Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Suburban Captivity of the Churches - 3

Industrial life drives the lower classes into apathy, making them a prey to psychosis and religious escape; competition on the economic ladder drives the middle classes into frenetic attempts to demonstrate their adequacy, which leads to despairing emptiness.

The apathy of the lower classes renders them inaccessible to the ministries of organization churches, for the manipulation of words and people in the organization churches is alien to lower-class life.

This organizational style of religious life, on the other hand, is deadeningly familiar to the manipulated middle classes. Thus, the cleavage within industrial society is mirrored in the styles of Protestant religious life.

Pastors experience the deformation of religious life most acutely in their sense of alienation from the significant spheres of contemporary life. Their ministries certainly touch the sufferings of private life - illness, death, familial estrangement - but they seldom intersect with the collective structures that shape the lives of their congregations.

The pastor runs an ambulance service, so to speak - an important and indispensable aspect of the Church's ministry; but his services in this respect are performed without ever contacting the powers that shape the destiny of the metropolis and the world.

Religion is now relegated to the sphere of personal emotional adjustment.

~ The Suburban Captivity of the Churches, Gibson Winter, 1962, Chapter 7 "The Renewal of the Metropolis", pgs 195-196

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