I was happy to post my second article this morning on the Consortium website, www.washtheocon.org
I notice over the weekend in the Sunday Washington Post [p. A2] www.washintonpost.com
that the Southern Baptist Convention members have seen a decline in the number of baptisms this past year. They are developing a plan to reverse this decline–a decline that is quite unusual for them.
As I have heard in numerous conversations throughout the Consortium, membership decline is not limited to the Southern Baptists. Decline is widespread. Many good efforts have been put into place in the last two decades or more to reverse such decline–but these efforts seem to have had modest success at best.
Such efforts have tended to emphasize denominational distinctiveness, rather than commonalities among Christians.
My own thought is that we need to take more seriously the results of our ecumenical dialogues. Often these documents and the results of of our personal conversations gather dust on our shelves–or in our minds–rather than being put into practice.
The results of our dialogues and conversations offer us a richness of insight into the Christian tradition which will enhance our efforts at evangelizing the young. I argue that ecumenism means more rather than less–a greater richness and a deeper faithfulness to Christ.
My observations, limited as they are, indicate that most of the young are not interested in recreating the divisions of the past–rather they are looking for a rich spirituality and a Christian understanding to lead them into the future.
Together we have such a message.
June 12, 2008