25 Signs You Might Be a Mainline Church Member

1. Your NPR tote bag is perfect for carrying your Sunday School lesson plans.

2. Relative to inflation, the annual church budget is about half the size of what it was thirty years ago (on a related note, so is the volunteer base).

3. A good sermon is important and all, but you’re pretty confident the Holy Spirit knows how to tell time, and that your pastor should know how to as well.

4. Your pastor calls attention to their reading of The New York Times a bit too much. “We get it, pastor — you love Paul Krugman!”

5. Your pastor quotes Martin Luther King Jr. and Mother Teresa so frequently that you wonder if they’re aware that other historical figures exist.

6. You’ve served as a deacon, treasurer, board chair, worship committee chair, and property committee chair…sometimes all at once!

7. The walls in the nursery desperately need to be repainted, but before doing so you have to check to find out if anyone who was friends with the artist who painted the current mural decades ago is still alive.

8. You wonder how it’s 2016 and women are still denied ordination in so many denominations. You also wonder why senior ministers in mainline churches are almost always men even though there are currently more women than men in the divinity schools.

9.  Half of your fellow members are on the church board. And you’d be shocked if Robert had any rules you all don’t already know.

10. There’s a lot of excitement about that new, young couple that’s been attending your services lately. They’re in their 50s.

11. You find yourself saying “If we can get just one more year out of the church furnace” on a yearly basis.

12. There’s a good chance you switched your membership from a more fundamentalist tradition because you had a hard time believing that people like Gandhi could be burning in hell.

13. Instead of having Sunday School classes for multiple age groups, your church has one combined class for grades one through twelve.

14. Relatedly, your children’s director finds added value to the Bible verse, “Where two or three are gathered together…”

15. You love America and all, but you’re a little worried that people run Christianity and nationalism together a bit too much.

16. You love a lot of the old hymns, but you draw the line at “Onward Christian Soldiers.”

17. You don’t think it would be an entirely bad idea for God to be referred to as a Man less often.

18. The church carpet hasn’t been replaced since 1962.

19. You really like to write out your prayers.

20. Some members you know can recall the good old days when Sunday School classes were so full that makeshift classes had to meet in the janitor’s closet (but part of you suspects they’re stretching the truth).

21. A lot of people in your church are okay with the idea that you can honor the relationship between Adam and Eve as well as between Adam and Steve (although this has led several members to leave your church or to start a new church altogether).

22. You’re a big fan of heaven, and you definitely want to go there when you die, but you think Christianity at its best should emphasize life before death as much as life after death.

23. You kind of like that “Coexist” bumper sticker.

24. You think it’s okay for the Bible to be interpreted figuratively, and not just literally.

25. You’re not sure if it’s the coffee or the donuts that draw you to fellowship hour. And you really love potluck dinners.


UPDATE: 30 April 2016

A bunch of people have sent me some fun ones to add:

26. You go to a Hillary campaign rally to hear/see Bill, and half of your Sunday School class is there. You take a deep sigh as your eyes well up, thinking “These are my people!”

27. Despite all the rainy days your congregation has had, it’s never rainy enough to actually use the rainy day fund. 

28. Your denominational headquarters actually has lots and lots of money, but the vast majority of it falls under the category of “restricted funds.”

29. You are currently in the middle of a two-year process to “transform,” “revitalize,” or “rethink”, because it’s been 10 years since you went through Strategic Spiritual Journey, Unbinding, or “visioning.”

30. Your pastors published a book on the “Emergent Church” just as the Emergent Church quit being a thing. (FTW)

Feel free to add your own in the comments!


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Thomas Merton

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Introducing “Megan’s Rainbow” — a free group for LGBTQ teens

Brentwood Christian Church

Megan'sRainbowOPtion3Megan’s Rainbow: An LGBTQ Group for Teens
The mission of Megan’s Rainbow is to provide a safe space for LGBTQ teens to interact with peers, share coping skills, and enhance their understanding of self and others. Our goal is to foster resiliency and healthy choices within the individual while promoting unity within our community.

This is a free group that meets at Brentwood Christian Church for teens 14-17 years-old. Participants must have parent/guardian permission.

When: 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month
Time: 7:30-9:00 p.m.

Through a variety of therapeutic and expressive arts activities, group participants are offered an opportunity to do the following:

  • develop healthy coping mechanisms
  • develop interpersonal and group process skills
  • develop effective communication skills
  • develop and express thoughts and feelings through writing and journaling
  • develop an awareness and gain insights into interactions between self and others
  • develop improved self-awareness and self-acceptance

Reasons for the overwhelming…

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Justice Calls is now available!

“In JCover Designustice Calls: Sermons of Welcome and Affirmation, Rev. Snider has collected a treasure trove of sermons affirming the welcome of LGBT persons at the table of God’s love. Some are carefully exegetical, some deeply personal, all are carefully crafted and full of grace. Starting with the call for equality and ending with a call for the transformation of the church, this volume walks the journey of God’s affirming love for all with both care and courage.”

Rev. Mark C. Johnston, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Open & Affirming Ministry Program
Gay, Lesbian, and Affirming Disciples Alliance
Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Order here

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