There’s the view from “inside,” up close, and the one from “outside,” more distant.
We see different things from those different viewpoints. Because of that, we’ll identify different problems, and come up with different diagnoses, and prescriptions.
There’s a lot of talk these days about “the decline of religion.”
But I wonder whether what’s declining is not “religion,” but rather participation in the day-to-day keeping things running of a particular practice of “religion.” A weekly worship service, with its established order, that takes place in a sanctuary outfitted with a pulpit and table and font and piano and organ and sound system, led by a “paid Christian” [thanks, former wonderful pastor, for that perfect figure of speech].
I really wonder how that particular practice feels to some people from the inside.
I really wonder how people answer the question “what’s this for?” for themselves, from the inside.
I really wonder whether that answer sounds anything like inviting, anything like “omg [literally], this is what I’ve been waiting for!” From the “outside.”