The horror! Where will the next generation of grifters come from?

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I don't really see this as a problem. American Evangelical fundamentalism needs to die out.

I know of a young man in his thirties. The young man has spent his entire adult life serving in a poorer neighborhood with homelessness and gang issues. The neighborhood is his home and he genuinely loves it and his neighbors who live there.

And when I say serves, I mean, he rolls up his sleeves and pitches in. He organizes school supply drives every year for neighborhood kids that need them. He organized a service to put together meals for the local homeless population and goes down to their encampments to bring them food, clothing, and whatever else he can gather from donors or buy himself. He ran for public office in his hometown because he genuinely loves the community and wanted to be in a position to expand services to the poor. Perhaps more importantly to folks here, while his faith inspires him, he respects the separation of church and state and doesn't use his position to force his faith on anyone.

The guy is one of three people I know of whom I would look at and say, "That's what a Christian should be." Statistically, there have to be more people like him out there. And frankly, serving as a pastor would diminish his ability to love his neighbors and I have zero doubt he would hate having to carve out hours from his day to prepare sermons, listen to petty church issues, and do things that took time away from his genuine service to other people.

So I have to say that pastors are worried about the wrong legacy they're leaving behind. If you've done your job, pastor, the rest of your flock should be leaving your churches to go out there and actively and demonstrably love their communities and neighbors by helping people.

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Not really surprising. I would expect as well that the Catholic Church is having a tough time finding women who want to be nuns or men who want to be p̵e̵d̵o̵p̵h̵i̵l̵e̵s̵ priests, especially among Millennials and Gen-Z folk. Reason is simple: the word is out. Religion is a fraud.

Between the 24-hour news cycle (thank you, Ted Turner!) and the internet, exposure of less-than laudatory stories about scamming evangelicals, abusive Jehovah's Witnesses, and raping priests is becoming far more common. The untoward underbelly of multiple churches has become public knowledge, and at least some of the public isn't reacting to it very well. As has been reported by Hemant and others, church attendance is on a down-swing, as is identification with any particular denomination. The nones are on the rise, as are organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation and American Atheists. Religions now face blowback like they NEVER have before, and many are ill-equipped to counter such a response.

Mostly, this is just one more indicator that religion's time has PASSED and that maybe ... just MAYBE ... reason's time has arrived.

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You'll have to pardon my complete lack of sympathy in this case, I'm afraid.

So far as I can tell, this is the religious establishment reaping what they've sown. This is the result of insisting on cruel, dehumanizing, give to the rich and steal from the poor policies various conservative churches have been pushing for at least decades now. This is the result of mistreating several minorities for what appears to be the sake of soothing whiny children over their hurt fee-fees. This the the outcome for not denouncing the immoral behavior of the con men, abusers, and power/money chasers too often seen in positions of power in churches these days. This is also the consequence for failing to protest corporate America's rewriting of the legal landscape to remove employee protections to the point most working folks just don't have the time or energy to be a leader of anything. If your precious Jesus can't save you from yourselves, I'm not sure what the rest of us can be expected to do here.

Sure, current church leadership can complain that churches aren't doing enough to build new leaders if they want, but at the end of the day, the problem runs much, much deeper.

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"When one person suffers from a delusion, it is called insanity. When many people suffer from a delusion it is called a Religion." ~ Robert M. Pirsig

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What a heartbreaking story. Very sad. What's everyone having for lunch?

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The Joel Osteen's of the world are in the entertainment business, and religion is secondary. They put on a show, tell people what they want to hear, and rake in the cash. However, the further you go down the Christian food-chain the worse it seems to get. They're selling a product fewer and fewer people are buying. I have maintained for some time that organized religion is going to have a hard time surviving the internet with its influence intact. There is just too much easily accessible information to be had, and people all across the free-thought spectrum now realize they are not nearly as alone as they once thought. With every passing day, religion cedes ground they will never retake.

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OT: Last night I watched the new Netflix documentary SCOUTS HONOR, about that pesky little kid-rape problem that forced the Scouts to declare bankruptcy. I was pleased that the film goes into the connections between the Scouts and organized religion (with the Mormons and the Catholics getting pride of place, of course), though I'd say it doesn't hammer the point home quite hard enough for me.

And the film points out, what a number of us have said in discussions here, that when a guilty organization declares bankruptcy, it serves the interests of that organization, NOT its victims. The victims, by and large, are shit out of luck.

The other thing that struck me is that the spokesman for the Scouts behaves remarkably like religious leaders when they're confronted with the horrible facts about their congregations. He smiles a lot, jokes a lot, laughs out loud a lot, deflects a lot, all in an effort to make the scandal seem trivial. His manner is so much like the "Provincial" of the Marianist order at the hearing into the two of his colleagues who assaulted me, it made my flesh creep.

I recommend the film to anyone interested (and has access to Netflix movies). But I'd watch on an empty stomach.

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I have an anecdotal story about my brother, who graduated with a Masters in theology (after getting a Bachelors in Chemistry), and wanted to become a pastor (he became "born again" while in college). He got a job running a church in a tiny town in eastern PA. His salary was a house to live in and $6000 a YEAR.

His wife had every intention of working, she had her own Bachelors and had already lined up a job, but the Deacons were horrified. "OH NO, a wife a of a pastor is too busy helping her husband running the church and taking care of her own duties (unpaid for, of course)!!"

He got out after a year and never looked back, ended up a Group Manager of a research team in a pharmaceutical company.

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I really don't see a problem here. The decline of religion, especially among the younger generations, means that there won't be a 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 for as many replacement pastors.

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I'm guessing that their current problems in finding new blood relate back to something Christian apologist Josh McDowell alluded to. He claimed that the Internet was the biggest threat to Christianity.

Christianity operates best in darkness. Throw a spotlight on it via knowledge and it skitters beneath the refrigerator.

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"I imagine some young Christians don’t want to be a pastor for the same reason they don’t want to do PR for a tobacco company. Yeah, it’s a job, but everyone’s gonna look at you with suspicion."

Never mind being a pastor - depending on where you live, just identifying as a christian can net you the same reaction (happened to me once when I still considered myself a christian and attended church....and casually mentioned to a group of friends that this was why I would have to bow out of a planned Sunday outing. And this was decades ago, back in the late 80's - the time of the Bakkers, the Falwells, the Robertsons, etc. The group's attitude toward me subtly changed after that. If that had happened today rather than some 35-40 years ago, I imagine they would all take off running, and who could blame them?)

Christians have no one but themselves to blame. They've tainted their own brand with their obnoxious overreach, their blatant hypocrisy, their arrogance, their prideful and willful ignorance, their hate-filled rhetoric, their casual acceptance of violence against their enemies, their casual acceptance of rapists and pedophiles among their ranks, their vicious behavior toward anyone not like them, and their whole-hearted jumping into bed with the worst elements of extreme right-wing politicos for a chance to force their belief system on the entire country - a country they consider theirs and theirs alone by divine right.

When their leaders behave like the very worst swivel-eyed cartoon villains imaginable for all the world to see, it takes an astonishing dearth of self-awareness to NOT realize that this is why congregations are thinning out.

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>>> " Many of the most popular pastors in the country—the ones whose names you’ve heard of—aren’t in charge because of their theological degrees. They just know how to command a room..."

In a word: showbiz. But then, we're told that Jesus preached to multitudes, so I guess it makes sense for his adherents to follow suit.

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I think the unwillingness to adjust the most toxic parts of their platform led to many younger people losing interest. Who wants to be associated with a label stands for bigotry, racism, sexism, resistance to progress, etc? But the real killer was the embrace of Trump. In corporate terms, they suffered irreparable brand damage! Ironically, "pride comes before a fall" is biblical, and that was what did them in - believing their brand was strong enough to absorb Trumpism, when really his absorbed theirs. Now they are associated with Trumpian values, so it isn't too surprising young people want none of that! Just anecdotal, but I was in NYC, and walked past a large church in Manhattan as it was letting out. It was like something from a sci-fi movie set in a future where humans have become infertile and there are no young people! Granted, large, progressive city, but it was pretty eye opening.

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“It is becoming harder to find mature young Christians who want to be pastors.”

I'm sure finding immature young kkkristians who want to be pastors is no problem.

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