Each period of history leaves ample room for improvement. Let’s thank God, then, that the “good old days” are always changing!
What 15-year capsule of time has witnessed such devastating and explosive challenges as the present atomic era? Two global wars had exhausted the initiative and idealism of our fathers. Now new things were coming to pass: expansion of military might, exploration of space, new treatment for physical maladies, new approaches in sociological matters.
The religious world, too, has experienced its share of revolution since the 1940s. The latter part of that decade was a turbulent season of transition for the churches. On the one hand the excitement of the war and its concomitant turning toward God had subsided. Attendance had not yet begun its phenomenal surge. Empty seats, small budgets, narrow vision, and tremendous appeals for restoration monies faced returning servicemen as well as those who had in local parishes “stayed by the stuff.” Again the Church was a tolerated institution rather than a transforming agency of life eternal. Only if notorious, was news of religious matters noticed. Front page coverage was negligible. Items that found their way into print appeared in the back pages together with obituaries and want-ads. Newsmen grudgingly used quips about churches as filler somewhere between legislative foibles and the weather reports.
It would be unrealistic to assume that this attitude is now reversed. Yet to ignore the overall improvement would be equally erroneous. While some churches are struggling for stable memberships and balanced budgets, they are the exception. Prospects and programs of growing dimension are the general rule. The swelling demand for leadership is known in all expanding ...1
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