Mid Council Relations | February 27, 2017
The Sunday adult church school class I attend recently finished reading, The End of White Christian America, by Robert P. Jones, CEO of the Public Religion Research Institute (Simon & Schuster, 2016). Jones lays out the impending demise of both white mainline and evangelical Protestantism through a well-researched and presented history, reinforced with all facts and figures (love charts and graphs!), and names what all of us have been dealing with, firsthand, in the church. And while nostalgia may urge us to bemoan, “Please, say it isn’t so,” Jones is clear that there is no going back.
In his final chapter, “A Eulogy for White Christian America,” Jones does present an alternative to despair, “The passing of White Christian America may also offer some unprecedented possibilities and opportunities” (p. 234):
“… has the potential to reconfigure and revitalize national politics (p. 234)
“… this existential challenge could be a blessing in disguise (p. 235)
“… provide some opportunities for white Christians to cross the color line in their religious communities (p. 236)
“The work of racial justice and reconciliation may also get a lift …” (p. 236)
He ends with a brief benediction, “The death of White Christian America marks the end of an era in the nation’s life. For many, it is cause for considerable grief; for others, relief or even celebration. But this much is clear: in the soil fertilized by White Christian America’s remains, new life is taking root” (p. 239).
The End of White Christian America is not a book about spirituality, theology, or missiology, but presents the current reality upon which profound spiritual, theological, and missional questions can be asked by the church, where new possibilities can be considered, where being church together will take on new life and energy, emboldened by God’s Spirit. As you live in this reality, how are your councils dealing with grief? What questions are your councils asking? What new ways of being church are being launched by your councils?
—Joyce Lieberman, Director, Constitutional Interpretation
The Task Force to Review the Bible Content Examination (BCE) reviewed all the questions on the four exams administered between September 2015 and February 2017 as well as four other exams administered between September 2011 and February 2013 as a basis for comparison, along with statistical information about all eight exams as wholes, their individual questions, and even individual responses for those questions missed by at least half of the test takers. Based on their review of the exams and background information about the history of the test, they issued a public statement and recommendations, which can be found here: http://www.pcusa.org/news/2017/2/18/task-force-reviewing-bible-content-exams-issues-st/
Save the date! Face to Face will be held July 6-8, 2017, at Big Tent, Washington University in St. Louis. Registration opens on April 17. Visit pcusa.org/clc or call 888-728-7228 x8550