Gay Clark Jennings: white Protestants anxious over loss of dominance

Rev. Gay Clark Jennings, president of the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies, blogged about mainline white Protestant reactions to recent events, noting that the past few weeks had been particularly bad for mainline churches. Jennings states that white Protestants seem caught in the grip of nostalgia, viewing the past as better than the future, and ignoring the many ways in which people who are neither white nor Protestant have been oppressed and punished both historically and today.

From the post:

If we white Protestants are honest with ourselves, we have to admit that the seismic demographic changes underway in American life are rocking our world and many of us are reeling instead of responding. White Protestants, once a dominant majority in the United States, now make up less than half the population, and the numbers continue to fall. Too many of us believe that if we could bring back the good old days when everyone went to church and aspired to be like us, things would be better. And we believe this even though history, reason, and common sense all tell us that the good old days were terrible for many, many people.

…neither our fears nor our privilege are justified in the face of our scriptures, which command us to welcome the stranger as we would welcome Jesus.

Jennings says that people are reeling instead of responding; do you see other examples of this type of reactionary behavior? Have the views and fears of white Protestants posed challenges for you, at church, in your community, or elsewhere? Or, do you see yourself in her comment–do you feel like you sometimes succumb to the idea that the past was the golden age, and the future is bleak?

Related: Welcoming the stranger… as long as they look and sound like me – Episcopal Café


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