I believe we are living in the days of the death of the church. I believe this not just because members are vanishing and churches are closing and the whole structure is falling in on itself. I believe it because of the disorientation, the convulsions, and the desperate denials I have witnessed from the inside. I believe there are those living who will see the doors close in their lifetime.
A colleague and I are exploring the possibilities of writing a book about our thoughts and experiences of this phenomenon. We both have seen it, felt it, and lamented it as ordained ministers working within the church, each of us for something approaching forty years. So I have begun writing drafts of personal essays on the topic from various angles, and we continue to correspond as the vision for the book becomes clear.
But this is such a profound reality, and so devastating for people of faith, I have also begun work on a parallel project on the same theme, a memoir, as I reflect on my life in the church. The church's demise would not be so painful were it not for the rich blessings so many of us have received as lifelong church members. So it is these blessings, as well as the troubles, that I want to chronicle, looking back over the 65 years since my baptism.