Two contemporary prophets (admittedly fallible) ask, “What’s ahead for the Church in our generation?” With an eye on trends of the day they offer some disconcerting possibilities.—ED.

“Preachin’ sure has changed durin’ the past 60 years,” lamented Rev. Doeful. Members of the Middletown Ministerial Association listened indulgently as the aged preacher continued to decry the waywardness of the modem ministry.

If we look askance at those who long for “the good ol’ days,” remember that religious rhetoric seems to be continually changing. How will we react to the rhetorical practices of our ministry by 1981?

Let those who can endure the rigors of the journey join the religious group at our home church on a Sunday morning in November, 1981. If we attend a religious group meeting it must be on Sunday morning; Sunday evening meetings were discontinued by all religious groups 15 years ago.

We enter the auditorium, which is flooded with soothing recorded music, and an affable usher greets and seats us. The director of group music, smiling good-naturedly, walks on stage and announces a song. We recognize the selection as one that will foster healthful inter-personal relationships and promote a creative interchange of ideas.

Dr. Dudley, the religious leader, appears with notebook in hand. For a moment we are starded; it seems that he has forgotten the amenities of clerical dress. No clerical collar? No suit or tie? Then we notice that the other male members of the group are also wearing well-tailored slacks and sports shirts.

Religious Rhetoric, 1981

The religious leader opens his notebook and announces that the topic for the discussion will be “Interplanetary Communication.” After terms are defined, rooms for the various age groups are designated. ...

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