The rise of the "nones"
There's a new Pew Report out, with clear indication that there is an increase in those who say they have "no religion." Rev. Clint Schnekloth has by far the most interesting response I've seen, arguing that:
As a weird hipster Lutheran...I am, to begin with, happy with the increase in the number of people reporting their status as "nones." I am happy that the nones feel free to be authentic about their religious commitments (or lack thereof). The Pew report states, "These trends suggest that the ranks of the unaffiliated are swelling in surveys partly because Americans who rarely go to services are more willing than in the past to drop their religious attachments altogether." Praise God, I say. People in in North America are apparently now more free than they ever have been to state who they actually are, without fear. Conformity to the majority religiosity of our nation is less demanded, and I say that is all to the good.
My second reaction, equally strong, is... let's go on a road trip! If the nones are not out there "looking for" religious community (88% report they aren't even looking), then those of us who are part of religious communities, and sense a continuing call to proclaim the gospel, now have a place to go and a people to reach. Billboards and mailers aren't going to cut it. We have the tremendous opportunity to go where the "nones" are, where they hang out. Since they aren't seekers, and don't plan to be, the onus is on us. We get to seek.