So William Murchison, currently senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and the author of There’s More to Life Than Politics, has a new book out: Mortal Follies: Episcopalians and the Crisis of Mainline Christianity.
An Episcopalian himself, Murchison takes a stab at the decrepit carcasses of “progressive” churches. As he notes in a recent Townhall column, in the context of the recent Pew study regarding confessional drift in America:
The Peace Corps in ecclesiastical drag is what modern churches often resemble. You want to work for sustainable development? Well, then, off to church we go. It sounds a little silly, because it is silly. The government and a complex of secular organizations already address these concerns, often quite intelligently. The ordering of the human relationship to God is the normal purpose of religion. Of course, as the New York Times’ front-page story reminds us, no one is required to believe in God. Whoever wants can form a secular humanist society in order to do whatever secular humanist societies do: chiefly, it seems, rail at religious “stupidities.”
The non-beauty, sometimes, of the drift away from church affiliation is that the drifter — as the Pew study shows — wants to believe, but receives inadequate encouragement from those supposedly in the business of encouraging. Great numbers of Christian ministers seem to have missed their calling as research scientists, public policy experts, or congressmen.
In an interview, Murchison nevertheless expressed optimism, rooted in the power of the Gospel:
“I happen to think this is a wonderful time for evangelism,” he shares. “I’m too old, at 67, to be a pessimist; I’m more of an optimist. And I believe that God’s in charge — and he will take us through the trials of today, and he will bring his people where he wants them to be.”
The question for some highly placed bishops is — will they get there with them?