In a recent New York Times piece by Ross Douthat, he offers a scathing but spot on critique of the current state of the liberal church. In it he walks through the decline of the Episcopal Church and it’s seemingly indifferent attitude to trying to turn this around.
Both religious and secular liberals have been loath to recognize this crisis. Leaders of liberal churches have alternated between a Monty Python-esque “it’s just a flesh wound!” bravado and a weird self-righteousness about their looming extinction.
But, what makes this article most fascinating and worth a read is how accurate his social critique of the liberal movement is. According to Douthat the church liberal movement has lost its way. The church at one point was able to participate in more cultural defining moments and have clear voice.
But if liberals need to come to terms with these failures, religious conservatives should not be smug about them. The defining idea of liberal Christianity — that faith should spur social reform as well as personal conversion — has been an immensely positive force in our national life. No one should wish for its extinction, or for a world where Christianity becomes the exclusive property of the political right.
Finally, he ends with the conclusion that liberal church (Really the church in general) is changing, needs to change and it still probably won’t survive.