War against terrorism has become war against exclusivism
Reports of revival in the aftermath of the September 11 terror attacks may have been exaggerated. "Yes, some people are praying more," reports The Dallas Morning News. "But some say they are praying less. Some people report that their faith is stronger, others that their beliefs are more confused. Worship attendance in many places has dropped back nearly to levels before the attacks." The attacks may have been a wake-up call, but many Americans simply hit the snooze button, the newspaper argues.

The Boston Globe also notes that church attendance is back to normal, but says attendance at church educational programs is still surging. "A crash course on the basics of Christianity is booming at Grace Chapel in Lexington; Bible study is up at Armenian Memorial Church in Watertown; and a support group, ostensibly for people dealing with the loss of a spouse, has become more popular at Wellesley Hills Congregational Church. … Gordon-Conwell Theological School has seen high interest in online theology courses."

The Globe interviews Bruce W. B. Jenneker, associate rector at Boston's Trinity Church, to explain the phenomenon. "Many of these people have never been in church before," he says. "What drew them here initially was our community's commitment to finding meaning in the midst of insanity, but once they got here it was ritual and story and symbol and myth, things that point beyond ourselves and put us in touch with the transcendent, that made them stay."

Ah yes, nothing like ritual and story and symbol and myth to help you sleep at night. Nothing like "the transcendent" to comfort our fears about being blown up and poisoned. Heaven forbid that a church might actually point ...

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