‘fluid’ ones. When the small fellowship that we had been a part of dissolved last year, it marked the last in a long line of church disassociations for us.

 

When I read the blogsphere, I am amazed how often writers will see this fluidity as a good thing. The argument seems plausible: If Christians are not having a fulfilling and meaningful church relationship, let them move on to some other Christian venue. The reasoning sounds a lot like that which a young married couple might use: “If we’re not happy, should we be forced to spend the rest of our lives together?” My own experience notwithstanding, this sort of argument, at the least, leaves me wondering.

 

The other thing that catches my attention is the word “community.” Maybe it is because I’m watching for it, but it seems to pop up at the drop of a catchphrase. I told Marlene the other day that “they had better not talk ‘community’ to me: After you have lived Old Order Amish you can definitely say ‘been there, done that.’”

 

I am not arguing for a return to my Amish roots but a little bit of community, a little bit of permanence, a little bit of home, would go a long way. Aren’t our associations with brothers and sisters in the faith, one of the things that God has ‘joined together,’ things that should not be severed? I am not arguing for a formal religion of works, ruled by demigods and hemmed in by fears, but couldn’t we somehow say ‘I do’ and mean it for the rest of our lives?

 

Will I go through the rest of my church experience having ‘no abiding’ place? It seems that with each successive church disassociation the wound gets deeper. Is this spiritual nomad lifestyle somehow in God’s intent? If I had my druthers, I sure would like to, for once-and-for-all, come home.

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