I’m beginning to find (time to look for) reflections about the survey from others in the mainline. This piece on on the Christian Century blog is a good place to get started. I liked this thought by Tony Jones:
Before mainliners head out the door, they’d better figure out what the gospel is. Survey after study after poll has shown that American mainliners struggle to articulate what it is that they believe. The content of the faith has been lost among all this civil religion.
Amen to that. As for civil religion: like every kind of idolatry, it’s harder to see in yourself than in others. But looking around at my peers in the mainline church, and assuming I’m no more immune than they are, my guess is that many of us within the mainline don’t appreciate anything like how much “civil religion” we have.