"Give thanks to the Lord... Make known among the nations what the Lord has done." - Psalm 105:1 (NIV)
National Geographic reports that the world's newest religion is no religion. The 'nones' (the religiously non-affiliated) now make up almost a quarter of the U.S. population. In the past decade, U.S. nones have overtaken Catholics, mainline Protestants and all followers of non-Christian faiths.
There are several theories afloat as to why more and more people are opting to become nones. I believe one reason is because the church still suffers from a lot of bad PR. So much of what many people identify as religious is defined by the religious conservatives who dominate much of the media.
When the United Church of Christ launched its 'God Is Still Speaking' media campaign some years ago, many people, including myself, had no idea that there even existed a mainline Protestant Christian denomination which had embraced critical thinking and been such a progressive agent of justice in the past century.
I, and countless others, have found a Christian home because the United Church of Christ made a bold decision to tell its story... and to re-aquaint the world with the Still Speaking God.
The Psalmist admonishes us to not only give thanks to God, but to let the nations know why we give thanks to God. In this age of atheism, agnosticism and nones, we must still make a compelling case for the value of faith-based community that is not blind to the dangers of parochial thinking and the atrocities committed in the name of religion.
According to the G.K. Chesterton, "Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult and left untried."
Lord, the church may have left the building, but use me to help the world understand how vital it still is for human community. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.