The Bishop of Arizona's Blog Entry for the House of Bishops Meeting March 22

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, TEC Bishops

10 comments on “The Bishop of Arizona's Blog Entry for the House of Bishops Meeting March 22

  1. robroy says:

    After lunch Diana Butler Bass lead us through the numbers. It was somewhat comforting to learn that ALL Christian denominations have lost members, meaning that we are part of a changing culture and that no one in the church can be blamed for not doing something. [/blockquote]
    I am sure that Ms Bass is well aware that the Assemblies of God Church has been consistently growing. It now has more people in church on Wednesday night services than the TEClub has on Sunday. The Roman Catholic Church is growing despite the clergy abuse scandals. The Mormons are growing (being quasi-Christian).

    Ms Bass’ message: liberal denominations can grow. Oh really? Where is the evidence? She then responds with some individual parish in California or New York. Sorry, but if you have a 100 parishes, then statistical noise will allow some in the tail of the bell curve to be in the growing category despite the peak and body of the bell curve to be well in the declining category. This is a sad excuse for scholarship – lying with statistics. But the TEClub will keep paying Ms Bass and Brian McClaren to tell them, “Everything is OK, you don’t need to change course. You just need to be more hip.” Yet another in the category of it would be funny if it wasn’t so sad.

    And how about the term “somewhat comforting”? There is declining and then there is declining. Ms Bass happily points out that “even the Southern Baptists are declining”! It is interesting that the SBC fell by a rate of 0.25%, and they are in crisis mode. In contrast, the TEClub is falling at a rate of ten times that and they are “somewhat comforted”!

    We have this from [url= ]another reader regarding the diocese of Arizona[/url]:
    [blockquote] The share of the population fell by 34% from 2000 to 2008 (from .21737% to .14342%). In 1992 the share was .27797%. In percent change in percent of population, they fell over 48%, which was the third worst of the domestic diocese. San Joaquin was the worst, but that reflects the departure of most of the diocese. Nevada was the second worst. (The data source is Episcopal statistics and Census bureau.) [/blockquote]
    Somewhat comforted…somewhat comforted?

  2. iambutone says:

    Robroy, the same phrase jumped out at me as well. ”We are part of a changing culture.” Unfortunately, TEC has changed into the culture of secular society.

  3. graydon says:

    Remember Kevin Bacon’s character near the end of the movie, “Animal House”? “All is well; All is well!” Yea. Right! The presentation may well be characterized as palliative at best.

  4. mannainthewilderness says:

    robroy, I don’t think McClaren should be lumped into the “be more Hip/be more connected to the culture” group. Brian has wondered aloud whether the Episcopal Church missed its moment in history to become relevant again as it struggled with the current fights. Indeed, the fact that a number of emergent churches use Anglican-style worship ought to cause these gathered bishops to wonder why do they want our worship but not our church . . .


  5. David Keller says:

    The key words are “Christian Denominations”. Denominations are shrinking but non-denominational churches are growing. Not to mention that outside the industrial west all Christian churches are growing, becaue they preach hope through the gospel. Go figure.

  6. WestJ says:

    “No, I don’t believe we hit that iceberg, and that sound of rushing water is typical for all large ships. Full speed ahead!”

    K. Schori, Captain of the SS TEC

  7. Michael+ says:

    How can a bishop take comfort that the church is shriking? Comfort? Anguish, yes; anxiety, ok; urgency, definitely. Comfort? Upon hearing that the church is shriking, the bishops should have hit the streets and gone door to door in Navasota and shared the Good News of Jesus. And yet, +Arizona took comfort.

  8. graydon says:

    Is it possible that they actually see the decline of TEC as their reward for being faithful to their calling? That is, did they knowingly take actions out of principle, fully aware it would scuttle the vessel (#6)? Perhaps they seek the martyr’s crown and assume history will vindicate them eventually. In any case, the Church Pension Fund should be adequately funded to indemnify their innovations, so it will be all right.

  9. phil swain says:

    “Spiritual, but not religious” is like “sex without marriage.” Rather then the Christian churches trying to “tap into that energy”, I think the churches need to clearly teach and proclaim that to have the former without the latter is to diminish one’s humanity.

  10. C. Wingate says:

    Actually, the big revelation to me was how short VGR is. Seriously, the whole “changing culture” thing is just rationalization for a lot of theological vacuity and spinelessness. But it’s hardly new; it was the theme song for bad 20th century theology, and I should hardly think they’ll stop singing it any time soon.