Duin's book is not for the overly optimistic, those who see nothing wrong with the church, or those who would rather justify and defend the problem of a mass exodus from the American Church by mature, intellectual, disciplined, and gifted driven men and women of faith.
The percentages of those leaving church are higher than at any other time in history, according to the author and the pollsters. Yet, while we are facing a time of unprecedented trouble, God is sovereign and the gates of hell will not prevail against the church, for God has always had a people.
This book seems very oriented toward nondenominational churches.
There were some chapters that I liked a lot and agreed with totally. They are simply not going to church to feed this interest." (pg 13) I agree. My husband and I, I read this aloud to him, had many, many discussions because of this book. The body of Christ is not standing by each other when we have a real need." pg 54 Yup. One of the things I didn't agree with was her view on women. Maybe women are leaving some churches because of the things she mentioned but not me... She says the church needs to be careful how they treat the men and then contradicts herself in the chapter on women. I don't believe women should be leaders over men in the church. For young ladies, and men, who are trying to keep their minds and bodies pure they should avoid this chapter or avoid the book. I did like her insights on helping men and women find each other and get married. She says the church is making things more difficult for singles. in his country, Christians assume everyone is to be married, unless they have a specific call from God to stay single. God is meeting our needs without our church. The best thing about this book was the discussion it produced with my husband and I. or you see problems in your church, this book will certainly help you discuss things...
Last year, a report was released that when forms for institutions like hospitals are filled out that when the question is asked "religious preference" more people than ever are checking "none." The nones are the fastest growing religious group in America right now. Duin focuses primarily on the question of why people are leaving the church. She addresses issues such as relevancy, community inclusion, congregations realistically addressing modern issues and concerns, how the church deals, or not, with singles over the age of 35, lack of depth and substance in teaching/preaching, Pastors and the church system, how women are addressed, and charismatics. Duin's research involves her own and friends' personal experience, newspaper accounts, professional and academic resources. Duin does have a personal stake in this question. As of the writing of her book, she decided she wanted her child to be in Sunday School so attends an evangelical congregation. I read this book because I would like to know why people are leaving.
I'm not much of a fan of books written by research institutes because I fear the fallout of how their data will influence what the church does. Second of all; this book was not written by a research institute.
This felt really "cut & paste" - as if Julia Duin had taken a number of articles & blog posts about church decline & slapped them together into a book.
More and more people are finding themselves marginalized by churches organized around the 9-to-5 Leave It To Beaver nuclear family lifestyle.
The strongest chapter in the book deals with singles. Ms. Duin questions the mindset of churches that do not meet the needs of singles or deal with their spiritual concerns.