The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench


Where is everybody?

posted by deacon greg kandra

Wonder why more people don’t go to church?

A new survey, reported in the National Catholic Reporter, from the Religion News Service, finds some answers:

Almost three-quarters of Americans who haven’t darkened the door of a church in the last six months think it is “full of hypocrites,” and even more of them consider Christianity to be more about organized religion than about loving God and people, according to a new survey.

Almost half of those surveyed — 44 percent — agreed that “Christians get on my nerves.”

But the survey of “unchurched” Americans by LifeWay Research also found that some 78 percent said they would be willing to listen to someone who wanted to tell them about his or her Christian beliefs.

Researchers, affiliated with the Southern Baptists’ LifeWay Christian Resources, defined “unchurched” as Christians who haven’t attended church in six months as well as non-Christians such as Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists.

The findings echoed a previous study by The Barna Group that found the vast majority of young non-Christians view Christianity as anti-gay, judgmental and hypocritical.

Scott McConnell, associate director of LifeWay Research, said the finding that 79 percent of respondents thought Christianity was more about organized religion than about loving God and people should challenge individual Christians.

“That really needs to cause the church to check themselves a little bit and to say, ‘OK, how can we get back to the main thing?’ ” he said.



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SWP

posted January 31, 2008 at 3:59 pm


This sounds like a Protestant response to a Protestant problem. We’re supposed to be organized. That’s why God gave us the hierarchy.How many Eastern Orthodox ask this question I wonder? Whence comes this notion that Church should meet my needs except in (American) Protestantism? You go because Jesus loves you, and it’s the only place you’ll meet Him. If you think you’ll find Jesus elsewhere, you’re not ready for His friendship, because His friendship will demand sacrifice and a bending at the knee.I grew up having my feelings accommodated in this way, and I’ve watched my peers drift away. It only comes by inviting people to the Cross. Without that, you won’t ever get past your own smallness. Let’s grow up and stop whining like the adolescents we think we’re not .



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SWP

posted January 31, 2008 at 4:14 pm


Young non-Christians are the most hypocritical people in the world- what do they know about anything?Case in point: 78% would be willing to listen to someone tell them about his or her beliefs…but then they don’t like the message they hear and deride it as “anti-gay, judgmental, and hypocritical.”Welcome to the Gospel folks! Pope Benedict isn’t writing because he likes to hear himself speak. Neither was Jesus. If you find the message too hard, then enjoy your life of servitude to your own petty self! Hypocrites indeed!If they want to hear about loving God, here it is: don’t love yourself, esp if you are struggling with same-sex attraction. Don’t think too highly of yourself, because that’s pride- which is not love of God. And serve your neighbor instead of telling Christians (the ones who invented social services!) that they don’t do it often enough.Refusing to go to Church because its members are ‘hypocritical’ is the very height of hypocrisy. It stank when Luther said it, it stank when Henry said it, and it stinks right now!!!



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Michael

posted January 31, 2008 at 4:27 pm


SWP demonstrates exactly why so many decent people have no use for the Church.



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Anonymous

posted January 31, 2008 at 5:32 pm


Michael demonstrates that liberals don’t know what decency is or what the “use” of a church is.



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Anonymous

posted January 31, 2008 at 7:40 pm


The Bible gives us the example of Paul, the Great Evangelizer, who was all things to all people, and thus Christianity spread from Spain to China in less than a century.Today, other Christians give us the example of being one thing for nobody, and the churches remain emptier than they need to be.



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Michael

posted January 31, 2008 at 8:51 pm


Anonymous demonstrates that being an ass and caring nothing for other people is the standard attitude for many so-called Christians. Gandhi was right.



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Anonymous

posted January 31, 2008 at 10:06 pm


Gandhi based his principals off of the Gospel, which means without Christianity he never would have done anything. This proves what we need are not cruel words, but peace and open hearts. Michael, your use of Ad homium proves only that your arguments are silly, and your philosophies childish. Peace and blessings to you.



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SWP

posted February 1, 2008 at 12:28 am


I thought I was demonstrating the usefulness of Church.For without the encounter with Jesus every Sunday, when we make ourselves His servants, we remain slaves to ourselves. And that’s the worst place to be. I know it- I’ve been there. But facing Jesus was hard and He still has more to ask of me. If I didn’t have the Church and her firm grip on my best self, I would never know how to die to sin, to die to self. If you want jellybeans and gumdrops, then you don’t want Jesus. His invitation leads to Calvary before it leads to the wedding banquet. Perhaps, Michael, you need someone to demonstrate the life of discipleship that precedes the way of the Cross. And I sincerely hope that you will find such a person. Gandhi was pretty exemplary. So many holy men and women could show you the way of discipleship who were also baptised Christians. But you could always start with praying before the Blessed Sacrament. Let Jesus be your teacher, guide, and friend.Have you ever heard of St. Francis or San Juan Capistrano? They referred to themselves as Ass, and they were humbler, holier men for it. Anonymous seems to have struck a nerve; pay attention to that, because it means this topic is important to you. And that’s a good place to be.



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SWP

posted February 1, 2008 at 12:36 am

Daniel

posted February 1, 2008 at 7:01 pm


I wonder if any of you have ever heard of a guy named Jesus. A lot of “decent people” thought that his teachings were “hard to accept.”"And he said: Therefore did I say to you that no man can come to me, unless it be given him by my Father. After this, many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him. Then Jesus said to the twelve: Will you also go away? And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.Gospel of St. John 6:66-69Stop sniping at each other, and stop looking to mortal men for answers! If you want to know how to behave, look to your Master and the Rock on whom His Church was built.



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Cavaliere

posted February 2, 2008 at 11:32 am


The Bible gives us the example of Paul, the Great Evangelizer, who was all things to all people, and thus Christianity spread from Spain to China in less than a century.I don’t think so. Paul preached the Gospel of Christ Crucified. He warned the people against following a perverted Gospel. He chastised them for so quickly ignoring the faith they had been given. 6 I wonder that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ, unto another gospel. 7 Which is not another: only there are some that trouble you and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema. 9 As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be anathema. 10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.



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Michael

posted February 2, 2008 at 11:34 am


It’s “ad hominem,” and I didn’t use it. Calling you an ass was not intended to ignore your “argument”; it was intended to point out that being an ass was your entire argument, and that viciousness in the name of Christ is not love. Gandhi said something to the effect of “I like your Christ, but your Christians are not like your Christ.” He was right, and “Christians” are some of the worst enemies Christ has. Witness you people.



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Daniel

posted February 2, 2008 at 11:54 am


For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be thou vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill thy ministry. Be sober.2 Timothy: 4:3-5



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Cavaliere

posted February 2, 2008 at 12:43 pm


He was right, and “Christians” are some of the worst enemies Christ has. Witness you people.Undoubtedly true and they will be more harshly judged when the meet Jesus face to face. Their punishment will be greater for those whom they may have led astray. Nevertheless we cannot ignore nor despise the Church because of the actions of some of it’s members. The Church is the Mystical Body of Christ so hating the Church is hating Christ. If you were adrift in the ocean and a ship came by would you deny rescue simply because there might be some hypocrites, thieves and other sinners on board?St. Ignatius Martyr wrote in his letter to the Ephesians, “Make no mistake: unless one come to the altar he is deprived of the Bread of God. Now if the prayer of one or the other of you has such great power, how much greater is the power of that prayer which is of the bishop and of the whole Church? Therefore, he who does not come to the assembly of the faithful, is puffed up with pride, and has already excommunicated and judged himself.”



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