revisiting this in 2024 (forgive me if I'm sort of hijacking the comments with a post's worth), I definitely feel like 2023 closed the "window of opportunity" that we had immediately post-Covid to actually enact significant reforms (I'm thinking in particular about the mainstream Evangelical church). It's pretty clear from conversations being had and what folks were writing in places like First Things, Am Ref (back in that time) that there was such a window in 2021-22 for reform, but the people actually "running the show" did almost nothing significant or long-term healthy to reform and restore the Gospel in a complete and authentic way to the center of the Church.

I'm guessing it's multiple of several factors driving this: risk aversion, short-term myopic thinking / lack of strategic shrewdness and imagination, political capture/agenda or personal compromise, and financial interest (the sense of "it is hard to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it"). This last aspect could be framed in systems / game theoretic terms almost as a form of multipolar trap - where everyone acting in their interest as isolated orgs (in this case churches or ministries) lead to a state of broad base decline that in the long term undermines even their own interest or security.

EDIT: summed up in a meme https://imgflip.com/i/8e3itn

I suspect there are networks of power behind some of the trends in this (similar to what you've written about recently in 2024) who are unintentionally running these churches aground and don't have the intelligence or humility to see that..

The rot seems to run deep at a level that is baffling - it feels to me and I'm not the only one I've talked to who has said this, that there is a deep sense where the mainstream Evangelicalism and even the creedally orthodox Protestantisms most adjacent to it is in a state like the Catholic Roman Church prior to the reformation.

"There’s also the slow decline and decay of Baby Boomer-centric institutions, along with a slow generational turnover that is now actually starting to happen. Observers I talked to in the evangelical world, for example, suggest that most organizations are doubling down on what they’ve been doing, even though it’s obvious the old patterns are not going to work going forward."

I was a little confused by this statement- is most organizations "doubling down" (which I agree seems to be the case) a result of the remaining Boomer generation leadership , or are you also suggesting that the new generation of the "generational turnover" is taking that posture? In my experience in a professional and church context, most Gen X leaders do not seem to have transcended the problems of the boomers and are not in my estimation setting us up for strategic long term resilience, but have instead stuck on either a state of postmodern irony, vapid quixotically progressive myopia, or desiring financial security above all else and thinking near term. It also seems like there are many Boomers(?) (at least late 50+) leaders who are still in charge and are maybe finally retiring after arguably running institutions into the ground especially in the last several years.

Daniel 5:27 seriously comes to mind in the case of the rot in the mainstream evangelical church.. it's high time to end the 🤡 show.

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It will be interesting to see what happens as the Boomers retire and fade from leadership. Born in 1963, I'm technically classified as a Boomer but have observed them my whole life and knew from a young age they were a very different bunch than us folks born in the early 1960's.

I watched as Boomers went through one stage of life after another, always as a huge group activity and always morphing completely each time around to something quite different, Mickey Mouse kids to Hippies driving VWs to disco-dancing yuppies to establishment types driving BMWs and then in the 1990s as they started to fall through the cracks, voting against GHW Bush (Perot) or for Clinton, born August 1946, our first Boomer president.

Lately, many are overly fond of Trump, born June 1946, but they'll probably move on again in a few years. Hopefully, they learned something from the GFC and will live a long time, but frugally enough not to wreck our equity markets.

Every Boomer shift to the next life stage has been a huge jolt to society, then there's quite a mess to clean up afterwards, but I would agree that we're finally reaching a transition phase, where hopefully the Boomers will no longer suck all the oxygen out of the room. I've lived in their shadow my whole life, and so feel for the Millennials. We need a generation that's more in touch with the whole society, and not just their own demographic.

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Yeah, I can sense this as well. People are very eager to move on with their lives. There's only so much chaos a person can handle. Messaging and tactics for change will have to adapt now. Well said, Aaron.

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My family quietly backed out several years ago. We’ve been working to create a culture of our own that others (family, friends, neighbors) will hopefully embrace as their own. My wife and I know a shift is coming but wonder if it is a few years or decades away. I was happy to learn that it may be gaining traction.

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