The Corner

At Least the Communion Bread Will Be Vegan

In response to Nrd: Vienna in The Hizzy

David: About those up-and-coming progressive Protestant churches:

I grew up in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which has long had progressive inclinations — it was resolutely anti-creed from its founding in the early 19th century, i.e., way before it was cool — but which by the time I was baptized had, at the national level, at least, become effectively a DNC meeting with prayer (if you can imagine such a thing).

The denomination, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, reaffirmed its progressive bona fides last month by coming out against Indiana’s state Religious Freedom Restoration Act. The General Board even voted to take its 2017 General Assembly out of the state (following the law’s “fix,” they reneged).

You can tell that such bold stands for “inclusive community” and the rest are, like, super-edgy and down with the kids because the Disciples’ membership has shrunk by more than two-thirds since it peaked in the late 1950s — and that’s a generous count. The 2014 Yearbook shows that, of the approximately half-a-million members, only about 300,000 are considered “participating.” Keep in mind, moreover, that a majority of the total membership qualifies for AARP, and a plurality qualifies for Social Security.

The Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) is, like every church, filled with great saints. I have been inordinately blessed by the people in my own South Texas congregation who mentored and encouraged and challenged me. But corporately, my denomination is the test case for “becoming, in essence, traditionally progressive.” And the results are exactly what you’d expect.

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