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The Sky is Falling

sky-falling.jpgI’ve been working my way through Alan Roxburgh’s The Sky is Falling. Here are some salient quotes from the first half of the book.

“America’s religious history has been deeply shaped by the nation’s history and social formation. Beginning with the massive suburbanization of the nation in the mid twentieth century, a deep conviction has developed (particularly among white, Protestant congregations) that individualism and economic opportunity are the highest expressions of Christian life.”
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Speaking of change:

“The need for control and predictability still assert themselves in powerful ways. Oddly enough, congregations and organizations that promise people a return to stability will thrive in this period, even though they can’t truly provide it. Since everyone is looking for stability, when these churches say they can provide it, people flock to them like moths to a flame. Then, to make it worse, the promise seems validated because certain types of congregations do thrive (and they are generally homogeneous, middle-class, and suburban). Other leaders then see them as signs of hope and choose to copy their tactics, though doing so only pushes them even farther from embracing the transition around them and honestly addressing its demands.”
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“At a recent conference focused on church growth and seeker-directed leadership, a Mennonite pastor walked into an elevator I was using. Bemused by the discrepancy between the theological and ecclesial imagination of Mennonites and the nature of the conference. I asked him, why a Mennonite was at such an event. His response was quick and direct: ‘Because it works!’ In the midst of massive discontinuity, disembedding, and transition, leaders desire to find something that ‘works’ rather than stopping long enough to understand what is actually happening…They seek external resources that promise ways of reinstating control without changing the substantive nature of the system. There is little thought put into the question of fundamentally reinventing the system itself.”

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