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Quitting Church: Why the Faithful are Fleeing and What to Do about It Paperback – Bargain Price, September 1, 2009
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However, after this intriguing start, the remainder of the book feels flimsy. In chapter after chapter, we hear one description after another of (a) reasons people give for leaving their church, (b) inventive new paths that some people are trying, and (c) recent history of failed attempts at inventiveness. The real failure is in Duin's inability to make persuasive judgments (indeed, almost any judgments) about anything beyond the complaints of people who have left their church.
Page after page after page is filled with direct quotes from people who have left their church, with their own opinions, memories and anecdotes being presented as fact (often following up a poll or study). Time and again we hear about people leaving their church because the pastor was "too controlling." In my own experience, such claims are often made by people who present unworkable, poorly-planned or -executable ideas and are rejected. Duin, unfortunately, piles these anecdotes together as though they were actual evidence.
Let me stop for a moment and state something clearly: I don't have any idea whether or not most pastors are, indeed, too controlling.Read more ›
By TERRY EASTLAND
September 2, 2008; Page A21
By Julia Duin
(BakerBooks, 186 pages, $17.99)
[Sunday Morning, Staying Home]
By now we know that evangelical Protestants -- generally supportive of Republican candidates but eagerly courted by Democrats this year -- are a crucial voting bloc in the November election. Thus it was big news when Rick Warren, the evangelical megachurch pastor, recently asked both John McCain and Barack Obama about their religious beliefs, in part to address the concerns of church-going "value voters." But what about the evangelicals themselves? Is all well within their communities? Is their own passion for church-going as strong as their supposed political passion?
According to Julia Duin, a religion reporter for the Washington Times, more and more evangelicals are in fact fleeing their churches. Indeed, Ms. Duin regards church-quitting, at least among evangelicals, as nothing less than an epidemic. The problem, in her view, is not in the souls of the church quitters but in the character of the churches they choose to leave. "Something," she observes, "is not right with . . . evangelical church life."
The faults she points to -- relying on her own reporting and survey data -- are many. They are surprising, too, running counter to the stereotype of evangelicals bonding happily in their churches.Read more ›
The strongest chapter in the book deals with singles. Ms. Duin questions the mindset of churches that do not meet the needs of singles or deal with their spiritual concerns. She correctly condemns the refusal of pastors to address sexual longing in real terms and wonders, if marriage is the normal state for Christians, why do churches not attempt to find mates for unattached members? This chapter alone is worth the cost of the book.
Other sections of the book contain interesting insights, even if I do not agree with Ms. Duin's conclusions. Her chapter on women, for example, is correct in pointing out how they have often been used as churchly cannon-fodder fit to be mere nursery workers or kiddie teachers, but this can be fixed without resorting to the solutions proposed by secular modernity.
If you are not Pentecostal or Charismatic, you may be put off by the author's occasional longing for the spiritual excitement of the Jesus Movement of the '70's, but don't let that theological quirk deprive you of the benfit of the rest of this well-written book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Pretty well summarizes it...what worked a century ago does not work todayPublished 14 months ago by Kenneth A. Peterson
I read bits and pieces of the book and know enough of Ms. Duin's work to feel qualified to make a comment. What I didn't see addressed is what I believe is part of what Ms. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Seeker of Truth
Good synopsis on why people are not going to the traditional churches.Published 17 months ago by Terry C
I first obtained a copy from a thrift shop. Didn't put it down until I had completed reading it. Ordered 10 other used copies and gave them to friends and to my ministers. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Jarrett G. Melvin
In this thought-provoking book, author, journalist and committed-Christian Julia Duin looks at the epidemic of people simply walking away from church. Read morePublished on April 5, 2014 by The Reviewer Formerly Known as Kurt Johnson
I read the book and reread several chapters. Alarming to say that out country and churches are heading away from the traditional church. Read morePublished on December 30, 2013 by phylfin
I appreciate that this book was written from the standpoint of research as well as personal experience. Read morePublished on September 27, 2013 by Sue