This is a brief comment on something that just caught my eye and jogged my memory. Every now and then someone points out that affiliation with a Christian church has declined steeply over the last half century in New Zealand. Now, I’m not the sort of myopic person to think that trends in my own neighbourhood are global indicators of anything. But my other and perhaps more interesting thought is that this shows much less than one might suppose. The nature of the relationship between Christian faith and official membership of a denomination has shifted significantly. The reality is that this generation, as opposed to that of the mid twentieth century, is much less likely to see official membership as important. This is all the more so in large evangelical or Pentecostal churches where the question of church membership might never even arise.
It was interesting to see this thought reflected in an article in the LA Times today, citing a study that illustrates the fact that a decline in church affiliation is not the result of a lack of religious conviction in young people.