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Gay Clark Jennings: white Protestants anxious over loss of dominance

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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Jerald Liko

If you want to know where an Episcopalian really stands on the end of the evils of white privilege, ask how s/he feels about GAFCON.

Jos. S. Laughon

Audibly just chortled.

Jos. S. Laughon

Mr. Streever,

If you take the time to look through my comments I think you will find it is a stretch, to say the least, to condemn any of my words as disrespectful, coarse/obscene language or an attack on one’s person.

Jos. S. Laughon

I’m sorry a tad bit of levity (or even, gasp! theological conservatism) is present here on the Internet, John.

John Donnelly

Thanks for that thoughtful, loving comment. The trolls have triumphed; gone from the Cafe.
I’d rather endure Fox News than read this cynical, snarky crap. Peace to all, especially Mr. Laughon.

Roger Barton, AIA

Maybe it seems disingenuous to wonder what exactly “white” has to do with “Protestantism” or “Christianity,” but I’ll wonder about that anyhow. The simple fact that people can think in terms of “White Protestantism,” or the “Black church,” or “Hispanic Catholics” says, in my opinion, more about bigotry and racist thinking by individuals, than it does about any Christian denomination.

A sidebar thought – as a gay male of mostly European ancestry, I have experienced the privilege of rejection by “Christians” of all races for both my skin color and for my sexuality, so singling out “White Protestants” for a repentance sermon on racism is perhaps not entirely fair.

Jos. S. Laughon

I am not so sure why it would be unreasonable or even unnatural for a community of any shade or creed to be disappointed or feel negative feelings to see that community largely collapse.

Jos. S. Laughon

The overall tone of the article and the blogpost seems overwhelmingly negative; “reactionary,” “dominance” etc….

Pete Haynsworth

Lessee … Anxious; nostalgic; untrusting; pessimistic; fearful; essentially and incurably racist … Does that about describe your garden-variety white Protestant, especially one of an Episcopal cant?

What’s such a miserable creature to do?

Prof Christopher Seitz

I know. It all sounds so awful to think of white Protestantism collapsing….

Paul Woodrum

Begins to sound like the less Christian we become, the more Christian we are. The corollary, those who scream most about being Christian may be the least Christian of all. Could this be the reversal of fortune about which Jesus has been speaking in some recent readings?

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