The Unchurched

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous Discussion' started by seagull, Jan 25, 2014.

  1. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    I rather dislike this phrase since it comes across as "superior" and patronising but with the increase in secularism and decline in church attendances it has become increasingly marked. In England it manifests itself as an issue when people who do not normally attend church come to a funeral, wedding or baptism. Sometimes they sit at the back and talk amongst themselves. Normally they don't join in the hymns. If they are in the majority, this can be an embarrassment.

    Our Vicar is quite good about this. She realises that they are not used to church services and manages to explain things in a friendly way without being patronising. Hymns are sometimes replaced by CD playings.

    I wondered if this was an English thing? English people are liable to be self-conscious and inhibited. I once attended a funeral in Australia where I'm sure the majority of those present were not regular churchgoers, yet they all sung the hymn Immortal Invisible with great gusto.

    Incidentally, if you attend a football (soccer) game in England you will hear loud and rumbustious chanting. Ironically some of these chants are to hymn tunes.
     
  2. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    i agree, unchurched does seem a bit off-putting. But its a great deal nicer, and more accurate imho, than unsaved, which my brother the holiness preacher uses for almost anyone who doesnt attend his small church. And its much more understandable to most folks than saying uncatechized, probably more accurate than this term as well. i find an interesting result of televangelism and radio outreach ministries is that some folksmay know and sing the old hymns with greater familiarity having rarely attended a local church than those who attend churches every week...probably because their worship has been co-opted by house bands ans (shutter) contemporary christian pop.
     
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  3. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    We need to evangelize the unchurched.
     
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  4. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Isn't that a bit of a truism?

    And a tall order. Any ideas?
     
  5. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    A group of 12 guys spreading the religion to the whole world is a tall order
     
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  6. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    I must say my impression differs from yours. I'm one of the (unpatronised) unchurched and therefore attend church only for funerals, weddings, baptisms and services for organisations with which I'm connected. I have not seen people at the back talking (except for those who are trying to stop their child crying, of course!). It is sometimes a problem for an unbeliever to know how much of the service to join in, because one doesn't want to make a great show of one's own opinions but equally one doesn't want to step over too far into what a believer might think was blasphemy. Certainly I always join in the hymns, and my experience is that most of us unchurched do, unless perhaps too unaccustomed to singing or, as you say, too embarrassed. Maybe it's a generation thing – perhaps those of us who grew up with the sound of Christian worship around us find it easier to join in than those much younger. I do find many young people rather unfamiliar with what the Church does behind those large, solid, ancient doors.
     
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  7. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Of course, I have to wonder why as "an unbeliever" you come here? Surely the fact that you do shows that you have at least some interest in or affinity to church matters? I'm not sure I'd label you "unchurched". By the way, what do you mean by "unpatronised"?

    A few months ago I got into some trouble here because I confessed to having some trouble with some parts of the Creeds. But rightly or wrongly I still join in. Recently I went to eucharist with a cousin who was a non-communicant, occasional churchgoer and I noticed he did not join in when we said the Prayer of Humble Access, which I thought was fair enough.

    Yes, I think you could well be right about it being a generation thing.

    Incidentally, as one who watches football (soccer), my feelings when I've been to a rugby match are similar to those I have when I go to a RC mass. I can follow most of what's going on, but I don't feel in my element: not one of the tribe.
     
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  8. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    So.....?
     
  9. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    Yes, I'm interested. I'm interested in lots of things. And I'm English so, as you know, the CofE is my church, believer or not. Unpatronised? You said you thought it perhaps patronising to call someone unchurched. I was just saying I didn't find it patronising.

    I'm not a Christian, but that doesn't stop me being something of a fan of the Church of England.

    But don't get me talking about soccer. I'm certainly not of that tribe, I fear.
     
  10. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    Thanks. Yes, I later realised your point about "unpatronised".

    As for your second paragraph, there are many like you. And we need you!

    Being a member of the soccer tribe can cause me similar problems as to when I say I'm an Anglican: the odd smirk and more. But there's inevitably a degree of overlap. Most Football Clubs have CofE chaplains. And more often than not discussions over post-church coffee on Sundays concern the previous day's results. I incidentally there's a good book called, "Thank God for Football" which examines how churches were very involved with founding many of our clubs.
     
  11. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    So we should speak in our churches and to the secular world around us about our faith and the truth of it. Our ministers must stand unafraid on the word of God and refuse to compromise with the world.
     
  12. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    I'm not sure quite what you mean by that but prima facie it does not look like being a particularly effective way of evangelising the unchurched.
     
  13. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I think of the abolitionist movement, which steadfastly remained opposed to slavery in spite of mockery, persecution, and downright violence from the pro-slavery forces is a good example Seagull, but certainly not the only one. The fact is there can be no compromise on this issue. Either a man is free or he is not, theres precious little room to negotiate on that point. If being uncompromising was ineffective, how much more ineffective would it have been to compromise on the fundamental premise that all humans are free. The same iz true in relation to today's prolife movement. there can be no compromise here. either all human life is deserving of dignity and protection or only some human life is. The call that abortion is wrong is not only the right call to make, it's not even a difficult call to make. it seems to me that, to botch a quote from mother theresa, if abortion isnt wrong
     
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  14. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    then very few deeds can be called wrong. And while many people have differing ideas on the proper scope an role of government, most would agree that if government is obligated to do anything is society, it is obligated to protect innocent life from those who wish to destroy or kill it....except when its a baby in the womb and the one wishing to killit is a physician at the election of the baby's mother. Abortion is the great evil of our time, state sanctioned murder. there,can be absolutely no compromise on the premisthat human life begins at conception and rmds with natural death and must be respected and protected S such.
    Th
    ese are social issues but the same argument holds for theological ones.
     
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  15. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    what compromise can there be on the divinity of christ, his reurrection, etc?

    (as you can surmise, i'm having issues witn the website)
     
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  16. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    But, LL, is the matter of preserving all human life a matter on which there can be no compromise? Isn't the truth somewhat more complex? Would you oppose all killing in war? all killing in self defence? all killing even when that is the only way to prevent a rape? Aren't moral decisions sometimes somewhat more complicated than the "no compromise" approach would suggest? And as to slavery, there was compromise on the road to abolition – at least there was in Britain, which was early in the field. The abolition of the trade came first, even while slavery was not declared illegal.
     
  17. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    hmmm...I think you miread my post(s). I never said anything about preserving all human life. what is said was that abortion is an easy issue. since, to my knowledge no baby ever waged a war, raped or murdered anyone from the womb, I don' t see how any of your scenarios could possibly muddythe waters
     
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member Anglican

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    with regard to abortion. Maybe you should explain why you find babies equivalent to rapists and murderers for the purposes of justifying their murder. For the life of me I can't see how you can.
     
  19. seagull

    seagull Active Member

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    I think you are wandering way off topic. This thread is about the "Unchurched", not about slavery, abortion, etc.
     
  20. Onlooker

    Onlooker Active Member

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    Of course I don't find anything of the sort, any more, I'm sure, than you regard the unchurched as equivalent to abortionists and slavers. The question is whether it is productive to try to persuade people (here, the unchurched) by displaying an uncompromising certainty or by engaging with the world. As to slavery, Wilberforce adopted the second technique. Here he is in his first speech to the House in his first attempt to ban the slave trade (the quote is from Cobbett's version):

    I wish exceedingly, in the outset, to guard both myself and the House from entering into the subject with any sort of passion. It is not their passions I shall appeal to—I ask only for their cool and impartial reason; and I wish not to take them by surprise, but to deliberate, point by point, upon every part of this question. I mean not to accuse any one, but to take the shame upon myself, in common, indeed, with the whole parliament of Great Britain, for having suffered this horrid trade to be carried on under their authority. We are all guilty—we ought all to plead guilty, and not to exculpate ourselves by throwing the blame on others; and I therefore deprecate every kind of reflection against the various descriptions of people who are more immediately involved in this wretched business.
     
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