Is Christianity Dead?

Well folks, another Christmas is in the books!

Christmas 2K16 is officially behind us. The eggnog has been consumed. Gifts gifted. Food coma endured. And for those brave souls who took on a real tree this year, its pine needles are officially all over the floor and will be mysteriously appearing in random crevices for the next 4 months.

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Ever since I was of “appropriate age,” my family has always gone to Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. It is one of my favorite memories and traditions. The caroling at 11pm. The candles. The trumpets. For the past, say, 15+ years, we have been going, and every year, we’d always get there right at 11:00, throwing elbows, and staking out our pew, as it is always standing room only. And don’t even bother coming at 11:15…because there will be no parking and you’re guaranteed to be standing – two deep – in the back.

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But over the past couple years, I’ve noticed that each Christmas, we don’t have to arrive quite as early. And the full-court-press/box-out/battle-to-the-death to get and save a pew has ever so gradually deescalated.

Until this year.

When the church was half empty.

Half empty.

For Midnight Mass. Christmas Eve.

There wasn’t a snow storm. The zombie apocalypse hasn’t happened….unless of course, I am terribly mistaken about that one..


But where the heck was everyone?

And I couldn’t help but ask myself, as I looked around and saw several dozen teenage boys counting the ceiling tiles, looking as though they wanted to die…is our faith on life support?

Are we experiencing the decline of faith and church as we know it?

Is Christianity dead?

And that friends, is not the type of thought pattern you want to be mulling over while in church, literally celebrating the birth of Christ.

As with everything in life, looking in the mirror is a hard thing to do. Facing the truth, acknowledging and accepting it…is an exercise in extreme humility, to say the least.

But let’s call it how it is…we are experiencing a decline in Christianity. Look it up. Pew studies. People identifying as Christian. Church attendance. Prayer. Christians actively living their faith are going down. Especially in Gen X’ers and Millennials.

And that. Is scary.

Leafing through the church bulletin after mass, I was almost in a fog. Nevermind the fact that it was nearing 2am and I had just come off a 7am flight from NYC the day before…but my mind was just swirling after witnessing the stagnant, lifeless state of my once vibrant and spiritually ablaze childhood parish. So I was numbly flipping through the pages.

And there was something that caught my eye.

There was, of course, a big “welcome” section in the front. Offering Christmas greetings to parishioners, out-of-towners, guests, non-Christians joining us, etc. All nice. Great.

And then there was the line, “We are your church family and are here for you!”

And I hate to admit this, but I’ve got to be honest….that really rubbed me the wrong way. It felt painfully disingenuous.

There’s a stereotype about “church people.” And I for one, hate even giving the time of day to negative stereotypes about people. Because they’re always hurtful and typically untrue.

But desperate times…

There is a decline in our faith, and it’s time to not mince words and take a cold, hard look in the mirror. Because like it or not, we are the face of the church.

But the stereotype is that “church people” are incredibly “judgey” people. That they prance around all hoity-toity and look down on “non-church people” and scoff at their “heathen ways.”


And we, as the face of the church, what are we going to do about that?

How are we going to fix that?

Because I can attest to the fact that that stereotype is, for the most part, false. 

But the commonly accepted (albeit misconceived) notion is that church is a boring, out-of-touch institution that is full of either judgy snobs, dowdy/orthopedic-shoe-wearing shut-ins, or “Jesus-freaks.”

And people don’t want anything to do with that.

So they just don’t come.

And I want to pause here for a second. I know this is only one factor. There are a lot of other issues – people having different priorities, having other interests, adopting “spirituality” while leaving behind “religion.” Not to mention the church’s often unpopular stances on hot button social issues, such as abortion and the sanctity of marriage, etc. This stereotype is only one contributing factor.

But you and I…we have a personal responsibility.

We have a job to do: and that is to change that stereotype. Turn people’s minds around. Change their hearts to be open to Christ and open to faith.

Is Christianity dead?

Only if we let it.

You can’t give away what you don’t personally have.

And if I want to share Christ’s love and have it be attractive and inviting to another person, I need to have it in my heart myself. I need to have His love be overflowing in my own life, so as to attract another person to Him. And attract them back to church.


The pathetic church attendance on Christmas Eve…I partially blame myself. Because I ask myself…how am I personally fighting to set the record straight on how a “church person” looks and acts.

Because I’m going to be honest…(and I hate to admit it)…but I don’t really wear my faith outspokenly on my sleeve, for fear of being labeled a “church person.” 


And I am filled with such shame typing that out, but it’s true. I don’t want to be labeled as “weird” or “out of touch” … so I keep my faith private. Let that be a personal part of my life that is between me and God.

But I realize now, that I am part of the problem.

My faith can’t be hidden. I can’t just be a silent by-stander as my church is red lining, in desperate need of rebranding and resuscitation.


Christianity is not dead. It is alive in our hearts. In our homes. In our prayers. But that is not enough.

I’m going to go out on a limb. For God. Invite someone to church with me.

Because at the end of the day, if Jesus can stretch out His arms and die on a limb for me, I can go out on one, for Him.

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638 thoughts on “Is Christianity Dead?

  1. This is so spot on! (Especially your gifs haha)
    I think this generation is looking for something real and honest. And most of us Christians haven’t had “real” transforming relationships with God in a long time. Bringing people to church helps bring people to Jesus but bringing Jesus to people is what really starts to the fire! I agree. We have to let Jesus light shine thru us!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. You are correct about declining church atttendence, which is happening for a variety of reasons. It took a long time for me to be open about my faith at work. Guess what? No lightning bolt, the roof didn’t cave in and I have an atheist friend who appreciates my prayers for him and his family. An old camp song had a line….they will know we are Christians by our love. We are very much judged by our actions. Now, everyone at work knows they have an invitation to join me in church or pray for them. I also try to reach more people on my blog! Keep those invitations going! We have no idea what God may have planned for that person’s life ! So proud of you!

    1. Hi Rick, thanks for this reflection. That’s awesome that you opened up about your faith at work! Rock on! By our love – isn’t that the truth. Thanks for the encouragement! Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  3. I think Christianity will always be alive in the hearts and minds of those who worship and follow after what they believe is Christ like. However, I have gotten out of the ideology that “we need to be saving souls and converting non believers to Christianity.” Life is bigger than a religion, we are all here on a spiritual mission and people walk their own paths, living our there lives as per designated by the creator. My plan, is to help people, allowing the light within me to show, and give credit to my beliefs and my god for the glow. Everything else will flow whether the word Christianity remains forever or not.

    1. Thanks for this reflection, my friend. That’s so great-gotta let that light within shine:) you really bring up a lot of powerful points. Thanks for the great food for thought! Big hugs to you 🙂 xox

  4. Makes me wonder about my old church’s Christmas Eve services. There used to be 3, and then just 2, but they were still crowded.

    On a positive note my current church had about 30-35 people, though a dozen or so we’re the pastor and his family (including those from out of town), on Christmas Day!

    I hope yours was merry and bright (and may all your Christmases be white 😉)!

  5. Amen! May we all wear our faith on our sleeves for the whole world to see.

    I often think of all those alleged hypocrites, the judgy ones, and the sensible shoes, and think yes! And we always have room for one more. Come join us.

  6. Very, very incisive article, indeed! Personally, I can say that I have many FB friends and blog readers-followers, who are not Christian, BUT interestingly enough they are not against Jesus. Point in fact, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, seems very attractive to some of them … but not the church. So you’ve really hit on an important topic and provided some really great insight. The ultimate question for me is: How can I allow Christ Jesus to shine in and through me more and more in a dark and desperate world? (Not so much how can I make the Church more attractive, because the Church will never be attractive unless and until Christ-followers are attractive because they’re overflowing with the Spirit of Christ.) Thank you for this article!

    1. Thank you so much for this awesome insight! Very interesting. You’re right- Jesus is inviting and alive. We need to get back to that excitement in church. Amen amen amen! So glad you stopped by! Big hugs xox

  7. I think your observation is spot on, but I think the causes of decline are complex. Some are do the the behavior of some sects, and some due to aging. Here are four thoughts. (1) Historically, we know that attendance drops when the economy improves, and increases in down turns — and consumers are optimistic now. (Financial managers aren’t optimistic, just the uninformed public.) However, that pattern didn’t affect the holidays in the past. (2) Has the religious right and the politicization of religion alienated a lot of people? The people I know who identify with the religious right ARE judgmental and racist, and I don’t want to be around them. (3) My former church is as snobbish as all get out. I haven’t been there since my divorce and won’t go back. I did attend a service on Christmas at another place. (4) The hardcore church goers are aging baby boomers and midnight services no longer make physical sense for them. Most seniors don’t do midnight, even at home in front of a TV.

    1. Hey Vic, thank you for this powerful response. Lots of really great food for thought. These are really great points. This election has really made this time of year especially politically and emotionally charged and turned a lot of people off. And interesting thought about age. You’re right – the majority of attendees are not young people. Thanks for this. Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

      1. It was an okay Christmas I was stuck in the Europa storm. Church creates a culture but the organization and belief have been borrowed by other belief systems. We believe more in our sports teams than in our Jesus.

      2. Sadly, I think you’re right about the sports teams. a tragic reality. But you know what, He can be alive in our hearts and we can be the counter culture 🙂 hope the storm passed 🙂 big hugs xox

      3. That’s true, in our hearts. Story is a poweful medium, the story of the Catholic child abuse cover-ups was a negative light but also needed to be heard. That, actions of a few could create so much pain is awful. The awful emotion is, human. Humanity is all we have against a culture that is more apt to disrespect than understand. Reverend Martin Luther King would gather and train his protestors so much that they were not afraid when the hoses and clubs came. They fought a culture of oppression with their other freedoms and invoked change. Would it be great if we were all one religion? Kind of, the philosophy of our belief requires a sacrifice of self control in a world that seems very much free of control. It is in our surrender that we are the strongest together in religion, love, or culture.

      4. Yeah that’s such a dark spot in catholic history. It absolutely breaks my heart. But honestly every church has its problems. That would be awesome if we all could come together in faith. What a world that would be 🙂

      5. Faith then, that’s it. Dark moments reflect on the whole and in this era they are magnified and reflected everywhere. It is faith that pulls us together, after. I don’t feel like what I believe is better than others it’s in my heart. To not harm and love others. Like Jesus. I don’t testify it but try to build bridges between faiths and cultures.

      6. I know being a part of something is important for millennials. The same force that wanted families in the 50’s wants to be everything now. Understanding that transition is important and where the church as well as the philosophy of religion can fit. Every generation wants it better and plans for change but success occurs only from action and several failures. I think our generation only understands success as one off deal and worships only successful people like, Steve Jobs. If they only knew his many many failures and the losses every person of faith must endure. They are similar but with context that faith endures.

      7. You should, a little black dress gets you anywhere here but, locals are easy to spot. They are the ones that don’t look like they’re going to prom.

      8. I was thinking about this. Bridges. Right? My parents are strict Catholics. My ex wife’s family is Baptist, I didn’t pressure anyone so my kids were baptized Baptist while I was invited to a Cambodian Temple. I learned a lot of meditation and the Thai side of Buddhism. I travel, so church is wherever I am. I am thinking, the rigid atmosphere of Catholicism does less for itself at present. I have experienced a lot um, sometimes. I’m at a pew on a Sunday and it feels like he’s just going through the motions, himself. Every reflection should be the reflection of the whole so we increase the church’s numbers not dwindle off to our own worlds. It seems both are at stalemate with each, the church and it’s patrons. When rather they should be reflections of each other.

  8. Hi Carolyn…you may have seen this blog but in case you haven’t, this young man “nails it” addressing many of the reasons why millenials are leaving the church.
    http://www.recklesslyalive.com/12-reasons-millennials-are-over-church/
    So often the organized church doesn’t know how to do relationships…they end up prioritizing programs and miss it regarding encouraging authentic relationships. The church has become formulaic instead of people oriented. I believe that if people sense God’s love in the church and feel that they are truly cared for as individuals they will want to be in that kind of community and will make time for it. You are right though, the solution begins with those of us within the church. We are the church…we are the solution.

    1. Hey Tom, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. Can’t wait to check out that article! You’re right- the relational aspect is such such such an important aspect of church. And community. Amen to this. Such a powerful response. Hope you had a great Christmas. Hugs and love xox

      1. Caralyn…I did have a peacefilled Christmas…learning to simplify…Hope Ohio was a blessing! Blessings for this new year! You are a truly gifted lady!!

  9. Caralyn, this is such a beautiful and inspiring post. I’m sure God has a huge smile on His face right now because of what you have written! 🙂

    I do have a question for you that I have been meaning to ask you for a while….
    With all due respect, I’m curious to know what religion you are! I am a Catholic 🙂

    Merry Christmas!! xoxo

  10. Christianity will never die; it cannot. But it will morph in its expression; which it has forever.

    To me, James has advice for the church today –

    James 1:19-20 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

    People just want to tell their stories and have their stories be heard. THAT .. is attractive. And judgey = angry as people see it. We have expected people without faith to live as if they were people who had faith. Quash our anger and just love.

    This is not to brag, but just to say something I got to do in the past few months. A woman I work with has a wife. We’re friends and talk about our wives a bit, which still takes getting used to, to be honest. She told me her partner was expecting a child. My wife immediately went to work, crocheted an amAZing baby blanket so beautiful it brought tears. I brought to the shower they held at work. Because that’s what you do.

    Would they be welcome in our churches? Even if so, they probably wouldn’t FEEL welcome.

    I don’t think it was any different in ancient Corinth when Paul got there and where the church thrived. People were loved right out of their messes. Because that’s what you do.

    1. Thank you so much, my friend. I appreciate this powerful response. You’re right- I don’t think it will ever did either. But I do think it needs to work to stay relevant and inviting to all. That’s an insightful verse. So true. Being heard is what we all long for. What a beautiful story that you shared. Thanks for sharing that. I bet she felt so loved and that she mattered. Loved out of their messes-amen to that. Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  11. Yes, you are absolutely right. It is in my belief that Christianity will never die. There will always be a group of believers, no matter how few. We have to remember that Christ lost MANY followers when he began to teach the hard teaching. His 12 apostles, Mary Magdalene, and His most blessed Mother were the only consistent followers. He only had 3 of his followers at the Crucifixion while everyone else fled and hid out of fear and while Judas hung himself. ” It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers” (Yes, I quoted from “Harry Potter” lol). At my parish, we had a full house. Even had people standing because there weren’t enough seats. I credit that to the kind of Christians we have there. It’s the kind of Christian that makes you want to become Christian. It’s truly a house of family, redemption, and forgiveness. Sadly, many parishes and other churches scare off people who only need that Christian charity to turn to Christ. Instead of preaching AND practicing charity, they ONLY focus on damnation… fear of hell… judgement… I always like to say “would you rather have a convert walk into a church trembling out of fear of damnation or smiling with the hope of salvation?”

    1. Thank you so much for this powerful perspective. You’re right – there’s definitely a curve when it comes to Jesus followers. haha love the Harry Potter. But so true – we need to be a place of hope and welcome and joy and acceptance. That is what will truly make people want to come back. Thanks for the food for thought 🙂 hugs to you xox

      1. You are most welcome!!! Thank you for writing this great article!! How’d you know I was a hugger?!?! lol. Hugs right back atcha!!!! 🙂

  12. The Church is not dead, and never will be; what can die is the impact that the Church has on the World around it. It does not matter if the church you go to has hundreds, thousands, or just 20 people in it during a service. What matters is the impact of those church goers and what they do to serve the Kingdom of God in the world around them. Even if at some point you and/or me, are the only Christians left in the world, Christianity will still very much be alive if we embody it in ourselves, and in our actions in how we treat others and help others. God Bless!

    1. Thanks for this reflection, Chase. You’re right – it will never be dead. But i do think it needs to work on working to be inviting and welcoming. You’re right, the size of the church does not matter. Amen to that – it will be alive in our hearts. Thanks for the food for thought 🙂 hugs ox

  13. I thought a similar thing Sunday morning. I have a really hard time being in crowds, but I decided to suck it up and go to church. I mentally prepared the whole way there because I knew surely it would be packed for Christmas. There was less than half the regular attending members. It was so empty. It used to be a thing to point out the ECO Christians (Easter and Christmas Only) but now just no one goes.

    1. Thanks for this reflection, Lorri. I appreciate you sharing your experience. That’s so sad, that your church was half full as well. Yeah, sadly I think that’s the trend. But we can do something! Thanks for stopping by! hope you had a merry christmas! xox

  14. Before Pope Francis, our church had a judgy voice. At least that’s how it sounded in the pews. Let’s support his call for mercy with how we live our lives. More compassionate and Christ like.

  15. As a church person for years I appreciate and share your concern. Too many times I hear from others and sometimes from a little voice inside me “it’s their fault if they do not want to come to church. We are right and they are wrong.” But that sort of negates Jesus simple statement that we are to be witnesses of what we know he did. Live out what we believe, reflect his love in our lives and then get out of God’s way. The church is made up of all believers. But it would be great if we could sit next to them sometime. Another good one. Thank you. Always makes me know I need to get busy. John

    1. Thanks for this, John. You’re right – I always have to remember who Jesus spent His time with. Amen to that – we’ve got to live what we believe. And always make room in our pew for someone new to sit 🙂 thanks for stopping by! hope you had a great christmas! hugs xox

  16. Caralyn this contains wonderful insights. I have to second what noble themes has said here. And I do see the judgy kind of Christian and unfortunately I was one until a few years ago. I remember discussing this with a Bishop once, and he said our sense of holiness should not hinder us from relating to people. One observation I’d like to add- is how we as a culture are doing more on line and at home, including faith. Stats on malls and shopping centers show that huge numbers of people are avoiding them because of online business. So I suspect the same is true for the faith world. Great post so thank you.

    1. Thank you so much 🙂 I’m so glad this struck a chord with you. I love what that Bishop told you – what powerful wisdom. You’re right – that’s a powerful insight about the physicality of places now days. Everything — including many relaiontships! — are spent online. It all leans the same way. Hope you had a great christmas xox

  17. Thanks. I have independently come to the conclusion that Christians, Catholics particularly, have to stop apologizing for who we are and the values we hold. Most importantly we must reaffirm our aspiration for Eternal Life with God.
    The false promises of secular materialism can be thwarted only by His Love.

  18. As it becomes less “popular” to talk about and express faith… maybe it simultaneously becomes more important that we do. I think the main difference in today’s society is just that there are hundreds of more distractions in our everyday lives… if you don’t want to make time for God, you’ve got dozens, if not hundreds, of other options in terms of how you might spend your time. God hasn’t changed, though, and perhaps she’s the only thing that hasn’t and never will.

  19. Can’t speak as a Catholic (lol cause I’m a Protestant Presbyterian), but I would echo some of the themes you brought up. But I would guess that there are many reasons why church attendance has decreased across the board. Maybe part of the fact is that people who are “Millennials” or younger people in general do not feel a need to be a member of a group. Also from my personal experience I think the impact of moralistic therapeutic deism (MTD) had a great affect on people growing up in the church. MTD watered down is that good things = entrance into heaven. MTD has affected many people across many generations and has resulted in people not “wearing their faith on their sleeve.” But as I said I think it incorporates a lot of things, but the teaching of “doing good things gets you into heaven” has had a negative affect. Telling people to do good things is not inherently wrong, but it s making sure people know why we do those things that has been often left out.

    1. Thanks for this reflection, Casey. That’s an interesting millennial characteristic that I hadn’t considered but you’re so right. Being part of a group is almost seen as a negative! Such powerful food for thought. Thanks for sharing. Hugs and love xox

  20. When I was in college, we discussed how New Zealand was becoming dead to the faith and that the United States is next. My excuse for not being a Christian until I got older was my home church. It was so boring. It was not kid oriented. The music was very, very slow and difficult to sing to. Nearly every person in the church was old. Even Sunday School was not fun because as middle school kids, we were forced to sing little kid songs and do ridiculous actions. It was not until I got into college and attended a contemporary service that I began to grow in my faith. It upset my mom that I was not attending the right denomination church but I was having fun and eventually gave my life to Christ. Even now, when I go home, I am able to see the problems with my mom church. The service comes right out of the book. Every week it is the same thing. I am able to easily tune everything out because it will always be the same.
    I know that is not the whole reason that people are losing their faith but it almost became one of mine.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing this. I’m so glad you found a place where your faith could come alive. That’s so awesome. I’m all for reverence and having church be sacred. That is important. But there are little things that could be done be inclusive and more inviting and just invigorating! Haha glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  21. very interesting post, I have to say there is a fine balance because we can never really change people’s heart/mind god has to do that. On the other side, you are right about people not being outspoken about their faith and being judgemental and etc. I think the most important thing that we, as Christians can do, is OBEDIENCE to God no matter who is watching or not watching we have to answer to God.

    1. This is such a great reflection. Thank you so much. You’re right, obedience — which is a word that honestly a lot of people hate nowadays – is what matters. Because when we follow His ways, we are guaranteed to be on the right path. Glad you stopped by! hugs ox

  22. Out Church was full on Christmas Day which was lovely but on a usual Sunday there are only about 12 of us roughly. I tell people I go to church and quite often they are supposed because of the reasons you say and I don’t fit their stereotype thought of a church person. A friend and I have exciting ideas and are allowed to use them at the family service to attract more young people as at the moment only my family go! That’s four children! Quite frankly the services aren’t interesting for many and it needs to change. I’m excited about the new year and hopefully spreading interest in God and bringing people together to celebrate!

    1. Hi Sam, thanks for sharing this. THat’s so great that your church was full! woo! Sounds like your church is really doing a great job in reaching people. Gosh, I would love to come to your family service! Yes, celebrating is I think what has been forgotten over the years. Church is a celebration – of faith, of God, of the resurrection, of salvation — and we should be treating it as such! thanks for stopping by! hugs xox

  23. ….and they’ll know we are Christians by our LOVE! Thanks for posting this. Thankfully, my church was nearly full on Christmas Day. We shouldn’t be ashamed of the truth of the gospel, it’s the only way for people to be saved!

  24. It isn’t and never will be dead Dooga x. God is increasing his work behind the scenes in peoples lives but sadly so is satan being a Christian isn’t meant to be easy I know from experience recently. I think the enemy wants us to believe that it is but it never will x

    1. Thanks Benjamin 🙂 You’re right – it never will be. And amen to that, God is ALWAYS working. Really powerful food to thought. So true – it’s not easy. But it is worth it 🙂 hope you had a merry christmas! hugs xox

  25. I’ve read wonderful comments but would like to add an idea to the mix that I haven’t yet seen. Maybe the world doesn’t need to see relevance and branding as much as they need to see ability. Do I care to serve a god that can do little to change my world, but requires more of me than I have to give on my own? How would our lives and churches change if we were shown a God who has the power to change lives, including mine, because he has the power to raise the dead? I’ve been in church my whole life, and loved Jesus my whole life, but haven’t ever heard until 3 years ago, “When you meet Jesus, nothing will stay the same, because Jesus changes everything!” And I find it to be true! When the church realizes that walking with Jesus means that we have the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead living in us, and when we start acting and speaking like those who saw Jesus raised from the dead, and when we begin expecting that his Spirit in us and in our churches will change lives, because that is just what Jesus does – then those who are hungry will come. They need to meet a God who can change lives, and hearts, and circumstances – a God bigger than they and their world! That is the God the New Testament church proclaimed. That is the God of the Old Testament Hebrews. That is the God our world seeks.

    And yet, when that God came in the form of man, they crucified him while those who were hungry bowed before him. We must expect both, as the woman above stated well.

    I have found, by God’s grace, a church who expects Jesus to be Jesus through us. Marriages have been restored, addictions have been broken, lives have been dramatically changed, because Jesus does that. It is amazing, and people are coming to Christ, and our church is for now growing dramatically. From about 85-2300 in about 6 years. Jesus said, “If you lift me up, I will draw all men to myself”.

    That is the kind of God our world seeks.

    1. Thank you for this awesome perspective! What a thoughtful response. That’s terrific that your church is growing! wow! But you’re right about that – meeting Jesus changes people. Changes things. People need to feel that when they’re in church. Because *that’s* what makes church come alive – it is the Spirit in peoples hearts. Because that overflows into all areas and relationships — just like you said. thanks for stopping by! and merry christmas! hugs xox

  26. Our faith is not on life support. We are. We are turning away from the bread of life and starving as a result.

    Your post hits a nerve, Caralyn. Do you know all the posts out there that list “197 reasons why millennials are leaving the church?” Those have always aggravated me. Part of it is Paul’s clear words that Christians are not permitted to leave church, no matter what mistakes the church makes. If someone was hurt by the church, their faith was in people, not God. As for non-Christian millennials, they’ve got bigger problems than simply not being in a church building.

    But part of it is that these lists carry a smack of entitlement – “the church isn’t meeting MY needs!” – when the church isn’t there to meet our needs but to equip us to meet others’. God doesn’t command “scratch and claw to get your needs met”. He commands “take care of others and I’ll take care of you.” This attitude is tragically absent from our generation’s approach to the church. There’s less and less attitude of “I’m the problem, now I’ll be the solution” and more “where’s the Church Return Department?”.

    It’s an unpopular post you made here, but necessary. Way to nail it on the head. I’ll be doing a post about this myself in a couple of weeks…I just hope I’m as gracious as you were.

    1. Hi Brandon, thank you so much for this thoughtful response.You’re right, we need to turn back to Christ and cling to him. Pretty powerful food for thought. It’s true, take care of others and I’ll take care of you. That’s what we need to remember. looking forward to your post. hugs xox

    2. “But part of it is that these lists carry a smack of entitlement – “the church isn’t meeting MY needs!” – when the church isn’t there to meet our needs but to equip us to meet others.” That is so true.

  27. You do realize that Christianity extends beyond the Catholic church, right? My church is full every week, but we are more like the church from the book of Acts – praise n worship, healing, deliverance, speaking in tongues, and presence of God so thick it raises chill bumps! And yes, we love EVERYBODY who walks in the door!

    1. Hi Christi, thank you for this perspective. Yes, I definitely do realize that. That’s terrific that your church is full! woo!! 🙂 That’s why I included the sources where I found my information…becuase you’re right, Catholic churches are definitely on the decline in church attendance, but all christian churches have been experiencing a decline … some definitely more than others. But the number of people who describe their religion as “none” are significantly on the rise. So, it’s not just a Catholic problem, though perhaps it is more pronounced and evident there. Anywho, thanks so much for stopping by and for sharing your thoughts! Hope you had a merry christmas! 🙂 hugs xo

  28. My perspicacious friend, you needn’t brand yourself as a church person. Just as a jesus person. And there’s a fabulously easy way to do this: anytime someone compliments you on a habit or action that springs from your faith in Jesus, all you have to do is say, “I did this (or gave that) or am like this because of Jesus.” Then move on. If the listener wants to hear more, they will ask you, I guarantee it. Otherwise, you have given them something to think about without being obnoxious.

    Years ago, when I was much closer to your current age, I used to get lots of compliments on my politeness, which was cultivated in a very polite family. I always accepted the compliments as my just due, not realizing that honestly Jesus is my only reason for being kind to anyone. Now if someone says i am behaving well, I tell them it’s only because of Jesus. If they are still listening after that, I tell them that Jesus is my ONLY reason to be good to anyone. And if they are still listening after that, I may sometimes add that so long as we don’t live too close to each other, they can keep on thinking I am a nice, good, whatever, person.

    As always, you have given your readers another excellent, thought-provoking post. Keep up the good work!

    1. Thanks for this, Gwenn. What a powerful way to open up a conversation about Jesus. I’ve never heard of that “starter” before, but I’ll definitely have to use that in the future! Amen to that – He is the only reason for anything! thanks for stopping by! big hugs xox

  29. Fun-Fact: First-century Christians didn’t call themselves that – they were called that as a derogatory term.

    I hear where you’re coming from, I’ve seen the same things. But I have one or two objections that crop up in my mind. First of all being, the new covenant is between Jesus, Father, and Holy Spirit, we’re just included as beneficiaries. It isn’t our job to keep the covenant alive, it isn’t our job to keep Jesus alive. But it is our part to continue in the relationship with him, believe and receive. It’s Jesus’ work to transform lives, so while you’re feeling the pain of a dieing thing…it isn’t necessarily the life that is important.

    I’ll try and clarify; I absolutely believe in the Church, which you know. I don’t believe in ‘church institution’ or ‘christian culture’. I believe in people sharing Jesus’ blood, body and resurrection power and life.

    But what I think (and hope) we’re seeing right now is a shift from traditional ‘church’ to new covenant christ-life empowered church, ‘further up and further in,’ as CS Lewis wrote.

    But take comfort; Jesus won’t give up on his Bride, he is SO faithful, and there isn’t anything more true about Jesus than love. He is love, and he isn’t a democracy; there isn’t anybody in the world who can opt out of his love. The Bride is safe in the hands of Father (:

    And it’s just natural that people enamoured with Jesus spill it all over everyone around them at least a little bit. Sure there’s some intentionality about that but ultimately? It’s up to Jesus, and he isn’t afraid of nor surprised by our humanness [=

    1. Hi Carson, wow, this is so powerful and insightful. Thank you for sharing. You’re right, it IS up to Jesus. That’s His job. We are just beneficiaries, as you said. I guess it all comes down to trust, like you said — trust that He is in control and will find His way into our lives, one way or another. Thanks for stopping by! hope you had a beautiful Christmas. big hugs xox

      1. Right (: I take great comfort, again, in Jesus’ love, because now I know that the man who would die for the history of men, of COURSE he would go to the ends of the earth for anyone out of love for them, he’s crazy about us. That takes so much pressure off me to make myself and other people ‘right’ with God, or to bring people to him. I have to trust that his life through me is the greatest affect I can have, and that post-cross there is no gap to bridge anymore. He really did take care of it, and it really is finished (:
        I did have a lovely Christmas, thankyou!

      2. Yes, very well-placed comfort indeed. You’re right- I don’t think we’ll ever truly understand how a single word we say or a smile we give can make a world of difference to someone. We are all each others’ angels on earth because God uses everyone for His will. Amen to that – no more gap! 🙌

  30. Well, we are Christians too but our religion don’t celebrate Christmas (I mean the Christmas the rest of the world knows)
    Anyway, as what I’ve noticed to the rest of the people around me, it seems that they care less and less about religion and faith and God. Some even stop believing God!
    It’s unfortunate really…
    Teenagers in our place are devotees of the Black Nazarene because they flirt with fellow teenagers in the group
    They attend Christmas Mass because they have dates with their flings
    They changed religions because their friends/peers belong there too or their apple of the eye has a different religion
    It’s really sad to think that faith doesn’t matter to most people nowadays…

    1. THanks for sharing this powerful perspective. You’re right, it really is sad. We’ve got to cling to God, not matter what the rest of the world is doing. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

    1. Oh no! I’m sorry it disappeared! I don’t know what happened there. but thanks for adding this great perspective to the conversation 🙂 I’ll check the “spam” folder for your comment (even though it’s not spam) . Sometimes wordpress accidentally filters some messages if it doesnt recognize the email address … it’s really annoying. haha

      1. No, I was not using my regular tablet. I think your faith is doing well, and will be around for a long time. I wanted to add to myself point about parishes by just giving a couple examples. In my area of Middle Village, Queens there are two

      2. No, maybe the problem is WordPress itself tonight. There are two parishes near me that are doing well, and my sister’s parish in Kent, Ohio has made a profound difference in her life and that of her husband.

  31. Another thing to remember: Our Lord promised that He would be with the Church until the end of time and the powers of Hell would not prevail against it.

    The devil will always try to destroy Her, but in the end Christ will triumph.

  32. My concerns about religious life are probably different from yours. Not just because I’m a Jew and you’re a Catholic. It’s more because I’m not worried about religion dying. There will, I think, be Catholics and Jews and Hindus and Muslims for a long, long time to come. But I worry that our representatives are all from far to the religious right.

    Progressive Jews and Christians are drowned out by the religious right. I belong to a shul that supports interfaith endeavors, a pluralist outlook and gay marriage. I understand that’s not everyone’s thing, and that’s fine. People should follow their faith as they understand it, as long as they don’t trample on the civil rights of others in the process.

    But I hate that so many people think the only choice is between the hard, anti-gay, anti-pluralist, us-against-them style religious right and complete secularity. That’s a false choice. Many of us view God as capable of reaching out to humanity in multiple ways. (God may be One, but God is a rich, multi-faceted One.)

    So what I fear is the death of progressive religion in the face of an ever more rigid ultra right view of religion. And it’s not that there shouldn’t be both a right and a left wing to religion–we may well need both. But I’m terrified of a world with only the right-most understanding of God.

    1. Hi Jenn, thank you so much for this awesome perspective. I agree. I have that worry too. That its grip is too clenched around ultra ultra conservative, traditional things, when doing so is driving people away. It’s a very complex issue. One that a single blog post can’t even begin to hash out. Haha But
      I so appreciate your insight. Hope you’re having a happy Hanukkah! Hugs and love xox

  33. Well said. You reminded me of my personal ministry focus which I got from a book called Ministry of Healing: “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Saviour mingled with men as one who desired their good. He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs, and won their confidence. Then He bade them, “Follow Me.”” –MH 143.

    A really good look at what’s happening for young people is contained in the book “You Lost Me.” https://www.amazon.com/You-Lost-Me-Christians-Rethinking-ebook/dp/B005LOPNRU/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1482807154&sr=1-1&keywords=you+lost+me

    It’s available as an audiobook. I have some unused credits with Audible. I would be happy to gift it to you if you want to check it out. Like a late Christmas present.

    1. Hey Brad, thanks so much for this reflection. Amen to that – Christ’s method. what a true statement! Sounds like a really interesting book! I’ll definitely check it out…and you know how I feel about audiobooks. 🙂 thanks for passing it along! you just being you is the greatest gift 🙂 hehe hope you had a merry christmas! hugs xox

      1. As I have reflected on your comment, I’ve decided that I will write “Me being me is the greatest gift” in the cards I give people in 2017.

  34. And again I am floored because I wrote on a similar topic (amazing how that seems to work a lot) and then read your/this blog and thought how beautiful your insights are. Second thought, you are doing a great job of your part to help followers of Love/Jesus look as real as He did Himself with everyone and inviting and loving, etc. And I thought, yes, if we all loved and lived love, what a different place this would be and people would see so well that Jesus is not only the only hope we really ever have but that following Him would be such an amazing thing to make the world such a better place. 🙂 Love you! Hugs! Keep up the good work!!!

    1. Hi Tony! Hah oh my gosh that IS crazy! Great minds… 🙂 thank you so much for your kind words. Those are really powerful thoughts. You’re right- He IS our hope and the world really would be a brighter and warmer place. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you had a merry merry Christmas! Xox

  35. Great read and filled with truth. There is much to think about and pray about as the image and function of the church is directed once again to Kingdom and Righteousness. The standard of God has been lowered and the people of God have become distracted with world approval, forgetting that we must face Him! Keep up the great work! There is a bright future for the church but without reflection and honesty, it will fail.

  36. Oh, and just to clarify because we writers do that sort of thing (lol), I think we often write about the same thing because I think God sends messages in waves to different people and they interpret those waves differently. Just my thoughts…. lol 🙂

  37. My heart aches for those who do not RUN to be with Him!! And my heart aches for Him, as He waits for all His beloved to cross the threshold of His doorway to draw near. I am sure the love ❤️ which you brought to Him this past Midnight Mass helped to console His heart. (Our Midnight Mass was FULL…body, mind, and Spirit.) Continue to be BRAVE by boldly drawing others to Him in the way you choose to share your life…in WORD and deed!! Hugs n’ Blessings!!!

    1. Thanks so much Dawn. I agree, because with Him, life is so much brighter and filled with so much joy and peace. That’s great to hear that your mass was full! That’s terrific! I appreciate your encouragement! Big hugs and merry Christmas! Xox

  38. It’s when I read posts like this, I wish there was a *love* button to click on. You hit the nail square on the head. As Christians, we all need to be the hands and feet of Jesus. I’ve always been one to share what Jesus has done for me, and I’m sure sometimes people thing I am long-winded and share too much at all time, but I will continue to share for anyone that will listen. God charges us to share His story. And as we live by His grace we learn to show others grace and become his ambassadors.

    1. Thanks Carlene. Wow, what a kind thing to say. I really appreciate the encouragement! So true – be the hands and feet of Jesus. Amen! You keep on sharing that, girl! People need to hear it! You’re inspiring 🙂 big hugs and Merry Christmas! xox

  39. I too have felt the inner fear of being labeled weird or out-of-touch. I’ve just used different words. I’ve worried about being “sanctimonious” or “holier than thou.” But, you make great points that Christianity (and in particular, Catholicism) will be alive in our hearts, homes and prayers when we serve as modern examples of Jesus Christ’s love and generosity. Posts like this are just that . . . part of the solution. Thanks for taking that first step and being a great model for others!

    1. Hi Brian, thank you so much for your encouraging words. that’s kind of you to say. Yeah, alive in our hearts is good. But sometimes, when that situation arises, and we have the opportunity to take it out of our heart and onto our sleeve, I pray that I have the strength to share. Thanks for stopping by and for this great insight! big hugs xo

  40. I have found showing we have the same problems, but have a different response shows our faith and we need to express Christ love and His ways to others, not just slogans and bumper sticker stuff. We need to show His kindness to all.

    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. you’re so right – we need to move past the bumper stickers and really show His kindness to all. 🙂 Great food for thought! big big hugs xox

  41. Is modern religious life dead? For the most part yes ..Is the Church practice of the Christian faith a living and relevant to the message of faith it claims to profess? I doubt it. ..Does it reach out and meaningfully touch the lives of the community around it the way once did? No. ..Is Christianity dead? Not even a little bit.

    I don’t know if this will make sense, but it should. Faith, it’s expression and relevance seems to me to be a lot like water. It doesn’t collect on the high rooftops of the buildings we build for it. And it is only our willfulness that will make it act that way.
    It’s glory can be seen displayed in fountains arcing into the sky and lit for special occasions. But outside our hands it makes it’s way down, trickling into the low and dry places where is pools and collects where it needs to be. Faith needs to be observed and followed, and yes celebrated.

    And the message of Christmas starts this story. The descent of the God and the Holy Spirit through Christ his son to the lowest of places, amongst animals in an out of the way cave where, for our redemption, he was made flesh to live among us, to walk with us, to suffer with us and to humbly offer up it’s life for us.. so that we could understand the fullness of Gods love.

    Did I go to church to a church at Christmas. No. ..Did I plan to go? No. What did I do for Christmas and why does it matter to me that Christianity is not dead?

    For Christmas, I firmed a reconciliation with my daughter and my son. I joyously celebrated with our combined families where we chose to renew our commitments to love and honour one another in this troubled world. I worked with a young person with serious mental illness who is struggling to recover from a devastating and damaging addiction who found out Christmas day that his father is dying of cancer. I spent time with two different people struggling in recovery who tried to take their own lives in the past few days, and prayed with them for a third who had locked themselves away from the world to do the same because they could not find their way out of the darkness towards Gods love and light. I spent time with a single father who has very young and very troubled boys who was humiliated by his family during a Christmas dinner after returning from church. For him, it was an attempt at reconciliation and peace with his family after years of struggle with what can only be called inner demons that led him to very dark places. It was Christ’s message that sustained him through this difficult time and allowed him to respond in love and genuine compassion rather than turning away and inwards towards self-destructive behaviour and a deadly addiction from which he has been so recently relieved.

    Non of these people worshipped in church on Christmas either. Nor are any of them members of an organized religion, nor are they likely to join one.

    But all of us shared in one thing. Our lives were all deeply and profoundly touched in a joyous and glorious way this Christmas by God’s love and work in this world. And by the message of faith that is professed in Christianity. All of us became aware of this act that was as small as a single infant, born miles away from what we would deem proper, a small light in the lowest place at the darkest time of their lives that joined us all together to rejoice.

    If you have ever been on this journey you will understand well what I mean.

    Is Christianity dead. I think not. We just need to walk out into the world to find it.

    1. Wow what a powerful reflection. Thank you so much for sharing this. It sounds like you had a truly meaningful and beautiful Christmas. I’m so happy for you. You’re right, god’s love is alive in the love in the world. And that is truly something to celebrate. Hugs and love xox

  42. Beautiful piece that pierces the heart. Remember, the bible says that there will be a great falling away before the Lord returns (2 Thess. 2:3). I believe we are in that time, and it is sad to see. I love those midnight services as wel, and no one has them in small town Iowa anymore.

    1. Thanks so much Pete. Glad it hit home with you. That’s so true – leave it to the Word to really clear things up and show us the way. Oh gosh, that’s so sad that there are no midnight services around you! I’m sorry to hear that. All I know is that I’m very grateful to have such great people in my life, like you, who give me hope that Christ’s light is still burning brightly! 🙂 big hugs to you and merry christmas 🙂

  43. I didn’t realize you were a Papist! Guess we can’t be friends anymore…

    Just kidding!

    The problem isn’t really with Christianity it’s with mainline Christianity in the West. And this is to be expected honestly. The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. The faith of Jesus isn’t really for us it’s for the poor. We aren’t poor physically. We’re poor spiritually. Jesus said over and over that wealth was a great barrier to faith. Pentecostalism and other forms of Christianity are flourishing in Africa, South America, and China. Jesus knows where his people are and his people are the poor. Widows, orphans, handicapped, homeless, disease ridden…those are his people. That’s who he sent Saint Anthony & Saint Francis to. That’s who he sent Mother Theresa to. That’s who the Heavenly Father sent him to!

    It really is not surprising that Western Christianity is so weak. Faith in Jesus uplifts and makes bad things good. It gives strength to the poor and oppressed.

    During the reformation and counter reformation the anabaptists shined the brightest. One bishop famously exclaimed the people chase after them as if they were the saints of old.

    If there is no cost to following Jesus and no benefit why would anyone do it?

    The early Christians waited in the latrines in Rome so they could save aborted babies.

    The adults in America have made their choice and there isn’t much we can but pray and witness to the truth, but the babies…There has to be a way for us to hamper the death machine more. We need to start looking for ways to be disobedient to Caesar. The babies don’t belong to him, they belong to their maker.

    But this is a tough reality to face. Our true face has been revealed and we are not the winter soldiers we believed ourselves to be. We are the soldiers of a long and easy summer.

    I don’t attend church anymore myself because of emotional abuse I experienced. I think I’m almost ready to go back but the anxiety of potentially being used again keeps me away. It’s tough. But we can all rest assured in the fact that nothing really depends on any one of us: for Jesus has overcome the world. And us summer soldiers are still a part of his grand plan. If we only remain faithful wherever we are we are doing enough.

    1. Jesus has overcome the world. Amen to that. Hi friend, thank you so much for this thoughtful reflection and for your kind words. I’m sorry that your were hurt by the church. That breaks my heart, and I hope you know that you did not deserve to be treated poorly. You really brought up a lot of powerful food for thought here. You’re right, faith in Jesus *does* make bad things good and really does turn things around. You’re right, it’s easy to forget that when life is easy and you want for nothing. Really powerful stuff. thanks for sharing. big hugs and merry christmas xox

  44. Reblogged this on Frick Writes: A Mind Body Soul Journey and commented:
    Ugh….it’s funny I know I chose to not blog this month because I am doing some revamping and catching up on much needed research, goal setting and family time…

    And yet I’m blogging or should I say re-blogging a lot!!!

    But…..I can’t help but share some of the most incredibly wise and deep though provoking things this young lady posts and shares!!!!

    So the question I leave you with is….
    Are you living out your faith in a way that someone would say….
    “Yep she’s a Jesus freak!”…..

    Or does no one even have a clue you go to church!!!

    How can you be an intentional disciple?!

    Sit with that….pray about it….write about….
    Many blessings dear readers…family….friends…
    ~Kelly:-)

  45. I AM going to share this because I agree with everything you said .. is Christianity dead? Good Question. I am part of the problem
    Because I love to say my relationship with God is personal . Maybe it’s time to share a bit more of it

    1. Hi there, Lady Sergine! oh thank you so much. I’m right there with you. Next time the chance presents itself, I’m going to pray for the courage to take my faith out of my heart and smack it on my sleeve 🙂 sending big big hugs! hope you had a beautiful christmas!

  46. Well a few thoughts…
    1) Christianity can’t die. Not because we won’t let it but because of who actually is the builder of the Church, that would be Christ Himself. He uses means, no doubt, but without His sovereign hand working through the Spirit of God within His people it would fail. This is what John 17 and John 6 is about. The Father giving to the Son a people in love. The Son purchasing them with His atoning life, death and resurrection. And the Spirit empowering them to persevere. The Church’s success is an act of unity within the Triune God of the universe–not the Church–, it can’t fail.
    2) Certain churches in certain areas are growing not declining. I can think of a few areas in particular. My home church and a few that we give financially to in Africa and elsewhere. Also the underground churches in China and the Middle East are thriving within persecution(there is a plethora of information out there on this).
    3) When churches dwindle it’s not always death, it’s often purification. When a larger congregation seems to be dwindling, it’s sometimes a good thing. It tends to show the tares from the wheat. A “Christmas and Easter christian” is hardly a Christian at all, so it’s not even a good barometer of whether or not Christianity is dying(again it can’t, so long as Christ is on the throne reigning–last I checked, He is).
    4) Finally, I meant this for last, the Roman Catholic church is suffering from defective leadership(not to mention unbiblical traditions–to say it gently and leaving out quite a lot). The old-line Catholics are dying off and those still around are losing ground. Having a Magisterium and Pontiff that aren’t even exemplifying Catholic Dogma or Doctrine does not look good for devout adherents. It’s kind of hard to speak about “papal infallibility” or any of the other Dogmas of the Catholic church when it’s hard to tell if the leaders of your own denomination believe them. This isn’t even me being a protestant, or even a Reformed Baptist, it’s just basic accountability. When a leader(s) isn’t consistent or even exuding confidence, what, if any, reason is there to tell someone, “you should believe what we are preaching/teaching.” If the current leadership believes practically nothing of even the last generation of leaders, that does not show unity, it portents disfunction at best and deception at worst.

    1. Hi Daniel, thank you so much for this thoughtful response. lots of really powerful food for thought here. You’re right, with Jesus as the founder of the church, it is impossible to die. what a comforting thought that is! That’s terrific that the church is growing abroad. truly phenomenal. And I appreciate your thoughts on the Catholic church. It is definitely experiencing a decline and sadly, I think a lot of people share in your opinion. I will just say this, the Pope is simply one man. And man he is. Not perfect, not spotless, but a man. And I know tons of priests from all over the country – many of them young – who are truly on fire for God, and it is so refreshing. Because – yes, even though human and far from perfect – I do think they have a true desire to set their parishes on fire for the Lord. And are giving their lives to do so. but enough about that 🙂 You really brought up some great points that I’m going to be thinking about as I fall asleep here. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you had a beautiful Christmas!

  47. Reblogged this on Church Set Free and commented:
    When I clicked the reblog button there were almost 170 comments below this post. Comments can add so much to a post – a conversation, great fellowship, new sharing and new learning. Which makes it easy to invite you to join the conversation and fellowship AND new learning at BBB’s place.

    (as always comments are disabled here, thank you)

      1. Lovely thank you! And I hope yours was as loving and lovely. And thank you for such a wonderful present to open after a few days away from WP! 

  48. God is definitely alive, not in buildings made of stone anymore, but in the hearts of his true believers, the living stones of his New Testament Church. Jesus made religious labels irrelevant, and it was a huge wrench for me, but I had to leave my religious Church behind to grow and thrive. I found another with like minded Christians that reflected Jesus’ life and taught his word. God’s Blessings for 2017 BB.

    1. Hi there Nanny, thank you for this beautiful reflection. You’re right, He’s alive in our hearts. Living stones – I love that. I’m glad you found an outlet for your faith to thrive. Thanks, and same to you! Hope you had a beautiful Christmas! hugs xox

  49. Yes, the pews are getting emptier. And yes, the stereotype is for the most part false except for those of us who happen to bump into it once to often. I am a priest in a new separated non-denominational church ministering to others who have been battered by the judgement of other Christians far too often to feel loved or wanted by God. It is very difficult to teach God’s love to people that have been taught that they are hell bound because of who or what they are or what others, in so called authority say about them. Mainstream Christianity is not for the faint hearted, gay, mentally ill, transsesxual, divorced and remarried, single mother, those who have had abortions, or who have been imprisoned. And any number of others I can think of, including the deaf the blind and those in wheelchairs since most churches are inaccessible. OK ranting stopped. Sorry everyone

    1. Hi brother Andrew thank you so much for this powerful insight! It’s so interesting to hear from you as an insider. Lots of great food for thought here. I hope you had a blessed Christmas and have a happy new year. And thanks again for the reblog. Hugs and love xox

      1. i was worried I had gone a step too far?
        Hi there, sometimes I forget I am a Pastor when I remember that I once felt so joyful in those pews. Then I do remember that those in our Pews were once there in mainstream, one day there should not be any need for us since the church will be truly following the Word and Spirit of Our Lord and Master, Jesus christ and new Ministries will be in place to minister to the marginalised. Yet for some of us the waiting has been just too long and even despite our strength of faith we could not remain to bang our heads against a stone.

        Hugs back – we had a quiet christmas I shall be Presiding at Eucharist in Sunday to which I look forward to and I shall think of you and your wonderful ministry.

      2. Hi Br. Andrew! Aw, thank you so much. That’s kind of you to say. Yeah, the waiting can be long for sure, but we wait with joyful hope in the Lord:) i can’t tell you how much I enjoy hearing your thoughts. You have such powerful insight and I feel so blessed to hear it! Have a happy 2017! Hugs

  50. You, my friend have touched on some very important points. Major props for being so honest! I too am witnessing a falling away of sorts in the church and most of them have been young people. I think that a big problem is that many don’t know what it is to truly believe, many have no convictions about the scriptures, and many have not received the Holy Ghost. The number of real born again, spirit filled, active in ministry believers is few. That’s not something stats will tell you, it must be seen on the front lines.

    As those who know the truth, we must consciously be the light every waking second of the day. We must put off selfishness and realize that our lives are for God’s glory. The message of God’s love is too important to keep quiet about. Pual said it best in Romans 1:16…UNASHAMED.

    Keep on sharing those wonderful thoughts!

    God bless

    1. Thank you so much for this thoughtful reflection! Lots of truth here. The number of young people is definitely definitely for you. Be the light! Yes! That is what we are to do. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs!

  51. Yes, churches are not as full as they use to be, but that should be a push for us. If we are the church then why are we bringing church to other people. There is a shift happening and it is going to require us to step outside the box and stop worrying about the attendance in church. So many things have happened in the church that people are preferring to stay away and to their own thing. The true Christians, the believers that follow Jesus will start taking the Chruch to the streets. There are so many churches out here and I feel like we are all segregated when we all have one true goal. Why aren’t we working together? Why is it so hard?

    1. Hi Shawna. thank you so much for this powerful reflection! Wouldn’t that be great if we all could work together. So true. We’ve got to bring Jesus to others! That’s what we are called to do. To make disciples. Hope you had a great Christmas!

      1. You are welcome! I’ve been totally encouraged not just by the post but all the comments people are leaving as well! It’s so true that the faith is alive and well, even in America where it feels like it is declining. I think anytime a faith gets over-institutionalized, the revolution that brings it back is quiet and subtle for a long time . People start taking it seriously again in their own lives and hearts and families, and that isn’t always apparent in the news or your neighborhoods at first. Be encouraged that God is always at work, even where we don’t see it – and all those seeds he’s planting? Just looks like a field of dirt. Until it doesn’t. The bloom is on the way!

  52. Hello Carolyn, kudos to you for speaking your mind Christianity is on the rise, just look at the figures in Africa and China. The church has always been persecuted throughout history and it’s always risen above it! I understand what you’re saying and I’d like to say that many of my contemporaries think church is boring. I can’t think of a more lame excuse for them not attending church. Funny, because many of them attend work lectures and boring work meetings for their careers , some of them during their lunch breaks, I have been to some expensive Professional Development days that were sleeping material, but I still go because it pleases my employer. Mass is not meant to be entertaining. It’s not meant to make you feel all fuzzy wuzzy, if it doesn’t jolt you and make you think or reevaluate your life, then the preacher isn’t doing his job.Mass is a time to give back to God and His son Jesus Christ who died for us. Didn’t Jesus challenge his contemporaries? He ruffled many feathers.Wasn’t He rejected by many? He didn’t save everybody either. I cannot believe how people gamble with their salvation, with eternity. I have seen a shift though, in church I have seen more fellow christians from Africa, China, Vietnam and Korea convert and I’m so pleased about that. Part of the problem is also that people think they are above religion, that they are in control. “Affluenza” can give them everything they need. To think!!!!!! that the first twelve spread christianity to the world. If they can do it, so can we. God has raised you from the ashes Carolyn, you already are part of a movement, of bringing people back to the church, you just don’t know how far reaching your words can be. I’ll leave you with this quote from Pope Francis……” I prefer a church that is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather that a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security.” God bless you <3

    1. Wow, thank you so much for this powerful reflection! So much truth in your words! Yes we have got to spread the word just like the disciples! And thank you for such kind words about my blog. It really means a lot. And I love that quote from Pope Francis. What a wise father. I’ll be out around Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  53. I do not believe that Christianity is dead, but the world or the other guy who will not be named, has made us believe that it’s not cool to go to church any more or to say I am a Christian. I may be a Christian of a different ilk, but I am first-and-foremost a Christian. Thank you for following my blog posts. Peace and good fortune for the year to come.

    1. Hi Beverly! Thank you so much for this powerful and thoughtful response! You’re right Christianity can never die because Jesus was the founder but you’re right it’s sad that there is that notion about going to church. But we can change that! Glad you stopped by! Hope you had a great Christmas

  54. And still you have far greater Church attendance in the US than we have over in Sweden! It is unfortunately standard here that only a tiny tiny minority actually attend sermons and ceremonies at Church, beyond the big personal stuff like weddings, funerals, baptisms and confirmations. And I must say, even for me as a pagan, it is sad to see. I have a personal relationship with our great old churches as well, and with God even if it does not match the regular Christian path, and seeing the general population turn away from matters of the soul is… well, sad. Here it has gone far enough to be practically noticeable – attendance is so low that the Church simply can’t afford keeping all churches open any more. In some areas they might even be sold. It makes sense on an economical level, we have a HUGE amount of churches after all and only a little minority that actually use them, but aaaaaah. It hurts to see a 13th century church, the focal point of so many generations past, stand empty. Locked if there isn’t anything specific going on, because they just can’t risk shitty bastards stealing and vandalizing that which has taken centuries to create.

    I know this isn’t exactly what you wrote about, but it is related. From a Swedish point of view you over in the US have looooots of active Christians and church goers. x) As for snotty know-it-alls and freaks (and worse, actual extremists), well all I can say (and do say to anyone bringing up the topic) is that every religion have them, wherever humans gather there will be those giving the rest a bad name. And for what it’s worth, even a heathen like me will actually stand up for the GOOD in the Christian community as well. Just as how I remain a paying member of the Swedish Church to give my support to the conservation of our great old churches that have meant so much to generations past and to our culture.

    Who knows what will happen in the future? Perhaps Christianity will grow again. Or it will shrink, or it will remain where it is. Rather than being frightened of what may or may not happen I think it more important to focus on there here and now. To be a caring and loving person, to be a force of good regardless of which religion we adhere to. And I do not think you have to worry about doing too little, your blog and the sharing of your thoughts here shouldn’t be underestimated!

    Much love
    /Fny

    1. Wow thanks Fny. I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts. And wow! Sweden! That was one of my favorite trips to visit! Such a beautiful country! Can you bring up some really powerful points. It’s sad, the state of Christianity in Europe. You’re right, it is slowly dying and the churches are being sold. How sad! But I really appreciate this perspective! I hope that you had a happy new year! Hugs all the way from USA:)

      1. It is the passing of time I suppose, and change is often painful. Holy places, be they churches or temples or sacred sites belonging to different faiths, they are more than just mere locations/buildings. They have soul, and echo with the memories of those long gone. And that should be respected even by those of differing beliefs, I’d say most firmly. But enough about that. A happy new year to you as well!

  55. True Christianity does not require that the word be spoken. When it is in the love of each act those were touched by his moving through us to touch them Will become a hungry to know how we found the strength to be who we have become, and hungry to find the same joy in life. True caring, true friendship and honest communication are the calling cards of Christian love. Don’t accept someone because they join your church, but rather because they joint hearts.

  56. It’s funny…the church I grew up in,where my grandfather was the priest for 40 years, was packed on any given Sunday. After he retired 20 years ago, there’s been a succession of priests (on number 4 now) and attendance is about 1/5 of what it used to be.

    On the other hand, the church I go to now–where one priest just retired after 30 years, and the new one, who is very popular, has been there for 3 years–is filled to the gills every week the way other churches are on Christmas or Easter. And don’t get me started on how insanely packed it is on those holidays.

    My points are these: Perhaps it’s your individual church, and consistency and personality of clergy is key. The wrong priest, or having too much turnover, can turn a lot of people off or make it too hard to feel a connection.

    Our wonderful (/sarc) culture also doesn’t help. Many of these stereotypes are exaggerated versions of a small percentage of “church people” that people who actively hate the church stick into movies, TV shows, and so on. Ask most may people about Christianity; very few actually know the tenets.

    We have our work cut out for us, but take heart that the faith is still very much alive, though there’s work to be done. Just changing people’s perceptions may be the most important first step.

    Merry Christmas!

    1. Hi friend! Wow that’s so great to hear about your church being so full! So terrific!these are such great points. Thank you for sharing that! I think you’re right! There is work to be done but we shouldn’t lose hope. Hope you have a happy new year! Hugs

  57. Go spread the Good News! Our Mass on Christmas Eve was packed with random people coming along because it’s “traditional”. I love this but said a little prayer that something of what they experienced would touch their hearts and bring them back next week rather than next year… it is up to us to make it compelling!!

    1. Hey Rob! Thanks for this awesome reflection. Wow, I’m glad your church was full but yeah I know how sad that feeling can be. That’s a great prayer you prayed. Yes I hope so too! Hope you have a happy new year!

  58. THIS was a phenomenal read.

    As I was reading it, all I could think about was Mark 16:15
    He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.”

    Why am I not doing that? Why do I keep my faith to myself?
    I realize now that by choosing to be a “closet Christian” I am helping NO ONE.
    I am part of the problem and that has to change. Now.

    Thank you for convicting me in a way that I desperately needed. Thank you for challenging me to step out of my comfort zone. Thank you for posting this. ❤

    1. Hi Cassie! Wow! Your beautiful note brought a tear to My eye. That is such a powerful verse from Mark. You’re right, we are supposed to go and make disciples! Definitely something I need to work on in my life as well. I’ll join you in that determination! Thanks for such encouraging words this morning. Hope you have a happy new year! Big hugs

  59. I get your points but I also think that there is still hope. Pope Francis has changed a lot of people’s beliefs because of his kind, forgiving and generous approach on most topics. Though I do understand where you are coming from but from what I have read of your blog, you aren’t to blame for this decline! I can tell that you’re proud to be a Christian and that is have the job done and the fact that you’re such a positive role model is the other half done!! <3 This year I didn't go to the Midnight Mass but the 6pm Vigil where I sang in our little band thing and the Church was teeming with people… way more than we could fit. My problem is the opposite of your because I cannot understand why some people only come to Church on special occasions. I'd like them to be inspired and believe enough in God to come every week or at least try to. You're post really made me think and I'd just like to say thank you for that!! 🙂 <3

  60. I want to commend you for taking a leap
    Of faith and writing this post! It takes a lot of courage to have a public conversation about faith. In your post you said you were going to go out on a limb and invite someone to church because you want to help grow the faith. I believe you’ve done so much for faith and the church in this post! Its great to see that a post about faith and Christianity can create this type of dialogue with over 170 comments and 210 likes. Keep up the great work.

    My church is in a different state than yours and the others sharing the experience of declining attendance. Our church is growing and has been for some time. For example, we had 5 Christmas Eve services and at least 4 of them were completely full. I’m blessed to be part of a growing congregation, and a resident of a city that’s on fire for Christ.

    1. Hi K! Thank you so much for sharing this. Wow, that’s so great to hear that your city is a live for Christ! That’s so terrific! And thanks for your kind words about my blog. It truly means so much. Hope you had a merry Christmas and have a happy new year. Hugs!

  61. Dear Caralyn,

    I love, that is, I commend your wrestling with the question AND your response of what a Christian looks like and, even more, what a Christian does. I especially am moved by the evocative phrasing of the close of this post. Jesus having gone out on a limb for us bids you to consider doing the same for him in inviting others to join you in your sacramental/liturgical life in corporate worship.

    Another thought… Sometimes when I ponder the smaller attendance at what I recall were large gatherings of worshipers, especially on the high, holy feast days of Christmas and Easter, I do believe that – and thinking here only of America – there are more “nones” who claim no institutional religious affiliation and “dones” who formerly were active and now are not. The reasons for the increase of each group are both many and varied.

    Moreover, I think what I shall term “an olden image” of churchfolk of which you speak as judgmental, holier-than-thou stubbornly seems to abide in the imaginations of many. This brings me back to your principal point. How can others know of believing folk whose lives strive to reflect the unconditional benevolence of God if or when we don’t share and show that God in intention and action, thought and feeling, and speech?

    Carry on, dear Caralyn. Co-opting that language of Star Wars, which, I surmise first co-opted the gospel claim, may the Spirit be with you.

    1. Thank you so much for this powerful reflection! The none and dones… you’re right, that group is on the rise. And it’s so true: that non-flattering image of Christians has stuck around. The image of the church lady on SNL comes to mind. But you’re right, Jesus gave it all. So we can give a little. Thanks for stopping by! Hope you had a happy Christmas and haveA happy new year! Hugs

  62. The real problem is probably the opposite: Christians have been too kind and too accomodating, have become in a state of perpetual defensiveness and worrying that we’ll offend people.

    This is really what’s caused the decline. We haven’t forcefully answered criticisms, we haven’t defended the faith, we haven’t defended our priests (who by the way badly need it), we haven’t done anything but apologize to the faith–apologism that’s always weak, on its knees, and begging for acceptance isn’t effective–or necessary.

    Christianity isn’t a tame faith. Aslan isn’t a tame lion. Stop being tame and timid.

  63. One of the sad-but-encouraging things in the background here, Caralyn, is the fact that the churches were unusually over-packed for a while by people who were more interested in participating in worship but not in believing or living accordingly. That subtle hypocrisy has finally played itself out, and people no longer go to church because it’s “the thing to do.” So while the attendance numbers are crashing, the actual number of the faithful isn’t dropping all that much at all, and may in fact be growing when one accounts for non-white demographics 🙂

    1. Hi Fr. Brench! Oh that is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing that positive insight! It’s really interesting to hear from an insider. Lots of great food for thought to mull over. Hope you have a blessed day here! Thanks for stopping by father. I’m honored that you would take the time to read my blog.

  64. Great blog – mind if I share this with my congregation?

    On Mon, Dec 26, 2016 at 7:00 PM, BeautyBeyondBones wrote:

    > beautybeyondbones posted: “Well folks, another Christmas is in the books! > Christmas 2K16 is officially behind us. The eggnog has been consumed. Gifts > gifted. Food coma endured. And for those brave souls who took on a real > tree this year, its pine needles are officially all over th” >

  65. I loved this, and definitely feel some conviction. I’m trying to make a conscious effort each day to be more bold! I read today that when we openly put all of our faith and trust in God, especially in regards to doing/believing the impossible, it is not OUR reputation on the line it is God’s reputation on the line! I hope this helps you as it has me!

  66. Yes I see the decline here in Virginia also. Yes it does fall on us as christians because we have to be the body of Christ. But I have to be careful not to condemn people or I will be in contempt of pushing them further away from Jesus. So yes I can’t set myself high above people doing that I can’t talk to them or them me. I challenged everyone on a post last week to reach out to strangers and strangers can be near to us. Thanks for pointing this decline out. Remember You are God’s special one.

  67. Very well written and very good observations. Forgive me while I make a few of my own. As you probably remember I’m a Byzantine-Anglican (which is a very Orthodox branch of Anglo-Catholisim). What I have noticed since the present Bishop of Rome was elected by the College of Cardinals…that the Catholic Church has torn it self apart, has lost its way of the traditions and long standing doctrine. Since Francis has become Pope, I’ve noticed that in my denomination our attendance of those who identified as Roman Catholic has nearly quadurpled! Just my observations…. Also my dear friend I think we’ve lost the meaning of Christ’s ministry on earth…review this homily that I wrote a few years ago…and let it sink in. https://bishoptatro.wordpress.com/2016/10/31/true-love/

    1. Thank you so much for this perspective, Padre Tatro. I really appreciate it. Lots of great food for thought here. Yeah pope Francis is a great energizer of the faith! Can’t wait to check out your homily. Thanks for passing it along! Hugs and love xox

  68. Hi Caralyn, Merry Christmas…have a great Christmas time and holiday with your beloved family. May much love, joy and togetherness complete us and bring us entering the new year 2017…. I hope for peace on every soil. I hope that we can do a thing or two to make others has a better living, more fulfilled physically and also the mind. This year is a bit of hard Christmas in my country.

      1. Thank you Caralyn. Yes, some of the churches here had Christmas mass/service with police guard outside for security reasons (bomb, terrorist attack). We’re thankful to the police, the state & all fellow countrymen here that the Christmas was safe. Warm regards.

  69. Jesus said that the world will know we are His by our love for one another (John 13:35). That’s another way that speaks volumes about Christ. As St. Francis of Assisi said…and sometimes we’ll have to use words. 🙂
    Merry Christmas, and may your 2017 be filled with joy and much love.

  70. Ack! You posted this yesterday and already there are 40 billion replies. Can’t read them all.

    I’m in a unique position as a Christian married to a Jewish wife. Simply put, we don’t celebrate Christmas and frankly, I don’t miss it.

    I also currently don’t go to any congregation (long story), so my faith is a very private one.

    I won’t say that Christianity is dead, but it’s not exactly being encouraged in western society either. To be fair, Judaism is facing a similar crisis where masses of Jewish young people are falling away from religious practice, assimilating into secular society.

    The problem may not be with Christianity or Judaism but with the world around us. Our popular politicians and entertainers for the most part are secular (though even Hillary Clinton still claims to be a Christian though she also supports abortion) and they’re shoving secular values down our throats every day.

    This is just another example of living in fallen world. I’ve heard that when Jesus returns, there will only be a remnant of the faithful to greet him. I believe things will get a lot worse before it will get better.

    1. Thanks for this, James. Haha yeah, it seems to have struck a nerve! Haha I appreciate you sharing your perspective. Yeah, the media is definitely pushing a counter Agenda, thats for sure! Sadly, I think you’re right. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  71. Two thoughts, one on topic, the other not.

    Furthering Vic Crain’s remarks above…

    One dynamic you didn’t touch on is the tension between politics and Church, particularly extremists who are singularly focused with a disregard for much of what being truly “Christian” encompasses.

    In this election year, is it possible that mix of politics and church has contributed to the sense of alienation millennials feel toward the institution? Just a hypothesis.

    Second thought. Thank you. You have been a consistent follower and supporter of my writing and I feel so much gratitude for that. When I see the following you have built, I know how time-consuming it is to stay connected, to write, to live a life. The fact that with all you have going on, you gift my blog with mind-share is extremely gratifying.

    Stay in touch.

    Jon

  72. The world looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks upon the heart. The times are such that those who truly come to church to show God that they really want to put Him first…those people are thinning in the ranks. They are being put to the test just like when Christ asked Peter and the apostles, “will ye also go away?” The reply was, “to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:67-69) In other words, yes, to the world’s eyes, Christianity is dwindling: numbers of church-goers and professing believers are decreasing. BUT! in the Lord’s eyes, among those who are left are the strong ones, the ones who remain true to Him, the ones who actually want to be His people. This time is a sifting period…to see who is really true vs those who only appear to be true…to Him! And that’s not a bad thing either. Our job is to invite those who haven’t come to Him…to come, and to encourage those who are already striving to come to Him…to stay anchored to Him. Christianity isn’t dead…it is being tested…and purified…in preparation for His coming.

    It is a time to be real, true, genuine, and anchored Christians.

  73. Great blog, Caralyn! I will say that i really wanted to go to Midnight Mass myself, but i found that i ended up emotionally comforting one of my cousins who has had a rough life (to say the least). However, i did go to 8am Low Mass and i was surprised at how small the congregation was. The excuse i gave myself is that since midnight was a High Mass, the sacrifice of the Mass probably did not end until near 2am. There was little chance of people going home, sleeping for a couple of hours, getting up, and doing it all over again. As far as your fears of Christianity being dead, i would take comfort in Matthew Chapter 16 verse 18 where Jesus says to Peter, “I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Know that our faith will save us and Holy Mother Church will never fall. 🙂 Have a blessed Christmas season and a happy New Year! <3

    1. Thank you so much for this, David! That definitely is a comforting verse. Thanks for sharing. I’m sorry you couldn’t go at midnight. I hope your cousin is doing okay. Happy new year! Hugs and love xox

  74. How can a child, who is helpless and totally dependent, be the Messiah?

    None of what happened that day in that stable, among the animals, was grand. God the Father gave his Son a completely humble birth and an almost regular childhood.

    “And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him” (Luke 2:40).

    And, against all kinds of opposition, this tiny baby will be the one to save our lives and someday rule the world. It doesn’t make much sense to us.

    A baby? But that is because we are so limited in our understanding of the ways of God.

    Still, do not miss this vitally important lesson: The God of the universe is content to use the weak things of the world to confound the strong. And this truth should give us comfort. If he can use a baby to change the world, he can certainly use us.

    Father, your kingdom ways appear to be upside down to me, but I am beginning to see that it is my vision that is distorted. The mystery of the unique incarnation of Your Grace — the God becoming flesh in order to become one of us. The profound lengths to which You went in order to save us all from Evil amazes me. As I read the story of Christmas, I am always struck by all that you put into place. Only You could have conceived of it. Having made the world, you sent your Son into the world, knowing that He would be betrayed, rejected and crucified by the people He came to save. And yet you did it — to save me. I praise your name and thank you for your awesome gift.

    As we move away from the Christmas Season and resume our “daily activities”… Let us not forget the “Miracle” of Christmas… Let us hold it in our heart throughout the year.

      1. Thank you for your reply, Miss ? (Beautybeyondbones) I truly love the Christmas season! Singing the awesome new songs and old hymns! You be blessed my sister!

  75. You do a marvelous job testifying to your faith in your blog. And you are genuine in how you do it. That’s the important thing; not just stating what you believe but showing what it is like to embody being a disciple of Christ in the struggles of daily life. Numerically, Christianity may be shrinking some in Europe and North America, but it is growing tremendously in Africa and Asia. God will not be without his witnesses.

  76. Just as in any faction that is either misunderstood, misrepresented, or under-represented, Christianity is certainly teetering on an unhealthy precipice in the minds of the masses. There are too many zealots and not enough “witnesses” people don’t want a brochure shoved at them; they want to be part of something bigger. Unfortunately, too much skepticism and mistrust can be a cancer to any religious group, Christianity included. Very appropriate and necessary discussion. Well done

    1. Thanks so much for this, Rob. You’re right, there are a lot of misconceptions. But at the end of the day, we need to be His hand and feet and LOVE. Everyone. That will change hearts:) glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  77. Great article and very timely. As a pastor I can tell you that there was a great deal of preparation leading up to our Candlelight Service, but I noticed that attendance at our Christmas Eve service was down this year as well. Conversely, I have seen more Christmas lights up this year than I have in past years and have had many more people wish me a “Merry Christmas” as opposed to a “Happy Holiday.”

    One of the problems I have observed with the Western church culture, especially here in the States, is that we are stuck in time. If I had to guess I’d say somewhere before 1940. Things were good then, and the church was the center of community life. If the church said it, people believed it because they felt that they could trust the church with the truth. And so, we killed our evangelism programs and resorted to sending money to missionaries to carry out the “Great Commission” on our behalf, because everyone came to church. We no longer felt the need to go to them.

    Then, WWII happened and everything changed. Hitler claimed to have the truth, Joseph Stalin claimed to have the truth, and tens of millions of people died at their hand. So, what makes the “Truth” that the church is talking about any different? Now, people no longer wanted to hear the truth, they wanted to see the truth; to experience it. The church, however, balked at this and dug in. Now, instead of being an agent of change in the community, the church became entrenched, unmoving and out of touch with their communities because were no longer streaming into church, in fact, they started leaving.

    The message hasn’t changed, but how we present it to people must. When Peter stood before the masses at Pentecost, he didn’t demand that everyone speak Hebrew. Everyone heard the message in their own language, in a way that they could understand it and accept it. I’d like to believe that Mrs. Cleaver is still making cookies that won’t make you fat in her perfectly pressed dress, polished heels and pearls, but we don’t live there anymore. We need to be open about our faith, stop making excuses for people’s bad behavior and live out the love of Jesus, not just talk about it.

    1. Thanks so much Joshua. I really appreciate you sharing this thoughtful response. So much powerful food for thought here. You’re right, there is definitely a stuck in time Feeling. Amen – let’s live out the love of Jesus! So glad you stopped by! I’m honored that you would read my words! Hugs and love xox

    2. Joshua, I happened to read this in passing. I’m not argumentative in the least, but I do like to make comments and hear other people’s viewpoints. You said the message hasn’t changed. Back in the 1930’s the church still thought of itself as being victorious saints. Today churches say that they are hospitals full of sick people. In the 1930’s people considered it necessary to keep the ten commandments and the Sermon on the Mount. Today, it seems all churches say that all your sins past, present, and future are forgiven and you need to do NOTHING to go to heaven. In my opinion the big change really began in 1948 when Israel became a nation. The time of the Gentiles is over. Jewish time began to tick . The Christian churches just keep spiralling downward further and further away from obeying the commands of Jesus. That’s just my opinion. God bless.

      1. For whatever reason, I just saw this comment! I apologize for not responding sooner. Thank you for taking the time to read it and to respond. I agree that our perception of who we are and how we respond has changed over the years, but the message hasn’t. “Be holy” still means the same thing today, whether we want it to or not. I also agree that many have chosen to be liked instead of being leaders. The church, specifically in the Western world, has chosen to water down the message in an attempt to appease the people and make it seem more attractive. In truth, to live a Biblical life is hard. It takes sacrifice and suffering. It takes surrender and devotion. Thanks again for your comment!

  78. The problem isn’t necessarily the people, and if it is, it’s not on purpose; the problem is what the authority structure of the church has twisted the Scriptures into in order to make church a set of instructions, rules, and expectations of behaviors. One of my churches, for example, wrote in it’s constitution that families were the building block of society, families were ordained by God to be one husband and one wife, with the husband having authority over his wife. What they failed to realize was that the rules of the church privileged families at the expense of it’s singles, marginalizing them for not living up to the expectation that they be married and that their families be structured accordingly to their teachings. In most of my churches the people were alright, mostly. It was the rules and micro-managing nature of the leaders that caused me to question: “Does the Bible (or Lord or God, they seem to be interchangeable) really say?”

    1. Hi Jamie, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and experiences. I understand where you’re coming from – the beauty of Christ is the freedom that we have in Him. It is discouraging to not feel as though you’re living up to a standard of perfection. Because at the end of the day, only Jesus was perfect. And in fact, he chose to hang out with people who were far from it. Thanks for the food for thought. Big hugs xox

  79. Thank you, beauty… for your honesty. We all need to examine ourselves and ask: if people around me are being convicted for being Christians, would they find anything in me to convict me? If I am beaten and thrown prison for preaching, as led by the Holy Spirit, would I be bold pray and sing loudly at mid-night? Would I be able to preach fervently like Stephen, even when stones are raining down on me?
    We are God’s ambassadors, His voice, His hands and feet and as we let Him He will use us to reconcile others to Himself. we cannot do it in our own strength and that is why we need the power of the Spirit to guide us each step of the way.

      1. You’re undoubtedly a beauty beyond bones. Keep pressing on in your zeal in your writing. You are going places. God will open doors for you that no man can shut; doors beyond your imagination.

  80. Jesus once told the Pharisees that if his disciples were silent, the stones would cry out for them. The very power of the Holy Spirit pushes us to proclaim Christ. Each time I’ve been mocked or treated with hate because of my faith, I wear it as a badge of honor for Christ. It’s natural to be afraid, and most view church as the building in which we gather, but it’s not. We, as followers of Christ, are the Church. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I also” is what Jesus said. When you gathered with your family this year to celebrate Christmas, you were the Church. Whenever you gather with people outside of the building, you are the Church. Church is not just a Sunday thing to worship God, my pastor once told me that following Jesus is not one day a week, but it’s 24/7 worship. People call us Jesus Freaks, but you know what? We are. We are the only Bible these people will ever see and we need to not be afraid. You don’t need to invite someone to church, but rather you can be the church right over a cup of coffee 🙂 Be very courageous it says in Joshua, for our God is with us.

    Props to you for recognizing this and recentering our focus on this Caralyn!!! Prayers and hugs to you and hope you have a great New Years!

    1. Thank you so much for this thought provoking response. Yeah that is so true. We often are the only encounter with the gospel that people will have. And you’re right, we are the living breathing church. Such a powerful thought. Thanks for stopping by. Big hugs xox

  81. This hits home and my other home (Norway). My parents left the Catholic church due to reasons that I am not completely sure of and it left me rather flabergasted and confused. They were the most devout I knew. The shift in faith today is scary. It has left me with the question WHAT AM I and WHERE DO I FIT? I must not be the only millennial thinking these things.

    1. Hi Pikku! Wow, Norway! That’s awesome. I’m sorry to hear that you’re grappling with those questions. You are definitely not alone. I think everyone has to figure that out for themselves at some point. But I have faith that you will:) I think at the end of the day we have to look deep within and ask ourselves what we value and believe and what we stand for. And honestly, that is something that no other person can decide that for us. Sending massive hugs to you. Xox

  82. You are right to see that Christianity is dying. It has been in steady decline since 1948 when Israel became a nation. The time of the Gentiles is over and the time of the Jews is now once again here. Soon the two witnesses of the Book of Revelation will appear at the wailing wall in Jerusalem, and the tribulation period will begin. The end of the world is upon us. Grim but true. You are also correct that you are to obey Jesus by proclaiming his Gospel. The entire Christian church is terminally ill, and the world is in even worse shape. The world as we know it will soon come to and end, and it will then be as it is described in the Book of Revelation. You chose a very sobering topic for your post. God Bless!

    1. Thank you for this reflection. I really appreciate you sharing this perspective. Yes, we are to go and make disciples and preach the gospel. that’s the commandment straight from the Son! Thanks for stopping by! big hugs xox

  83. Christ is not dead, so therefore his church is not. But now as back in the days of Apostles we are His “remnant” people. Saved by Grace doesn’t mean much to folk who don’t believe they need saving in the first place.
    Best wishes for the New Year.

    1. Thank you so much for this beautiful reflection. You’re right – He is alive! And as we celebrate His birth, I can’t help but think about His death and resurrection. That is alive. That is hope. That is what we can place our trust in. Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  84. I love this you’re so right.. we have to show others Christ is not only living on the inside of us but outside too.. I too am guilty of not witnessing the way I should for Jesus and I to need to invite someone to church with me as well.. be blessed my sister in Christ..

  85. It’s hard to know what to do. I have seen these trends and wondered what to do. I used to say church was boring, but now I consider it a vital part of my life and well-being. And the thing is, I don’t want the church to modernize anymore. One church that’s popular here is Newspring, which is non-denominational and non-traditional. Services include skits, videos, popcorn, and gourmet coffee. I went to one service and came out thinking, I don’t want church to be a movie or a rock concert. I like those too, but I want church to be church. Which I guess means what people think is boring. I don’t know what we can do other than keep writing and try to help people see the value that we do.

    1. Thanks for this response, David. That’s so awesome that you recognize the importance of church in your life. I actually listen to New Spring’s podcast every week! Haha small world. But I’m with you – I love the worship we have at church. It is beaujtful and powerful and not boring at all when you recognize the miracle of it 🙂 so glad you stopped by! Big hugs xox

  86. What we are seeing can best be described of as Age of Enlightenment II, where the intelligentsia (K-12, universities) actively teach against religion. Just as in the first AoE the “educated” drop their involvement in church in order to “fit in”, and the church is sustained by the “uneducated”. This go-round is worse than the first, as most of the children are encouraged to continue on to university as opposed to the manual labor fields, plus the majority of K-12 students now attend government run schools, where any form of religious activity or thinking by students is strictly verboten.

    1. Thanks so much for this powerful food for thought. I appreciate you sharing it! Yeah, there definitely has been an abandonment of religion in public school curriculum. I wish that weren’t the case! Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  87. Nice post! It is my opinion, and please forgive my pedantic ways, that we are just in a period of transition. If we define a religion as a formula of rites, rituals, mores and norms designed to build and maintain a community, then I think our modern society has changed too much for all of the old rituals to still have the same value. Consider that what we know and are familiar with as comforting religious ritual all came from a time when the population was much smaller, families stayed in the same town, there was no technology and most everyone was a farmer. Or, from another perspective, four hundred years ago it was common for Sunday mass to last the whole day. What would those people think of the hour long services which are the norm today?

    1. Thanks so much Craig for your reflection and perspective. Yeah. Church today is definitely a horse of a different color! Haha Yoire right, there is definitely s transition occurring. I just hope that we can harness the transition for positive change. Thanks for stopping by and sharing this great food for thought. Hugs and love xox

  88. Caralyn:
    Dearest sister, I wish that I could successfully communicate the foundations for my conviction. I have never asked the leader of any institution for anything except the opportunity to teach others. I have been rebuffed.
    As Socrates testified, the Mysteries are closed unless the listener opens their heart to the teacher.
    The Church served the purpose of keeping alive the memory of Jesus. Even holy communion is commanded with the words “Do this in memory of me.”
    What happens when the time for remembrance is past? Will the institutions adapt, or will they hold on to the rituals that have been proven to bring comfort to those that must settle for mystery?
    Awash in the love that heals all wounds, why would we settle for that?
    In other words, if the world is to be healed, the Church must either bend to Christ, or lose the authority of Christ’s commission. When that authority is lost, the spirit that joins His flock to the institution is sundered, and people will no longer experience Christ in the rituals.
    Brian

    1. Thanks for this reflection, Brian. A lot of powerful food for thought here. You’re right, we’ve got to keep Christ alive in whatever way possible. We’ve got to figure out a way to adapt to reach people, while still respecting and keeping alive the beautiful and steadfast traditions. It’s a tricky solution, but one I believe we can achieve. Thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  89. I started reading this yesterday, and then just now finished. I wanted to see where this ended. You have many salient points. I belong to a mainline protestant denomination that has seen 40 yrs of membership decline in USA, but growing in places like Africa. We have forgotten our first love, Jesus. In some cases, we have been only lukewarm. Only when we grip the reality that people are in danger of eternity in Hell, will we live and love out the gospel as the Body of Christ. I too am part of the problem, with an inhibited faith. If I love people, I will be bold. Thank you for your post.

    1. Thanks so much! I appreciate you taking the time to read and respond. You’re right – we’ve got to bust out of the lukewarm ways. Thanks for the food for thought. Hugs and love xox

  90. Wow, that was a great read! Thank you for your honesty and candor when it comes to your faith and your life. Our local church that we attend has maybe 45 people attending on Sunday mornings. We just put on a children’s Christmas play and packed the pews for both the Saturday night and the Sunday morning performances. It struck many of us that we all wished that many would attend a regular service. In the summer it is even worse as people go on vacation. Sadly I think part of the problem at our church is the congregation is predominantly elderly people. The worship music they prefer is of the hymn variety. It is not exactly music that would attract a younger congregation. I am not saying we should abandon things that the current congregation likes but I am saying I wish we could mix it up a little with some more contemporary music. We need more energy in the church and a compromise could make that happen. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Susan. I really appreciate your encouraging words. Thatsso great to hear about the Christmas play! So terrific! Yeah, I think a compromise would definitely be a good thing:) thanks for stopping by. Hugs and love xox

  91. Great piece! Very well thought-out, and frankly, spot-on.

    Honestly, we gave up going to church once we had kids. It was the final “straw” so-to-speak as we had been having a hard time with the church’s politics for awhile.

    Why was this the final straw? Because we didn’t want to be “that” family. The ones that couldn’t control their kids in church, the ones that everyone gave a dirty look when they talk too loud or wouldn’t behave.

    Now that I have children of my own, I know that controlling a two-year-old with a mind and will of her own is like trying to contain a fart in a wind storm. Not happening.

    Not sure I want it to, either. She needs to learn, explore, and develop independence. Mindless obedience may make “good” children, but it makes for crummy citizens.

    It’s almost like we need a separate service for everyone with kids. make the service a little shorter, a little more upbeat, and an occasional reference to My Little Ponies or Octonauts wouldn’t hurt. May not be what church is “supposed” to be about, but my kids could relate, would pay attention, and would want to talk about it afterward.

    Could you even imagine a sermon where they talked about how each My Little Pony relates to one of Jesus’s teachings?

    1. Thanks Elizabeth. Glad you enjoyed it. Oh my gosh ” a fart in a wind storm” I laughed out loud at that. I totally get where you’re coming from. Haha a my little pony sermon – I mean, I bet it could be done! But you’re right. Actually, at some churches I’ve been to, they dismiss the kids to “kids church” during the sermon where they have an age appropriate message. But those churches are few where I’ve seen that happen. Anywho, thanks for stopping by and for sharing your story. Big hugs xox

  92. Thank you for sharing your faith. People need God. Pray that the Holy Spirit will work through you.

  93. Your post title caught me eye – I often wonder the same thing. In order to be PC (Politically Correct) Christianity has little by little been pushed out of mainstream and acceptance – the “mass dulling” of Christianity. Where is comes from is quite hard to point fingers at… yet we all have very busy “noisy” lives where we find it hard to prioritize things.

    Happy Holidays – instead of Merry Christmas… don’t want to leave others out… (although by wishing to this to someone you aren’t in fact saying theirs is not important). Happy Holidays does not in fact acknowledge other’s traditions either.

    Pledge of Allegiance out of school – because one Nation “under God”, implies ??? Someone created the idea that it too alienates other religions… yet that choice of words.

    “The Bible Beater” Reputation – that being Christian means all others are wrong. Going to Hell is pretty scary and who wants to be fear mongered into believing something? Christian or not?

    Church Clergy Reputations – even if it hasn’t been recent, everyone can recall a story where there was some wrong doing by a church clergy and therefor may have a bad taste in their mouth.

    Even at Christmas Meals – I notice people don’t “know” if they are supposed to pray anymore.

    The list continues… the stories about the great things the Church is doing – is often missed. The services, the support… often go unnoticed until people need the services…

    I go to Vineyard Church of Columbus. My pastor Rich Nathan is constantly addressing how to represent Christianity. He constantly arms us with the way to talk and engage in conversations with other Christians and non-Christians. His leadership style is very educational and engaging. He doesn’t ask anything he’s not giving! His leadership style is something to emulate for sure! I think more leadership like this is necessary for Christianity to live more vibrantly in our society!

    I recently asked a friend to come with me after the election… she was feeling very lost and scared. She hadn’t been in over 10+ years. She even stood up and received prayer!!! It’s not everyday you can get someone new, or even have the conversation about your church or maybe answer questions about faith. I find It rarely comes up unless people are feeling upset, or desperate.

    All I do is to extend the invitation when I can, volunteer when I can, and when he calls me to do something… I listen!

    1. Hi Anji, thank you so much for this reflection. Really great food for thought here. Sounds like Rich is a powerful leader! And how terrific about your friend. That’s so awesome. Sounds like you’re doing the right thing! So glad you stopped by! Big hugs xox

  94. I was born and brought up Catholic. If anything is guaranteed to draw someone to Agnosticism it is 14 years of religious indoctrination and propaganda. The thing about religion is that it relies upon adherents believing despite a total lack of evidence. If anyone can provide me with solid, irrefutable evidence of the existence of ANY deity – the Judeo-Christian God, Zeus, Krisha to name a few, I’ll convert on the spot. To quote the motto of The Invisible University – “Accept nothing from words alone”. I don’t believe in string theory either, for exactly the same reason.

    I think another major problem is that mainstream religion in the U.S. is associated by and large with hate. Only ‘religious’ types murder doctors because they believe in the right to life (irony detector registering 11). Religions are overwhelmingly hateful towards our LGBTQ friends, and believe in the oppression of women whom they consider too weak and stupid to exercise control over their own bodies.

    Christian leaders in this country don’t see the disconnect in demanding religion be the basis of daily life of everyone, regardless of individual values and the law, and their inherent patriarchy whilst demanding control over women’s bodies and the application of their beliefs to the law, science and school life. Take any statement by Muslim extremists and replace the words Koran and Allah with Bible and God and I defy you not to say it sounds like Pat Robertson.

    1. Hi there NW. Thank you for sharing this perspective. I’m sorry that you’ve had a negative experience with the church. And I hope that you keep exploring. Because one of the cool things about science is that it works hand in hand with God. You’re right, there are a lot of areas for improvement in organized religion, but there are also terrific positive aspects of it- namely community, a sense of belonging, social activity, being with people who share your beliefs, dependence upon one another, accountability. Anywho-just wanted to offer that little tidbit of food for thought. Thank you for stopping by and i really appreciate you sharing your heart. Big hugs xox

      1. Hi, BBB. I agree. I get the same things from being a football fan that you get from church. Indeed, I wrote a reflection piece on just that subject a couple of years ago. Indulge me:
        Tell a story of “Religion” and then “Faith”

        I’m ever thankful for the inverted commas, otherwise I would be in big trouble. I would argue with the assertion that religion is about being gripped by story. For me, religion, in the strict sense meant anything but. As someone who spent 13 years in Catholic schools, religion meant having the Bible read AT (not to) us, being told what it meant, and what to believe about it. Questioning was always seen as weakness, not as a desire for greater understanding or clarification. Understanding is the enemy of faith, as are reason, logic and truth.
        As far as any story of “religion” goes, growing up in Liverpool, the one religion that transcends all barriers is football. In a famous 1960s interview, Liverpool FC manager Bill Shankly was asked “Some people say that on Merseyside, football is a matter of life and death. Would you agree?”
        To which he replied “Oh no, oh no. It’s much more important than that”.
        All I can say, is that even at a very early age, I knew that Liverpool would be the team I would support. Football in general, and Liverpool in particular are a religion. The fans singing their way through a game, standing on the terraces of the home supporters’ end of the ground were known as “The Kop Choir”. Loyalty is fierce, tenets taken as unshakable truth and never questioned. “Of course we’ll win” “Dalglish is the greatest player of all time” “Champions again this year”
        Every religion has its’ symbolism. For me, it was always the club badge, the mythical “Liver Bird”, a sprig of greenery in its beak on a red background, the sight of the stadium, Anfield. Every team has its’ songs, chants – most of which are unrepeatable, and it’s panoply of Gods and saints. I could rattle off names – Dalglish, Hunt, Yeats, Rush, Paisley, Shankly. The list is almost endless.
        Every religion also has its’ pilgrimage and rites of passage – treks to Wembley Stadium in London for cup finals or ever further afield – Rome, Paris, Sophia, Munich. Anyone who has been on one of these trips can captivate other followers with stories of mishaps, moments of great humour, tension or joy. Like the medieval peasant who walks to Santiago de Compostela and returns home with stories of things seen and done that those who stayed at home will never experience. One of the most powerful phrases in the English language is “I was there”. The “Miracle of Istanbul” means as much to a Liverpool fan as a Canaanite wedding guest seeing water turned to wine. It can stir strong passions, too. I have seen grown men cry as a result of a defeat, and been hugged like a long lost brother by total strangers because of a win.
        Religion provides certainty in an uncertain world. Knowing that there is a game on Saturday can make the hardships and every petty meanness of the week seem bearable. Knowing that a win is certain (no one ever expects to lose) means you know exactly where you will be at a certain time on a certain day. Muslims believe that there are 3 things a man can never know – the source of his next meal, the circumstances of his death and the true name of God. But knowing for certain that you will be at the game on Saturday, surrounded by friends, even if you don’t know them, that you will be part of an exclusive community, all with one thought, one purpose, and one joy can be enough.
        All religions have tests of faith. I grew up during Liverpool’s heyday, from the mid-1970s until the late 80s. Shankly had, to quote him, turned Anfield into “A bastion of invincibility” and the players into a team so good “They would have to send a team from Mars to beat them”. Nothing was impossible, Liverpool became the most successful team in English history, unstoppable, majestic, and unequalled. To quote Bob Paisley, who followed Shankly as manager “Aye, we’ve had our bad times. One year we finished second”. As I have said elsewhere, without bad times, there are no good times, only times. For the last 20 years, diehard reds have been wandering in the wilderness, worshipping false idols and losing their sense of purpose. I have to admit, I have had my own doubts from time to time, but I have never doubted our return to greatness. “Keeping the faith” is all we have sometimes. The prophet will appear and lead us to the Promised Land, a miracle will occur and vanquish our enemies, the “Chosen one” will arise in our darkest hour.
        I know this all sounds a bit over the top, but in reality, football is a religion. The person of faith, singing or chanting , wearing distinctive clothing, beads, shawl, skull cap or turban, eating specific foods, taking some things as absolute truth, moving among those most like him/herself isn’t really all that different from the football fan clad in team colours, scarf around neck chanting the “Holy names” of those he/she “worships” singing songs as a form of reinforcing identity and membership of the group or eating and drinking almost as a ritual, an integral part of the experience. English football clubs even have nicknames with religious connotations – “Saints” “Synners”, “Quakers” “Cardinals” “Choirboys” “Pilgrims” “Shakers” and “Red Devils” dwell amongst their ranks.
        If this is not what the assignment was intended to do, I apologize. To me, a religion is a lens through which we see the world, which helps us create order and structure, gives us a sense of our place in the world, an identity, a way to connect with others, common ground with strangers and reinforcement if we ever have doubts. Football provides this for me. I don’t know what I would do without it.

  95. Hollywood would have us believe Christianity is dead, but it’s not. Jesus is more real than the blood that runs through my veins, and the Holy Spirit blows my mind with the way She brings love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control into my life. If Christianity is dead than I’m the Pope.

    1. Hi Daniel, thanks for this response. You’re right, Jesus is very much so alive in our hearts. I’ve got to personally translate that to taking it outside of myself and taking it to the world! Big hugs xox

  96. Thank you for boldly sharing your concerns. I’m not Christian, or religious, but I try to hold respect for all religious viewpoints. To speak from the root of it, I do think one of the main reasons for the decline in followers is that our society is pushing for more materialistic virtues. We are so obsessed with our money, our technology, our cars, celebrity figures, etc.—it overshadows the authenticity that comes with the connection of faith. This is not to say that all people who are atheists are gluttonous or materialistic, of course. We just have more distractions than we did even ten, or twenty, years ago.

    1. Thanks for this reflection. That’s s great great insight about our those other obsessions overshadowing the need and presence of faith. That’s so true. It is a different world out there. So glad you stopped by. Big hugs xox

  97. Very very well said. Sometimes it is hard to wear our faith out in public and I can only imagine how much harder it has to be for someone like yourself who lives in a big city. I know I’ve told you once before but it still hold true, God has your back and always will for you are a warrior and always will be. I for one thank you for all that you do to bring others to the light of Christ. God bless 🙂

  98. I just finished my final edit of my post that was almost touching on this same vein, albeit from a “doubter” (i.e. atheist/agnostic/heathen haha) trying to have a little more faith.

    I found a church that is so unchurchy and the people there are overflowing with the message of Christ that it is almost infectious and they are so excited I am beginning a relationship with God and they are helping me find answers instead of posing more questions of making me feel excluded.

    I appreciated your sentiment and want to say Christianity is dead but the conventional format of the church may be dying in a sense, though in my post I touch on the notion that what we view as “the right way to church” maybe was never the intention, and a global community that is more inclusive than exclusive when possible was by and large what we are to aim for! (Did I just say we? It came so naturally!)

    1. Thanks so much for this reflection. That’s so awesome that you’ve found a great church! Sounds truly wonderful. Yes. Let’s be a global, inclusive community! Such a beautiful thought. Glad you stopped by! Hugs and love xox

  99. „Is Christianity dead?“

    Yes. But the resurrection will follow. The good thing about it: when the mass loses interest, the true believers remain. Be the salt of the earth. “Oh yeah, keep your head up, keep your heart strong / No, no, no, no, keep your mind set, keep your hair long / Oh my, my darlin’, keep your head up, keep your heart strong”

    1. Thanks for this reflection. Yes, the true believers remain. We’ve got to always be welcoming to everyone. So that people want to see why we believe 🙂 hope you’re having a great day! Hugs and love xox