Pew Research posted a recent study looking at how people’s religion effects their understanding of various social issues. What I found interesting is that on many issues even though people hear their pastor speak on issues it does not effect the way they think about them.
I think this study highlights a significant shift within the religious community. This shift points to the reality that people are looking elsewhere for wisdom. This is especially highlighted in issues where television political pundits have the loudest voices. The leaders of religious communities cannot compete with the 24 hour news cycle and the reruns of hour long editorial commentary that is played off as “fact”.
Continually, pastor friends of mine, are finding that people hear what they want. They don’t take into account the full picture. The Bible or the pastor are minor voices in a large conversation. I think that in many ways we could say that our politics are shaping our theology.
When this happens the faith community necessarily finds itself on shaky ground. The kingdom of God is a subversive kingdom which requires a radical reorientation of one’s view of the world. If the faith community is being transformed primarily through outside forces then it ceases to be the subversive community of Jesus but something else.