Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Christian Books II

Mary Eberstadt has written the definitive book
On the reasons for the decline in church attendance
At mainline Christian denominations in the classical "West,"
Entitled:  "How the West Really Lost God."

The title is a misnomer, probably dreamed up
By a publisher attempting to promote readership.
The subtitle is:  "A New Theory of Secularization,"
Which at least focuses on the principal conclusion.

And that is:  The decline of the traditional family
Has led directly to the decline of religious practice.
She sees the two as symbiotic, using the
Double helix of DNA as a metaphor.

She blames the sexual revolution, and all its manifestations,
And what is quaintly known as "womens' liberation"
As the proximate causes of church failure,
Without denigrating the merits of either social change.

This a scholarly work, bristling with references
That are carefully footnoted by chapter at the end.
But it is also an easy read, intelligible to anyone
With a modicum of education and interest in society.

Mrs. Eberstadt, wife, mother, and Roman Catholic
Critiques just about every relevant study of note.
She proves the universal fact about social science
Is that none of the applicable theories can be proven.

In the National Review of July 15, 2013,
W. Bradford Wilcox summarizes the book neatly.
Neither he nor the author propose any quick solution
Given the expanding trend of family dissolution.

One omitted element, which seems trivial at first,
Are the overwhelming demands on the time of two-earner parents.
Making church attendance a requisite for their children
Means giving up much of their unstructured time.

Eberstadt blames the mainline churches for retreating
From the proclamation of a moral code to their parishioners.
Perhaps they do not wish to chase anyone out of church,
Whereas fundamental churches center their faith upon it.

Neither Eberstadt nor Wilcox see a reversal anytime soon
In the "declining cultural and practical power of strong families."
And yet Eberstadt herself in a brief piece in First Things
Forecasts the possibility of reaction to the excesses of society.

Meanwhile, at our little church of modest means,
We cherish and praise the young parents in any family situation.
Our assistant pastor has revived the church school
To the point where it attracts more of them to regular attendance.

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