Archive for August, 2015

Happy Times

Monday, August 10th, 2015

Our annual Vacation Bible School started today and the program was filled to bursting with 21 children. While we aim to provide religious content this week–including detailed knowledge of the story of Noah’s Ark–my main hope for the program is that the children who attend have a good time.

Many adults look back on their youthful experiences of church and only remember the bad things: poor discipline or excessive discipline, boredom, rigid dogma. Any useful religion that they might have picked up as children was overwhelmed by the negative memories.

So, at the very least, the church can try to make its young attendees happy. Vacation Bible School and Sunday School can be remembered as fun. Maybe even recalled as times when children have glimpsed the joy of God. —J. Douglas Ousley

Diversity Disappointment

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

A recent Pew Research Poll ranks 31 American religious groups according to their racial diversity. The Episcopal Church ranks 25 out of 31.

After decades of emphasizing racial inclusiveness and affirmative action appointments, it must surely disappointing to church leaders that our church remains overwhelmingly white. Only 4% black and 2% Latino. Asians barely register.

This is not true in our diocese–or in our parish, for example; both would be higher, though I don’t know the actual numbers. But the national data suggest that simply appointing or electing non-whites to high office will not itself bring rank-and-file people of color into our congregations.

I don’t have any new and bright ideas. It’s interesting, though, that the most diverse denominations–such as Seventh-Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Roman Catholics–emphasize religion and faith over outreach and politics. —J. Douglas Ousley