Wednesday, July 23, 2014

On Driving By Dead Churches

It's rather melancholy, driving through some formerly middle class areas and seeing how the church "landscape" has changed. Many of the old red brick suburban churches are shuttered now, their still-tended cemeteries the only signs of their former congregations. Or else the buildings have been gifted or sold to immigrant churches. In their place are storefront churches, as transient as their congregants, nestled among the liquor stores and check cashing establishments. "Permanence is the illusion of every age", as Mark Steyn once said. It may be that the fading of the mainline Protestant denominations will be no more than the falling of an oak after its acorns have sown a forest--much of middle America's thrift, generosity, resilience, optimism and perhaps most importantly sense of stability comes from that tradition. But once there are no more formal institutions actively transmitting it to the next generations, who knows what will happen?